Sunday, 12 October 2014

'In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4)' by Kristan Higgins: A Book Review

Everyone loves Jack Holland, but Emmaline Neal needs him.
Her ex-fiancé is getting married in Malibu and, obviously, she can't go to the wedding alone. In Manningsport, New York, tall, blond and gorgeous Jack Holland is practically a cottage industry when it comes to rescuing desperate women. He knows the drill, Em figures, so he won't get the wrong idea. 
What Jack needs is an excuse to leave town. Ever since rescuing four teenagers from a car wreck, he's been hailed as a hero and the attention is making him itchy, especially since his too-pretty ex-wife is back, angling for a reunion. He's always liked Emmaline. She needs a weekend date? No problem. 
So when they wind up in bed together, Em chalks it up to red wine and chocolate cake, just one impulsive night not to be repeated. But Jack's pushing for more, and if she lets down her guard, either she'll get her heart crushed again, or discover that Jack's worth more than just dreaming about.

I previously reviewed The Perfect Match, the second novel in the Blue Heron series by Kristan Higgins. This one, In Your Dreams, is actually the fourth one. Although I liked Waiting on You (Blue Heron #3), I didn't review it because of reasons I can't quite remember.

Anyway, In Your Dreams talks about the love story of Jack Holland, the town's knight in shining armour, and Emmaline Vance, the local cop who doesn't need saving from anyone - except maybe when it comes to her ex-fiancé's wedding with the woman who ruined their relationship.

The first half of the novel is all about Emmaline and Jack's past, the wedding of the aforementioned fiancé, and the chemistry that slowly starts to develop between our two heroes. The second half is all about the what-ifs of their relationship.

As I've mentioned in the review for The Perfect Match, Kristan Higgins has a flair for writing flashback chapters. The chapters about Emmaline and Kevin's friendship-turned-relationship-turned-breakup and Jack and Hadley's failed marriage are simply so well-written, emotionally powerful and captivating that I still want to reread them.

The big lead-up to Emmaline and Jack's first night together is, in true Higgins fashion, incredible.

But I felt like the novel went slightly downhill from there.

I enjoy reading about the supporting characters. A novel shouldn't have just one storyline, after all - there need to be a few secondary plots as well. But maybe In Your Dreams exceeded the limit by just a little bit. From the teenagers' accident to the local school's at-risk students to Jack's ex-wife to Emmaline's sister to the Holland family's personal subplot... the book started to seem less like a romance and more like a family drama.

The few scenes between Jack and Emmaline just weren't enough. As a reader, I couldn't really enjoy the pace of their relationship. I'd like it if the supporting plots were cut down and some more Jack-and-Emmaline moments were added.

The book is hilarious, and there were a few moments, especially at the beginning, where I had to control my laughter so my roommates wouldn't think I was mental.

Some romantic moments are definitely crackling with electricity, and I enjoyed the fact that this novel has no real 'villains'.

But to be honest, I'm getting a little tired of The Blue Heron's characters. It seems like now, in every book, we're being reminded of Faith-and-Levi, Honor-and-Tom, Colleen-and-Lucas, and all their mini-storylines. I get that this is for the newcomers to the series, but... reading about some other characters would be interesting.

I think the next book in this series is coming out next year - it's the story of Colleen's brother, Connor (and I'm not too sure of his love interest) - but I'm hoping that it's the last one. As much as I love the idea of Manningsport, New York, I also love the idea of new towns and cities as the setting for the next Higgins novel.

I'm going to go with 3 stars out of 5 for this one. 

A very promising start, but a middle and end that somewhat plateaued. Still, I've got my hopes high for the next Higgins book that comes my way. Until then, I'm going to read one of her other novels and dream about true love and eternal happiness.

See you next week, Geeks! :)

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