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Retro Friday Review: Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted here at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. Everyone is welcome to join in at any time!
I felt like something light today for this edition of Retro Friday. It's been awhile. Quite honestly, life is abundantly busy these days. And while my reading hasn't slowed down, I tend to hibernate with an old favorite when real life gets real. So I may have been forgoing some of the new stuff in favor of doing a little re-reading a la Megan Whalen Turner these days. I also made time to re-read one of my favorite Kristan Higgins books on account of it being repackaged and re-released this week in a glossy new edition to match her others. Catch of the Day was originally published in 2007 and was Higgins' second book. I had already read a handful of her books before finding Catch of the Day, and I sort of thought I had her style figured out, you know? The first two I read remained strong favorites. The rest were like frosting, delectable, fluffy, always-welcome treats. Then I read Catch of the Day and it shot immediately to the top of my faves (along with All I Ever Wanted and Until There Was You). Together these three make up my Kristan Higgins Holy Triumverate, if you will. I'm delighted it's been reissued, as the dog cover wasn't doing it for me. I get that each of her books has a dog in it, and this one is probably even my favorite pup. He's central to the story in a good way, organically a part of Maggie's life and not a distraction from the heart of the story. But having the dog front and center on the cover still kind of puts me off (and I'm a huge dog person). Make of that what you will.

Maggie Beaumont's life leaves something to be desired. It's to do with the fact that she's staggeringly unlucky in love. Her romantic history is long and undistinguished, veritably littered with the horrific and the inappropriate. Take her most recent foray. The poor girl actually had the monumental misfortune to fall for the local priest (albeit before she found out he was her congregation's new Father). And she hasn't been able to shake the crush. It's been long enough. She's certainly suffered enough constant, good-natured ribbing from her friends, family, and the entire town. But she can't help it. Father Tim is just something special. And it's not like anyone else has come her way in teeny, tiny Gideon's Cove, Maine. So she goes about her days: running her beloved diner, contributing in about a million ways to her local church, hanging out with her twin sister, avoiding her judgmental mother, and trying to rid her mind of a certain incredibly charming, incredibly unavailable celibate. And then one small act of kindness from a person she thought despised her. Suddenly massive levels of uncertainty and anxiety (and romance) are introduced into Maggie's regular routine, along with, just-perhaps, a new friend who needs her, too.

You guys, I love this book. It held up prodigiously well on the second read. And that's what cemented its status in the Holy Triumvirate. I will be re-reading the three of them many times over. I can tell. Catch of the Day  is utterly charming, and the bulk of its charm resides in the unerringly wonderful Maggie, the swoon-worthy Malone, and the makes-me-want-to-move-to-Maine-so-bad Gideon's Cove. Maggie is one of the good ones. She loves her hand-me-down diner. She tries hard, laughs loud, and will never stop falling over her feet when it comes to social situations. Malone is a good egg as well, though the opposite of Maggie in nearly every way. Gruff, silent, married to his lobster boat, he had me at that first broody, "Ayuh." And his giving Maggie a ride home from the worst blind date of her life. I was pretty much sold from then on. This thing that starts between them is complicated and tentative, and everything I love in a simultaneously slow-developing and sweep-you-off-your-feet romance. Once again  Kristan Higgins managed to make me laugh merrily even as I'm thinking carefully about the endlessly fascinating, painful, and hopeful facets of human relationships. This is my favorite setting from her books as well, and I was tickled to find out she's returning to it in her upcoming novel Somebody to Love. A few more chance encounters with Maggie, Malone, and the motley crew? Yes, please. Only good can come of it.

Linkage
The Allure of Books review
Book Binge review
A Bookworm's Life review
Dear Author review
The Happily Ever After review

Retro Friday Roundup
Good Books and Good Wine reviews Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Comments

  1. Catch of the Day was my first Kristan Higgins book--I read & reviewed it in 2008! Wow! I can't believe it was that long ago already, but like you, it still holds that fun, heartwarming charm for me even after reading it several years ago.

    I'm so excited to be back in Gideon's Cove in Ms. Higgins' next book!

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    1. Ahh! Thanks for the heads up, Christine. I've added a link to your review. I really fell in love with everything about this one.

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  2. I've hit home runs and I've also struck out with Higgins. Your recommendation makes me want to check this one out, though. It might be just the thing to carry me through the weekend. Nice review!

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    1. Cecelia, it does seem like everyone responds to certain of her books and not necessarily others. I struck out with JUST ONE OF THE BOYS, and yet I know it's a favorite for others. Happily, she's got a healthy backlist to mine for the ones that work. Which have been your favorites?

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    2. Too Good to be True was a favorite, but recently My One and Only was a DNF. Weird, eh?

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  3. I finished Somebody to Love just recently and it made me curious about Maggie and Malone's story! :) This lovely review just sealed the deal -- Catch of the Day will be my next Higgins. :)

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    1. Tina, yay! Hope you enjoy them.

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  4. This is one of my favorites of hers (although I have a Holy Quartet, haha) as well...LOVE everything about it. And like you, I was beyond thrilled to go back to Gideon's Cove in her newest book.

    I've already read it 3-4 times I think, definitely very rereadable.

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    1. Allison, hehe. Holy Quartets are just as awesome, if not more so! I've found that my favorite Higgins men are the strong, silent types. She seems to understand how to handle them with a lighter touch than most.

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  5. I read Kritan Higgins's All I Ever Wanted after seeing a review from you. So far I have read only one book from her and I love it. I think I might read Catch Of The Day next. I love the new cover!

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    1. Prangon, oh, I'm so glad you loved it. I've reread it a couple times already and only grown fonder of it. Give CATCH OF THE DAY a go next!

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  6. I just starting reading Higgins last year, and for the most part I have enjoyed her books! I am looking forward to reading her next book, and to finish working through her backlist as well!

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    1. Marg, same here. There are a few that just didn't resonate with me. But the three I love to pieces have made me a definite fan.

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  7. Okay, okay. You've worn me down. I shall read some Higgins. Any suggestions about which to start with?

    Also, I've been doing a little rereading a la Megan Whalen Turner lately too. Except that I've been listening to The Queen's Thief series on audio book in the car. Let's just say I've wasted a lot of gas lately. And also, the audio book experience some times drives *shrugs at pun* me crazy! I can't make it go any faster!

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    1. Jess, lol. Eeeexcellent. And as a matter of fact, I do have a rec. Give CATCH OF THE DAY a whirl. I think it's a great place to start.

      You make me grin, wasting gas listening to Gen and the gang. I have the same issue with audiobooks. Such an impatient reader!

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  8. I've just recently determined that I thoroughly enjoy chick lit, and have been looking for more good suggestions in the genre. Of course yours is an opinion I'll trust on the subject, and I'll certainly add Catch of the Day to my pile! I have to say I do actually like the puppy cover better though. :P

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    1. Heidi, I'm a relatively recent acolyte as well. It's so fun diving into a new-to-you genre and just glomming on whatever you love. Hope you do enjoy it, and I'm glad the pup appeals. :)

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  9. I am so going to get this one. I just recently read the companion (?) book without knowing their was a prequel (of sorts) and I so liked it. I really like the new cover of this too, the old one looks more out dated.

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    1. Nomes, oh man. If you liked SOMEBODY TO LOVE, then you will *love* this one!

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  10. Somehow I've only read one Kristan Higgins book, The Next Best Thing, the one with the cat. Oddly, that feels like failing.

    ANYWAYS. I desperately want to read Catch Of The Day next. Like, Maggie sounds exactly like my favorite sort of character and like someone I could totally connect with.

    Also that new cover is cute, but I am pro-puppy cover haha.

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    1. April, dude. THE NEXT BEST THING was okay. But nowhere near as good as the Holy Triumvirate. Get thee to one of the soon! Malone will float yer boat.

      Yay for puppies! ;)

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  11. It's always a good idea to reread MWT. :P I love that you have tiers for Kristan Higgins' books (just like Mary Stewart's) and since this is in the top three, I should probably bump it up. I want to read it before I dive into Somebody to Love, which I got from NetGalley. Maggie sounds like a hilarious character - I have a feeling I'll find the idea of falling for the local priest hilarious (and it will probably remind me of my priestly friend).

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    1. Chach, isn't it though? :)

      Now that you mention it, I do tend to tier them out when I have an author with an extensive backlist. *ponders*

      Definitely read this one before SOMEBODY TO LOVE. It kind of ruins this one, IMO. I laughed so many times over poor Maggie's crush on Father Tim.

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  12. I have really enjoyed the Higgins books I have read and your review makes me looking forward to reading this one. I have the old, pink edition here but I feel tempted to buy the newest one, it's so pretty.

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    1. kay, I have the old one as well. So far I've resisted purchasing the new one, but I have a feeling my resolve won't last very long . . .

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  13. Ha, have the version with the puppy :D My aunt got it for me for... a couple Christmases ago. I liked it a lot.

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    1. Laina, yup. The puppy one is on my shelves as well.

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  14. classic book - great review too.

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