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!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.
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