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31 July 2013

Review: 'Second Time Around' by Erin Kaye (2012)

Divorcee Jennifer Irwin has it all – a successful interior design business and two loving children. But as her 45th birthday approaches and her children prepare to start their own lives, Jennifer is left feeling lonely in her empty nest.

That’s when she meets Ben Crawford – a man 16 years her junior – as their attraction heightens, Jennifer realises what she’s been missing. But mindful that the small-town Ballyfergus residents would never approve, they conduct their affair in secret.

But a secret is never a secret for long…

As the affair surfaces, Jennifer encounters opposition from friends and family, especially her daughter Lucy. Enraged by her mother’s relationship, Lucy seeks comfort in the arms of charismatic but troubled, Oren. Jennifer knows that Oren is not the man he seems, but can she convince her daughter of that?

And with everything going against them, can Jennifer and Ben’s love survive? Or will she risk losing her daughter to be with the man she loves?

As readers of this blog will know, I am part of a Twitter book club (@TheNewBookClub) and the novel picked for the month of July was Erin Kaye’s ‘Second Time Around.’ I was really excited when I found out this was going to be the book club’s next read, because I’ve been looking for an excuse to finally read an Erin Kaye novel! I’m in love with the gorgeous covers of ‘Always You’ (which is lying on my to-read pile as well) and ‘Second Time Around’, and I’ve only been hearing good things about this author from other bloggers. So, during my holiday days spent near Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight I picked up this novel with high hopes!

Jennifer Irwin is a 44-year-old, divorced businesswoman who lives in the town of Ballyfergus in Ireland. With her daughter Lucy off at university, and her son Matt making plans to find a place of his own, Jennifer decides it is time for her to get back in the field and start dating again. However, she doesn’t expect to find lust and love packaged in the form of Ben Crawford, heir to the Crawford empire, and 16 years younger than her. It doesn’t take long before the news of their relationship comes out, and both Jennifer and Ben’s families aren’t thrilled, to say the least. While Jennifer has her own love life to deal with, her daughter Lucy has found her own Prince Charming at university. His name is Oren and he is a devoted Christian, looking for the perfect wife. As soon as Lucy brings him home, Jennifer can feel something is not right. But with her own love troubles to deal with, will she be able to convince everyone else of Oren’s true nature?

‘Second Time Around’ focuses on a modern-day theme that is often looked at in a slightly humorous light; older women falling for younger men (does the term ‘cougar’ ring any bells?). It is slightly ridiculous that it is widely accepted that older men have relationships with younger women, but when it’s the other way around, it is considered strange or simply not done. I love how Erin Kaye tackled this subject, mainly because I loved the pairing of Jennifer and Ben. Jennifer is a great leading character, and I fell in love with Ben from the first description of him. There was absolutely nothing weird about their relationship, and I could really feel the chemistry between them throughout the novel. All the characters in the book were really well-written, though, and I specifically liked the extra storyline that focused on Lucy and Oren. I felt for Lucy at the beginning of the novel; she's so unhappy at university and feels really lonely. Her meeting Oren (who is quite a character, let me tell you!) changes everything, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Lucy's transformation as a person towards the end of the story.

This novel shows that it is never too late for love and that you can have a second chance at it. I really enjoyed ‘Second Time Around’ and the theme it focused on, and it has definitely inspired me to pick up another Erin Kaye novel as soon as possible!


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