I’ve been anxiously anticipating this story ever since we met its two lead characters in The Opposite of You, always suspecting that the courtship between two people with absolutely nothing in common would be a riveting one, but the way Rachel Higginson builds this slow burning romance to its heart-pounding climax has left me reeling. I am incredibly drawn to stories that truly take the time to show a connection develop between two people, making every glance, every accidental touch, every moment of understanding count and drip with expectation. But when those stories also spare no effort to create complex, well-rounded characters who undertake a compelling journey of personal growth and discovery along the way, I become utterly consumed by every single word. This book stole my heart, one delightful page at a time, and not just because it gave us Ezra Baptiste—one of the swooniest heroes I’ve ever come across—but also because every woman can find a little bit of herself in a heroine like Molly.
Most days, I felt like I was playing dress-up as an adult. I paid bills, went to work, and lived alone. Yet nothing about my life fit well, like when I was a little girl and would try on my mom’s dresses.
Molly Maverick is stuck in a rut. As the youngest designer working at one of the top marketing firms in the city, she is often overlooked for larger advertising campaigns and assigned only to menial projects that tend to underutilise her true talents and skills. She spends her days feeling invisible and disconnected from her peers, and getting closer and closer to the kind of existential crisis that would make her question every life choice she’s ever made. So when her best friend gets engaged to the love of her life, Molly finds herself torn between feeling ecstatically happy for her and feeling even more lacking in comparison.
I was happy for her. I was. But her happiness only spotlighted my unhappiness. Her bliss only shed light on my misery. Her joy revealed my lack of. Her contentment exaggerated my restlessness.
Molly’s only outlet for purging her emotions and frustrations is her art. While she lives her life like a stone skipping on water, never digging deep or causing any ripples, she paints in her free time to expel everything she keeps bottled up inside her and to heal her broken spirit. But there is one man in Molly’s life who brings out a very different kind of woman in her—a woman who is not afraid to be assertive, outspoken, even hostile at times—and he happens to be one of the crankiest, brusquest, most difficult men she’s ever met. Albeit the hottest, too.
Something about Ezra made me lose my cool. I became a snarky, nagging shrew with bite. The filter over my mouth and mind dissolved completely and I was left with only raw truth and rough edges. And I had no problem telling the man no. Which was crazy for me, since I was a ride or die people pleaser.
Ezra Baptiste is a man who has worked hard to be where he is today—at the helm of a successful restaurant empire that he has built up from nothing. A self-confessed workaholic, every other aspect of Ezra’s life has taken a back seat to his career, but from the moment a feisty, young graphic designer starts telling him just how much she disagrees with his opinions, he makes it his mission to put her in a position where she’d be doing just that on a daily basis. Regardless of her evident antagonism towards him.
“I want someone who is going to stand up to me and fight me when I’m wrong.”
They butt heads at every turn, but the more time they spend together, the more Molly realises that, as unattainable as he would forever be to her, under Ezra’s cool and polished façade lies a thoughtful and gentle man whose unwavering belief in her capabilities empowers her to be the very best she can be. And for the first time in her life, she doesn’t feel invisible.
“I might not know you yet, but I want to. I want to know all of you.”
This is one of those love stories that genuinely stays with you long after you’ve turned the last page, compelling you to revisit in your mind all the subtle nuances that the author has used to make her characters slowly begin to fall for one another. I loved the way Ms Higginson took her time to show the steady transformation of Molly’s character from shy, downtrodden wallflower to the epitome of confidence and sass, and I loved it even more knowing that even though Molly thought she wanted a man to shelter her from the world around her, all she really needed was someone to finally put their faith in her. I absolutely adored this book and already cannot wait to see what the author has in store for us next.
There were so many bad people in the world, so many people that would rather hurt and harm and crush. But the good people were the ones that made life worth living, that made searching for them worth every bad relationship and heartache, worth the pain, suffering and potential heartache of finding them.