The Difference Between Us by Rachel Higginson
Molly Maverick, a 27 years old graphic designer trying to climb the company ladder, is planning her BFF’s engagement party.
Ezra Baptiste, the groom’s bff, is a 35 years old cranky restaurateur, owner of Lilou, where the banquet will take place.
She’s shy, very unhappy with her work situation, always running late.
He’s confident, a very successful workaholic, always on time.
They are so different Molly doesn’t understand why Ezra insist on asking her to work together on boosting his website and painting a mural for one of his restaurants…
They cannot agree on anything, how are they supposed to work together?
Molly has sworn off man and the more she gets to know Ezra, the more threatening for her resolution he becomes!
Sweet story narrated in Molly’s POV.
He was successful and confident and maybe a little tragic.
I was floundering and boring. Not to mention insecure.
He had a complicated past with women landmarking the way.
I hadn’t been in a serious relationship since college, and my only booty call option was spin class.
He had known he was interested in me the second he saw me and I’d waited this long to realize I should not let him go.
In my opinion, the author did a good job with Molly’s character, her background and insecurities felt very real and relatable, expecially where her parents are concerned:
I tuned out the familiar fight and focused on counting my bites of food, and sipping my water as slowly as possible.
I drew little pictures in the sweet sauce that went over the ham balls with the tip of my fork.
I didn’t engage. And I didn’t speak. I simply listened and endured and waited for the moment I could slip away unnoticed.
Eventually my mom stood up from the table and started clearing the dishes, and my dad stomped back to the bedroom with a few more beers in hand.
Mom would spend the rest of the night regretting every minute of her life up until now while she furiously cleaned the kitchen. And dad would drink until he passed out in a blissful heap of unconsciousness.
They would go to bed, not really recognizing their dysfunction. Or at least not caring enough to do anything about it. And then tomorrow it would start all over again.
I was the one that would carry this with me when I left, that would wrestle with it all night and tomorrow, and on and on, forever.
I would tuck it into the imaginary backpack I’d carried since I was a child and add it to all the other memories like this one that have never left me.
Tomorrow, I would go to work and I would bust my ass to do the very best I could at every single element of my job.
I would make a conscious effort not to end up like my dad who didn’t value a steady job or a bright future. And I would vow to never to turn into my mother who never let my dad hear the end of it, who didn’t care about whatever ailment he had that wouldn’t let him work or kept him from being successful.
I would swear to myself that I would never be a nag or cruel for the purpose of being cruel.
I would love my parents always, but I would never let myself become them.
As for tonight? I would paint.
Molly tries hard to overcome the “baggage” that comes with growing up with that kind of dysfunctional family and painting is what she loves most, her outlet.
She also has to put up with sexual harassment at work…
The author does an amazing job portraying how a young woman gets trapped into these kind of situation, how our own mind can trick us because we know that if we want a successful career we need to be careful on how we can fight for it:
By the end of the day, I’d convinced myself that I was making more of this than it was. I was uncomfortable around Henry, but he hadn’t really done anything overt. He’d put his hand on my shoulder. And maybe, accidentally bumped my butt. He was always polite. Always nice. He’d picked me to be on Black Soul out of an office of more experienced designers.
I would just work harder to keep my distance. I wouldn’t get caught in conference rooms with him or put myself in potentially compromising positions. And I would make my intentions clear. I didn’t want him touching me. I would definitely tell him that next time.
The worst part was that he was probably going to get me fired in the end. Yes, he was the creep, but I was about one more unwelcomed back rub away from punching him in his throat.
Women have to face this reality every day and too often the victims do not have enough power to “win the fight”.
I hope someday we’ll win the war against the “culture of silence” on this issue.
Molly is fun and witty and mostly I enjoyed being in her head…
He could not seriously be hitting on me! Even three shots of tequila deep, I’d been super clear at Christmas. My name was no. My sign was no. My number was hell no.
“I can’t feel my butt,” she countered.
“I can feel mine way too much. After what I just went through I’m pretty sure that machine owes me dinner.”
Vera giggled, but it was weak and breathless. We’d walked out of spin class like pros, high-fiving random strangers on the way, and sipping from our water bottles like we could care less about hydration.
But once we’d turned the corner, we’d let our true colors shine. I couldn’t suck down my water fast enough, and someone had crawled inside my body and lit my lungs on fire. Owie.
…but when she fixes on something she gets stuck, and that made me often want to skip a bit ahead to get some action.
And 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.
I couldn’t figure out why. It wasn’t really about Killian or her engagement and not-so-distant wedding. It wasn’t about Vera finding her soul mate, true love, and Disney-esque fairy tale.
Honestly, I had never really been all that into the happily ever after. Even as a little girl, […]
This kind of repeated internal dialogue gets boring and annoying.
I had a similar problem with Vera (her bff) in the previous book, and even if there’s a valid reason for both women to be insecure, I think the author gets too wordy and repetitive trying to convey those insecurities.
Even so, I loved how their friendship is portrayed and Molly soon ceases the “pity-party” because, at her core, she understands she’s not actually jealous of Vera:
It wasn’t that I was jealous that Vera had Killian. I was jealous of what Vera and Killian had because I so badly wanted it for myself.
Before them, I hadn’t held a whole lot of hope for relationships. My parents hated each other. Vera’s dad had spent his entire life in a kind of grieving misery over his dead wife. I had never had a stellar example of real love until Vera and Killian. Seeing the real deal had awoken some kind of love-hungry beast inside me.
I could no longer be satisfied with casual dating or meaningless hookups. I could no longer wait out my twenties or my thirties or the rest of my single life because it didn’t matter.
It did matter.
Even so, she does not find within herself the answer to solve her internal turmoil…she finds that “somenthing” in someone else, Ezra.
Except when Ezra said it, Molly didn’t sound boring or plain or friendly. He said my name like a command. He glided over the consonants and caressed the vowels. When Ezra said my name, I was anything but the crazy cat lady. I was bold, beautiful, and everything defiantly female.
I responded to Ezra because he said my name how I had wanted to hear it my entire life.
I was a bit disappointed with this because I wish for more heros/heroines that are able to find fulfilment in themselves first and in a relationship second.
Ezra is an interesting character.
I had only a minor issue with him, I was not very happy with his reason for naming his restaurants after his exes.
Who would want to be reminded of past betrayals, hurt and mistakes going to work everyday?
Well…it works for him.
He’s not a manwhore, he’s sweet, loyal, protective.
He starts closed off and arrogant but there’s a lot more behind his cold exterior.
“This is exactly why I hired you.”
I resisted, barely, the urge to roll my eyes. “I’m confident you’re getting more than what you asked for.”
His eyes darkened with promise, his smile turning sly and secretive. “That’s what I’m counting on.”
With him Molly is not afraid to speak her mind, and he ends up opening up completely with her about his past.
I have to say though, I didn’t feel chemistry between them, not truly.
Their first time together was just bland and Molly’s thoughts OTT since they’ve barely dated a month…
I placed my hand on his pounding heart and whispered, “This is forever for me. You are my forever. I don’t care about your money or your job, or anything but you. I want you and that’s it. I want you forever.”
He struggled to swallow, gazing down at me with those words still reflected in his eyes, he could barely move his throat. And then, as if suddenly remembering what we were in the middle of doing, he snatched a condom out of the nightstand and got back to business.
He slid inside me and everything was right with the world.
With Vale and Killian’s book I had some issues within the first half but I ended up loving them together, with Molly & Ezra’s I had the opposite experience.
There’s no “climax” with these two and it doesn’t depend only on the lack of steam/chemistry.
All the good stuff set up at the beginning like the “harassment issue”, how significant Molly’s parents’ marriage is for her difficulties, Ezra’s past and the exes he named 3 successful restaurant after…
All of that is awesomely written in the first half of this book but it gradually blends in and fades all the way to the last page.
I didn’t leave this book with something memorable when Molly’s conclusion rolled in:
Yes, we were different, but only in the way two puzzle pieces are made to fit together exactly right. He was made for me and I was made for him. And we would spend the rest of our lives discovering all the ways we blended together.
Up until the 50-60% mark I was super happy with their story but, toward the end, I wasn’t engaged anymore.
Overall it wasn’t a bad read but it wasn’t, in my opinion, as good as the first book in this series hence…
⭐ 3 Stars ⭐
* The Difference Between Us by Rachel Higginson is book #2 in the Opposites Attract series, can be read as a STANDALONE.
You can find my review of “The Opposite of You” by Rachel Higginson HERE.
~ My Ratings ~
Writing: 3.5 /5
Plot: 3 /5
Hero: 3.5 /5
Heroine: 3.5 /5
Secondary Characters: 3.5 /5
MC’s chemistry: 2.5 /5
Steam: 2.5 /5
Recommended to: Adult Romance Readers looking for a Hate to Love story.
~ More Quotes ~
Sitting down on the very edge of my stool, I gave up fighting internal battles and turned them over to the canvas. It was more than cathartic. It was healing and thinking and soothing all at the same time.
Shoes were one thing, but my phone was vitally important to every aspect of my life. It was basically my soul locked up in gadget form. If he confiscated my baby, he’d have access to allllll of my life—including my very secret, very private Candy Crush obsession.
“You’re angry,” he concluded.
“I’m pissed,” I countered.
He looked away and I swore it was to hide a smile, further feeding the furious dragon-woman living inside me. “Aren’t they the same thing?”
Aren’t they the same thing? Somebody hold my earrings!
“That you’re not only bold, you’re also a snobby know-it-all.”
My chin trembled once, betraying me. I took another step back and willed my spine to straighten and my nerves to steady. It wasn’t that his insult had wounded me so severely or that I really cared all that much what Ezra thought of me. But I had never been great at conflict. Actually, I was kind of the worst at it.
Regardless of how right I felt or how zingy my insults were, the few confrontations I’d braved in my life had always ended in tears—my tears.
It had been an issue all my life. Oh, how I desperately wanted to be tough, to stand up for myself with steely grit and relentless mettle. I would watch movies about girl fighters or women overcoming immense odds, and would pep-talk myself into believing I could be one of them. I would practice imaginary conversations in the shower, coming up with the best comebacks.
But then something like this would happen and instead of evolving into the empowered, tenacious, take-on-the-world boss-bitch I knew that I was, this wimpy, pathetic version of myself would emerge instead.
My joyful feelings for my friend were so much larger than my own, selfish, pity-party ones.
My pride in who she’d become and how hard she’d worked to get where she was now would always outshine my personal feelings of self-doubt and insecurity.
Because she was closer to me than any other human.
Because we’d been through good times and bad times, and really good times, and really, really bad times, and that’s what friends did.
We put each other first.
By the time he pulled up in front of my apartment complex, I had stopped breathing altogether. Nerves ran in panicked circles inside my chest, forever bumping into each other as they tried and failed to settle. I pictured them with their hands in the air and their mouths wide in desperate concern. Abort, abort! They screamed. Run for the hills!
As if I could just jump out of Ezra’s car, ninja-roll into the bushes and live the rest of my life foraging in the Appalachians.
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