Saturday, April 10, 2010
Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry
Until the day Quinn announces he's now single. That's right. He's single. And he wants to hang out. With her. Get reconnected the way they used to be.
Oh, this is so not good for Amy's equilibrium. Daily doses of Quinn remind her of everything she loves about him. But if he's free…and she's free…well, maybe the time has come for one of those crazy confessions.
This Harlequin Superromance was another Sarah Mayberry hit. It was emotional, warm, witty, and thoroughly engrossing. This is a best friends to lovers theme. Amy and Quinn grew up together, literally from the time they were infants. Right about the time they discovered the opposite sex, Amy decided that Quinn was the one for her. Unbeknownst to her, he was having fantasies about her as well, which freaked his 14 year old self out completely. Enter the new girl in town, Lisa, who became Quinn’s girlfriend and then wife. Amy was put in the unenviable position of pretending she was thrilled for her two best friends, and pretending she didn’t hurt terribly. When the book opens, we learn that Quinn is getting a divorce from Lisa, who cheated on him. And Amy is trying to purchase the theater that her great-grandfather built.
What I liked: Oh how I love that the characters experienced real emotion and that passing from friends to lovers did not happen quickly or easily for them. Quinn is both shocked and uncomfortable when he realizes he’s thinking of his best friend as a woman rather than as his pal Ames. He worries about what a relationship could do to their friendship. Worries so much that he almost blows the whole thing. Amy wonders whether she should share the fact that she’s been in love with him for years. I loved that Quinn didn’t get over the heartbreak of his divorce right away. Like any “real” person, it took him about 2-3 years to get over it and even think about moving on. He’s lost weight, people are concerned about him. When he realizes how good it feels to be around Amy again, he wants to hold onto the feeling. That in turn, grows into more adult and romantic feelings.
For her part, Amy had to get over her idealized love of Quinn and move into a more adult, true love. Because these two were such good friends, they accepted each other's faults and still loved the other. They learned that expecting someone to change who they are just because you love them is unrealistic. They grew as people and as a couple. I loved how they each had a wonderful relationship with their parents, and how Amy’s folks treated Quinn like a son, since he was their daughter’s lifelong friend. And I especially loved that Quinn was able to show Amy that she wasn’t alone in her teenage adoration. The scene where he shows her where he carved their initials into a tree in her backyard was so sweet, and it was Amy’s point of total acceptance of Quinn’s feelings for her.
This was a wonderfully written book. Mayberry has the knack of writing real people, not caricatures. You can always relate to the feelings her characters experience. And in this one, you can definitely picture yourself as either Amy or Quinn, and that’s the point, right? To relate to the characters in a real, tangible way. Finding love the second time around and best friends to lovers are common themes in HSR, and Mayberry pulled them both off flawlessly. This is why I still read category.