Millie Barnes has been in love with Joe Carpenter since high school, and now that she’s nearly 30 with a promising career as a doctor, she’s decided that it’s finally time to do something about it. When she’s not working at the local clinic, she’s focused on a self-improvement regimen that will surely cause Joe to notice her as something more than just a friend. She begins running, gets a new haircut, and asks her friends for makeup and clothing tips. She even plans out her daily routine so that she can “accidentally” bump into Joe. But Millie also begins spending a lot of time with Sam Nickerson, a local cop who just happens to be her sister’s ex-husband. Although Sam has a good life and a wonderful teenage son, Millie wants him to fall in love again, this time with a woman who’s worthy of him. When Joe finally starts taking notice of Millie, she’s ecstatic; but as the two of them begin dating, she’s shocked to discover that something is missing. And the more time she spends with Sam, the more she realizes that her platonic feelings for him may have developed into something much deeper — and much more complicated.
I always enjoy Kristan Higgins’ books when I’m in the mood for a light contemporary romance. This book has a lot of her trademark qualities, like a neurotic/insecure heroine with a tight-knit family and an adorable dog, but the romance here didn’t work for me as well as in her other books. I just couldn’t get past the fact that Sam was once married to Millie’s sister. The novel goes into a lot of backstory to explain why that marriage fell apart and why they weren’t a good match, but it just wasn’t enough for me. I feel like the book minimizes the difficulties Millie and Sam would actually experience in pursuing a relationship, especially with Millie’s family and Sam’s son. I did like the contrast between Millie’s relationship with Sam and her relationship with Joe, and I also liked the fact that Joe is not a bad guy. Often in love triangles, the third person is portrayed as a horrible human being so that the protagonist’s choice will be obvious; here, Joe is a sweet man with a lot of good qualities, but he’s just not the right guy for Millie. Overall, this was a pretty good read, but the romance is so problematic that I wouldn’t really recommend it. Try some of Higgins’ other books instead!