A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert is a small-town romance written by Talia Hibbert. This isn’t a book review but an actual summary of what happens in the story, so keep in mind there will be spoilers ahead.
- Book Title: A Girl Like Her
- Author: Talia Hibbert
- Publication Date: March 14, 2018
- Category: Contemporary Romance
- Print Length: 308 Pages
A Girl Like Her starts with a prologue set two years before the story begins. Daniel and Laura are celebrating their engagement. He wanted to keep their relationship secret, so they surprised the town of Ravenswood with it.
Then, a woman shows up and smashes his Porsche with a cricket bat. The main story features Ruth Kabbah and Evan Miller. Ruth is the town pariah, sort of. She is autistic and often has trouble navigating emotions or relationships. She first runs into Evan, literally, while she is having a period emergency. He is standing with his co-worker and Ruth’s ex-boyfriend, Daniel when Ruth runs into him.
Evan helps her gather her stuff, and Ruth is immediately attracted to him. She leaves, and Evan is annoyed with Daniel, asking how he could be so rude that he didn’t even help a woman on the ground. He and Daniel work together. Evan is a blacksmith employed by Daniel’s father, Mr. Burne.
Evan decides to make a Shephard’s pie for his new friend, Zach. Zach’s mother, Shirley, has cancer, and in the wake of her diagnosis, most of their longtime friends have stopped calling or visiting.
Evan’s mom died of cancer, so he wants to be there for both of them because he understands the feeling. He joined the army after his mother’s death and has had trouble forming any close relationships in the years since she passed. While he is making it, he decides to make one for his new neighbor, too.
He assumes the neighbor is a crotchety middle-aged man because Evan has never seen him and does a lot of heavy stamping late at night. They have very thin walls.
Ruth hates it when people knock on her door. So she is already annoyed when she sees Evan, and then she is confused. She lets him come in with the pie. Her flat is hardly decorated, but she has huge piles of comics stacked around. She doesn’t have a stove because she almost set the apartment on fire, so she had it taken out. She survives on tea and things she can microwave. Evan is appalled and plans to cook for her regularly.
She finally returns his dish three days later. He brings her lasagna in exchange. They agree that she will lend him comics in exchange for cooking. She brings the empty dish over with some new comics. Evan opens the door in a towel, and Ruth doesn’t know how to deal with her attraction to him. They talk about comics while they eat, and hours pass before Ruth says she needs to go. Evan wants them to keep up a two-person comic book club. They talk about why she always wears pajamas—sensory issues—and she keeps trying to warn him away by telling him she’s slept with half of the men in town. He isn’t bothered.
Shirley does her best to convince Evan that he is a good person and goes above and beyond for her and Zach. The next day, he brings Ruth more food. She was worried he wouldn’t. He also brought food for himself but isn’t presumptuous. If she doesn’t want him to stay, he will leave.
Ruth invites him to stay, and they talk about comics and his job. She tries to do the dishes after but is overwhelmed by him. She pulls him in close to her, and he kisses her neck. She starts to tense up, asks him to let her go, and he stops and apologizes. He offers not to come over anymore, but she still wants him to.
Daniel invites himself on Evan’s lunchtime trip to the newsagents. While there, Daniel tries to explain that he and Ruth don’t get along and that she destroys relationships. Evan shuts down his attempt at gossip and thinks about how much he likes Ruth and how earning any of her trust is a major reward. The owner references one of Daniel’s old cars, which the Kabbah girl smashed to pieces. Evan leaves abruptly.
After they finish dinner, Ruth tells Evan he can go. Instead, he invites her out because it is Friday, and sometimes people go out. She says no, so he leaves. Then she video calls her best friend, Marjaana, who realizes immediately that Ruth has done her version of dressing up for Evan.
Ruth wants him to touch her but doesn’t know how to ask for it. Marjaana thinks Ruth should actually deal with her issues and then talk things through with Evan to get his take on what they’re doing. Finally, Marjaana lets the subject go, and they talk about Ruth’s webcomic, which is her full-time job.
Ruth and Evan kept eating together each night for weeks. They talk for hours. And then, one Saturday, he comes early, and she can’t tell if it’s because he was eager to see her or if it is because his weekend schedule is different. She is trying to figure out what is happening, so she is silent for most of dinner and then tells him to be quiet when he tries to talk.
He isn’t offended and chalks it up to her artistic temperament. She makes tea, and as they talk, he keeps bumping his knee into hers and touches a piece of hair that comes free from her braid. They stumble through a conversation that stresses Ruth out, but he takes it slowly and asks her permission every step of the way as he lifts her onto the counter and is about to kiss her when the doorbell rings.
She falls in the sink, so he answers it while she changes. It is a flower delivery with a note telling Ruth to stop being so childish. He is confused, then annoyed, because he thinks Ruth might have a boyfriend she never mentioned. She throws the flowers away but won’t discuss them. Evan wants her to trust him with the truth, but she isn’t ready. He leaves, annoyed.
Ruth’s sister, Hannah, wants to know why she is acting differently at their Sunday dinner. Ruth says that she fought with a friend but doesn’t know how to apologize. Hannah is surprised to find that Ruth cares about making up with a friend but says if she needs Hannah’s permission to apologize, then Ruth has it.
She tries to apologize that night, but Evan isn’t there. By the next day, it is harder. She manages to talk herself into it and goes next door. He looks awful and says he got bad news—Shirley may be taking a turn for the worse, and they need to wait for test results. He interrupts her apology to say that they both intend to apologize, and he can’t handle it at the moment, so they’re fine.
She makes him dinner, and he tells her about his father’s death when he was fifteen and his mother’s cancer. She invites him on a walk. Outside the local pub, several women are rude to Ruth, although she holds her own. She used to be friends with two of them, Hayley and Maria. Maria pulls Hayley off the attack, and Evan refuses to be nice to any of them because they are mean to Ruth.
He takes her home after that and asks her about Hayley and Maria. He asks if she is interested in having sex, but she refuses to say yes or no because she doesn’t want to give blanket permission going forward. When he realizes that whoever she was with before didn’t respect her sexual boundaries or her no, he is furious and a bit sick. She leaves for the night.
The next day, Ruth’s sister opens her door. Evan is confused at first but figures it out. Hannah and Ruth are waiting for a plumber. Evan takes a look at the shower and lets Ruth go use his. He doesn’t get far before the plumber shows up.
Hannah is unhappy and basically kicks Evan out. The plumber, while kind, is a terrible gossip and is certain to talk about Ruth showering in Evan’s apartment while Evan was in her apartment. Hannah does have the opportunity to get a read on Evan and seems okay with him after he shows he pays attention to the real Ruth.
Evan and Zach work together when Daniel comes in ready for a fight. Daniel insults Ruth and threatens Evan’s job. Evan figures out that Daniel is Ruth’s ex, which means he is both the one who sent the rude flowers and the one who hurt her. Evan is angry enough that he almost hits Daniel and Zach has to pull him off.
Evan texts Ruth for the first time to tell her he’s coming right over. Someone knocks, but it’s Mr. Burne, not Evan. He wants Ruth to leave Daniel alone, but she explains she hasn’t done anything to him. He’s mad because Daniel recently called his pregnant wife, Laura, by Ruth’s name at dinner. Ruth is over being mistreated by this family, so she snaps back and says it isn’t her fault that Daniel is obsessed with a fat, black woman with an immigrant single mother.
They argue further until Ruth manages to get through to him. She dated Daniel for seven years and was in love with him, but he wanted to keep it a secret and always talked about how awful his father would be if he found out. And before they dated, Daniel spent two years asking her out. Finally, Mr. Burne understands and apologizes, but it is both too little and too late for Ruth. As he leaves, Evan shows up. Mr. Burne assures Evan that his job is safe and that he is unhappy about Daniel running to him over every little disagreement.
Once they’re alone, they have sex. Ruth has been denying herself any happiness for so long because she thought what happened to her was her fault, but now the dam has burst. Once they’re done, he says he figured out about Daniel. She is upset, and their fight devolves until she asks him to leave.
At Sunday dinner, Hannah talks to Ruth about Evan. She is also tired of Ruth pushing her away. Hannah is the one who destroyed the car, and she got a criminal record and can no longer work with kids because of it. Ruth has felt guilty over it ever since, so she pushed her sister away even though she always admired Hannah so much. She tells Hannah, and it’s a start towards repairing their relationship.
One night, Evans hears a crash from Ruth’s apartment and gets worried. He calls out to her, and she says she’s fine and that if he wants, they can have a conversation that isn’t through the wall. He wants. He isn’t upset with her for getting angry and likes her, which is relieving. Her bed, which Daniel put together, collapsed. He invites her to stay with him for the night, and she does. After they have sex, Evan says he loves her.
She finally tells him the truth about her relationship with Daniel and the car incident. Daniel kept her secret for seven years and then told her he was getting engaged but that they could still see each other. Hannah smashed up the car at the engagement party in front of half the town. After he called the police on her, Ruth was completely done with Daniel.
She also slept with quite a few men after that because she wanted a sense of what sex was like after Daniel had made her feel gross and weird for years. It didn’t help, but by the time she realized that she already had the reputation. She isolated herself for years because she felt like people were talking about her everywhere she went. Evan isn’t bothered, and they agree to be in a relationship.
Evan leaves for work. Ruth says she plans to run errands in town, so he’s worried about her. She goes to the library and asks if she can volunteer again. She quit after Hannah wasn’t allowed to volunteer with kids anymore. All the librarians still miss her and welcome her back.
She is surprised by how much she was missing when she isolated herself. She also calls Hannah to see if they can go out in the evening, which she hasn’t done in years. She also texts Hannah an apology and a promise to do better as a sister. She picks Evan a flower and waits by his car to meet him. He takes her home.
The next night, Evan and Zach hang out at the same bar as Ruth and Hannah. Ruth wanted time with her sister, but she also wanted Evan there just in case. Daniel comes in with some cronies, but Ruth doesn’t let Evan intervene.
She tells Daniel firmly that she wants to be left alone, and several other patrons object when he slams his hand on the table. She threatens to report him to the police for harassment if he doesn’t leave her alone going forward. He leaves. She feels bad for his wife, Laura, but Hannah doesn’t. Ruth tells Evan she wants to stay, and he’s happy for her.
They date, and the next several weeks are happy. He tries to subtly move her in, which she watches but allows. On Easter, she introduces him to her mom. He’s worried, but it goes well.
She says she loves him. Ruth’s friend, Maria, texts her. Ruth texts back because she realizes that while Hayley took her sister Laura’s side, Maria did not. Ruth pushed Maria away on her own. At church, Laura speaks to Ruth and is surprisingly polite from both ends, especially considering that Laura has made Ruth’s life hell.
Ruth and Evan are married five years later in the epilogue, and she’s pregnant. They’re hosting their first Sunday dinner, and she’s nervous, even though Evan is the one cooking. He reassures her. They’re both happy.
A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert is now available on Amazon.
Ruth Kabbah is okay with being an outcast.
Between her autism, her comic book nerdery, and the whiff of scandal her small town can’t forget, Ruth will always be Ravenswood’s black sheep. Since she prefers silence and solitude to gossip and pub crawls, that suits her just fine—until Evan Miller comes to town.
Ex-military man Evan is gorgeous, confident… and he’s Ruth’s new neighbour. Unlike everyone else, he doesn’t seem to mind her crotchety ways or her cooking disasters. In fact, if Ruth didn’t know any better, she might think Evan likes her.
But Ruth’s been burned before, and some lessons are hard to forget.
She can’t let her guard down—no matter how many home-cooked meals Evan brings over. Because affection is temporary, trust is made to be broken, and the heat of desire is a dangerous thing to play with.
So why does this man feel so safe?