Title: This Time Around
Author: Tawna Fenske
Series: – –
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: 4th April
Allie Ross is not living the life she once dreamed. Her law career ended before it ever started, her parents landed in jail for running a Ponzi scheme, and she just inherited her grandmother’s B&B—which is nice, even if it is full of extra-toed cats. As for her love life…she’d rather not talk about it.
When Jack Carpenter reaches out to reconnect with Allie, the girl who broke his heart in college, his plan is to impress her with the adult he’s become. Sure, he was a deadbeat then, but life has forced him to grow up. And it’s a relief to find out that things didn’t necessarily go the way Allie expected either.
As Allie and Jack get reacquainted, they rediscover the things they loved—and hated—about each other. But who they are now isn’t who they were then, and secrets—old and new—will test whether they have a future together, or if the past is destined to repeat itself.
Source: ARC from Montlake Romance via NetGalley
I don’t normally talk about covers, but I really don’t like this one and feel it doesn’t come even close to doing this book the justice it deserves. If I wasn’t already a huge fan of Tawna Fenske, I’d have passed it by and been none the wiser about this being a highly entertaining, second chance romance with a scene-stealing kid and an attic full of the most, umm, interesting secrets. So ignore that cover and dive in anyway, because this book is well worth your time – well, if you’re looking for something funny, a little bit dirty and deeply enjoyable, anyway.
Allie and Jack have history, and it didn’t end well, so when chance brings them back to living in the same city, both are out to impress and show how amazingly well they’ve done with their lives since they split up. For Allie, she’s desperate to prove that her choice to leave was the right one, while Jack wants to show her that he managed to amount to something after all. But neither are quite as assured as they’d like and it turns out they aren’t much over each other either.
Poor Allie, her life is one drama after another. Partly because her parents are both in prison, but there’s also the woodpeckers destroying her grandma’s house and an attic full of secrets that everyone seems to have used at some point in their lives with Allie. She frequently comes across as a woman who doesn’t know what she wants in life, who has trouble facing the past and would much rather bury her head in the sand and ignore all of life’s unpleasantness.
Which isn’t always great, especially when it comes to her history with Jack. Then again, he’s not great at letting things go sometimes either. Yet somehow, he and Allie do work together, despite their seemingly different outlooks on life. They have great chemistry and still know each other so well, despite all the years apart. I really wanted them to sort out their differences and keep trying, because even though they have their troubles, they are great together.
But, to be honest, their romance wasn’t the best thing about this book. That was the humour, the inappropriate conversations and the dramatic moments that came out of nowhere and left me caught between horror and hysterics. Like the reunion, or the barbershop conversation, or the bra fitting or all the awkward conversations about that attic. This is a book that revels in the ridiculous and isn’t afraid of innuendos or polydactyl cats. It’s great fun and I particularly loved Paige, Jack’s daughter, who doesn’t just steal scenes, she stole the whole book.
I might have liked a bit more closure regarding why they split up in the first place, though. Allie wasn’t wrong about her relationship with Jack, and he never seems to acknowledge that, even though he willingly changed his whole life for someone else a few years later. I would also have liked to have heard about Allie’s plans for the future, concerning the B&B, because although she’s doing up the house, this isn’t mentioned until the epilogue. I would also have liked a bit more foreshadowing of Allie’s dark secrets, because although it didn’t entirely surprise me, it did seem to come out of nowhere.
On the whole, though this is a fun, light and enjoyable read that takes an honest view of second chance romances and meeting up with old exes. The characters have flaws and problems, but are also packed with redeeming qualities and the secondary ones are just as complicated as Jack and Allie. It’s always a pleasure to read a Tawna Fenske book, and this is no exception. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.
This Time Around is out April 4th.
Visit Tawna Fenske for more details.