Wednesday, September 17, 2008

TBR Challenge Review: Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins

CONFESSION: While this novel was published in 2007, it wasn't exactly on my TBR pile all that long. I won Catch of the Day and Fools Rush In, both written by Kristan Higgins from author Jaci Burton on the Writeminded author blog shortly after Catch of the Day was awarded a RITA at the 2008 RWA Conference in July.

Catch of the Day is a contemporary romance novel by Kristan Higgins told in the first person point of view of the heroine, Maggie Beaumont. Maggie lives in the small fishing town of Gideon's Cove in northern Maine, and is the proud owner of the much loved Joe's Diner (inherited from her grandfather) where the locals come to enjoy her home cooked food and exchange friendly doses of local gossip. Maggie is an upbeat, attractive, and warm hearted 32 year old who happens to have the worst luck in the love department. Nine years ago, Maggie was publicly humiliated when her high school sweetheart broke up with her in front of the entire community, and she hasn't had much success with relationships since then either. Consequently, Maggie's love life--or lack thereof--is often the topic of public discussion in Gideon's Cove.

Catch of the Day starts with Maggie meeting a potential candidate for love in her diner when an exceptionally handsome man with a sexy Scottish lilt comes in for breakfast and not only is she attracted to him, but after they talk, she feels a strong connection with him as well. Of course, in her excitement she tells friends and family that she thinks she's finally met
the man for her, only to then find out that the man she has fallen in a mad crush for is none other than Father Tim O'Halloran, the parish's new priest. Despite this second public humiliation over her love life, Maggie holds her head up and she and Father Tim become very good friends. They spend a lot of time together and he often solicits her help with various church committees. Maggie's major crush on Father Tim remains intact, and while she barely manages to stifle those feelings, she is at least realistic and attempts to find love elsewhere. She gets repeatedly set up on blind dates, even a few set up by Father Tim himself, all of which go terribly awry. Of course.

One night, Maggie is in a restaurant waiting for one of her blind dates who is apparently not showing up, and she runs into her high school sweetheart and his wife for the first time since he humiliated her. The ex-boyfriend has no qualms about declaring how happy and perfect his life is and simultaneously reminding Maggie how lonely and stagnant her life has remained over the years. Maggie valiantly attempts to maintain her composure, and just when she shows signs of crumbling, she is rescued by Malone, the local loner who moors his lobster boat next to her brother's. Malone comes over to the table and acts as Maggie's date sending the ex on his way and in essence spares Maggie from further pain and dejection. He later surprises her with a kiss that curls her toes and sets off something in her heart that she just may never put out. By the end of the story, Maggie learns that true love often comes when you least expect it and from the most unassuming men. And that there's no use fighting something that seems out of place when it feels so right.

Catch of the Day is a simple, sweet contemporary romance about a regular small town girl who finds true love when and where she least expected it. I didn't think I could get so easily swept away by such a straightforward romance, but this story had me at times amused and at other times teary eyed. I found myself easily relating to Maggie and rooting for her to find love from the very first page. I enjoyed following her mishaps and heartaches as much as I enjoyed her triumphs. The secondary characters and their side stories are all very well written and connect to Maggie's story in just the right ways to bring extra depth and life to the story.

Maggie is such an easy character to like. She's warm hearted, generous and really loves life. She just wants to share her good life with someone she loves. She tries to keep a positive outlook on life, which is very challenging considering the disaster called her dating life, not to mention the added challenge that her twin sister has the perfect life Maggie's always wanted-- a hardworking, doting husband, a beautiful baby and a charming home. I admired Maggie for her perseverance and for doing her best to be optimistic. She has the tendency to talk a lot, as in she rambles incessantly when she's nervous, a trait that proved both humorous and charming. I loved the way she could be so straightforward and confess truths about herself despite the fact that some of those truths were often a bit embarrassing. Maybe that's because she's had so much experience being embarrassed? No matter the reasons, Maggie was adorable.

Malone. What's not to love about the quiet, almost brooding town loner? He has a hidden sex appeal that surfaces only after you've noticed his enigmatic vibes and then you can't help yourself from wanting to know what he's all about. The fact that he's a man of so few words makes figuring him out even more difficult, but he's a man whose actions are both careful and purposeful. I really loved the fact that the author never compromised Malone's character throughout the novel. Several opportunities arose throughout the story where Malone could have said or done something to get what he wanted and set the record straight, and sometimes I wanted him to! --but that would have been completely out of character. It wasn't until I got to the end that I realized I wanted someone to fall for Maggie for the exact person she is, faults and all, so wouldn't I want the same for Malone? And isn't it more realistic that people fall in love with each other for the who they truly are and not what we think they should be? So as much as I wanted to better understand the quiet mystery of Malone and I kept waiting for him to open up, I love him just the way he is which is perfect for Maggie. And based on something he shares with Maggie on the last few pages, I know he'll be opening up for the woman he loves and that's good enough for me.

I can't really think of anything negative to say about this book. While Catch of the Day may not be the knock your socks off kind of love story--the beauty of it is in it's fun and heartwarming simplicity. I'm looking forward to reading Fools Rush In and will probably even pick up Kristan Higgins' most recent release, Just One of the Guys. You can visit the author HERE at her website.

Grade: A


  1. Great Review! I've never heard of this author before but 'Catch of the Day' sounds interesting so I'm going to check out her website for more info.

  2. Fantastic review, Christine! I'd like to read this one, it sounds cute. :)

  3. I really like contemporary romances and this sounds really good. This was a great review. You're such a good book pimp! :)

  4. Ooo goodie! I got Catch of the Day in San Fran, but I hadn't heard of the author before so it wasn't high on my tbr pile. I'll have to move it up. I also like contemporaries, but I usually have to be pimped them specifically. Thanks!

  5. What a great review! Now I want to go and buy it, and I thought I was done for this month! ;)

  6. I loved Just One of the Guys, in fact, loaned it to my best friend and she said she cried on the airplane coming home from Austin because the book just really touched her.

    I literally read whole portions of Just One of the Guys out loud to the girls I was on vacation with. It has some seriously priceless dating scenes. I loved it!

  7. Oh yay!I'm so glad you loved the book as much as I did! :-)

  8. I finished Just One of the Guys last night and loved it! I LOLed so much with this book that it was irritating my hubby.

    I had almost given up on contemps so I was really happy to find this author. Can't wait to get this one.

    Great review!

  9. Wooo...contemporary romance books... Hmmm...books. This one sounds really interesting. Especially with the adorable puppy dogs :D
    Great review as always Chrissy. You really gotta stop getting me addicted to these things. ;)

  10. I'm so glad all of you liked my review and I hope you all give this author a try, if you haven't already.

    MK & Kim :: I can't wait to read Just One of the Guys!!! It sounds great, too!

    Jaci :: Thanks so much again for the books! =)

    If any of you are interested, Jayne at Dear Author just posted a review of Catch of the Day on Friday and gave it a B+. I think our assessments are pretty similar. Check it out HERE.

  11. This is such a great review!

    I'm really looking forward to reading this one. :)

  12. Hi! Found you blog via Ana and Thea over at the Booksmugglers. You've got a great place over here! :) I'll be adding it to my already overloaded Google Reader... *G*

    Thanks for the congrats, too.


  13. Glad to see you liked this one. I just got this one free from the Friends of the Library (they sometimes have shelves outside the library ~ free to a good home). I'm really looking forward to reading it now.


  14. Great review, Christine. You're right. It's a very straightforward love story, and yet beguiling at the same time. I loved it.


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