It Had to Be You written by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Publication Date: April 17, 2007 (first published in 1994)
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Series: Chicago Stars #1
Narrated by Anna Fields
Length: 12 hours, 34 minutes
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The Windy City isn't quite ready for Phoebe Somerville -- the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not prepared for the Stars' head coach Dan Celebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Celebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything Dan despises -- a meddling bimbo who doesn't know a pigskin from a pitcher's mound.
So why is he drawn to the shameless sexpot like a heat-seeking missile? And why does the coach's good ol' boy charm leave cosmopolitan Phoebe feeling awkward, tongue-tied....and ready to fight?
The sexy, heartwarming, and hilarious "prequel" to Susan Elizabeth Phillip's This Heart of Mine -- her sensational bestselling blockbuster -- It Had To Be You is an enchanting story of two stubborn people who believe in playing for keeps.
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It Had To Be You is my very first SEP book and I fell in love with it! This book was published in 1994 and that is really important to note because it affects your understanding of the book.
I’m what you call someone who grew up in a time prior to the internet boom, so I know what it was like prior to that. So yeah. This book has a little bit of a nostalgia factor.
No cell phones!
No social media!
Gils V Boys – no girls in sports!
$100,000 was a huge sum of money
And best of all the amazing Walkman!
It is a little funny reading the book now because we are dealing with athletes and celebrities and there is really no mention of modern tech, so that’s pretty neat!
Despite all that, the romance alone stands the test of time. It’s been 24 years since this book has been published and the plot is still as relevant today as it was when it was first published.
I’m a sucker for books with daddy issues and this one has it in spades! Phoebe Somerfield inherits the Chicago Stars Football team from her father with the condition that the team wins the AFP Championships.
It Had To Be You is one of the few books that I’ve read that features a curvy girl described as really curvy! I have read a few books featuring curvy heroines, but they normally aren’t that curvy, if you know what I mean.
The hero, Dan Calebow, Head Coach of the Chicago Stars is the typical alpha male – and a bit misogynistic. Initially, he came off as a douche and I honestly had to try hard to remember that this was written in 1994. His thoughts on women were highly traditional and he was definitely judgmental AF! In the end, though, this gruff hero won me over.
I honestly think the best thing about It Had To Be You is the character development. Phoebe does a lot of growing up and a lot of soul-searching. She is an amazing heroine and a feminist even before feminism became a thing. She hid behind a veneer of a haughty spoiled rich kid when in fact she was the sweetest most loving person. Definitely a perfect heroine for Dan.
Trigger warning! There is a rape incident in this book. This is Phoebe’s backstory and there are a few instances where she relieves that fateful night. However, what Dan did for Phoebe was really sweet and awesome.
I also love Phoebe’s relationship with her younger half-sister, Molly. I also love how their relationship developed from animosity to love and I’m looking forward to Molly’s own HEA.
I’m not a fan of football. In fact, I don’t understand it and I don’t think I’ve even seen one game. But you know what? That AFP Championship games’ last few minutes had me at the edge of my seat even though I knew what the ending would be! That was an awesome play by play, SEP!
I am so glad that I picked up this It Had To Be You. While I don’t care much for the narrator, I still enjoyed it. It is an awesome book about love, life, redemption, coming to terms with preconceived notions, and healing.
If you haven’t read this book before, pick it up and read it! I can’t recommend this book enough!
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Do you like reading older contemporaries or does the lack of tech bother you?