It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips Release Date: January 1, 1994 Publisher: Avon Book #1 in the Chicago Stars series Number of pages: 376 Mass market paperback Source: Warren Library Contemporary Romance M/F Rating: NC-17 Read 1/16/17 to 1/18/17
There’s always a bit of trepidation going into a book that is so old. Not because the story itself won’t hold up, but because certain things that can really date a story that is considered contemporary yet was written before the evolution of technology. There were definitely things in this book that those born before the 90s wouldn’t understand…smoking indoors in public places, landline phones, car phones, a bunch of the usual weirdo stuff we did back before we knew better. The funniest is the way Donald Trump, Tom Cruise, and O.J. Simpson are viewed. My oh my, a lot has happened in the last 20 years! It’s a testament to the story itself that these things were barely a blip on my radar. Sure I reflected on them and giggled a few times, but these things never jolted me out of the story.
There is an incident within the first quarter of this book that could very well turn you off of reading further and make you hate Dan. Trust me, see the scene through and all will be clear. I can’t say you’ll love Dan because he is definitely a prickly personality. Plus there’s a level of misogyny that was present in the 90s that would not be allowed today. At the core Dan is a good guy. He makes some bad relationship decisions and goes about things in a totally wrong way, but he’s not a bad person.
Again, there is a scene (in fact the first scene) that will make you not so sure you can like Phoebe and think this may not be the book for you. Trust me, continue reading. You’ll find Phoebe is a great person, although she annoyed me more than Dan did. Not because she felt she had to wear a cloak to hide who she really is in order to get by in the world she lives. I understand where she’s coming from. It’s more about her urge to argue about EVERYTHING. But Phoebe is truly a good person through and through. And her arguments with Dan seem to work for them.
I initially read this book because I saw book #8 from this series, First Star I See Tonight, on many lists of author favorites from 2016. I couldn’t very well pick up the 8th book in a series without reading the other books; my brain is just not wired that way, so I found the first book at my library. I’m so glad I did. I think I’m going to enjoy this series. Plus, this is a new to me author so I have a lot of books other than this series I can check out when I get a chance.
(probably would have been 5 stars if I had read this in 1994!)