From the Blurb:
A new town, a new neighbor, and a new chance to build a forever.
Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor—the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.
Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.
But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania to reconcile, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie fears that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. Despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.
A refreshing story about mature characters that have loved and lost in their lives and are now fighting for a second chance at happiness.
Charlie and Simon both have their pasts and they are trying to move forward knowing they can't forget about them. I liked that there was no secret about either's story. Everything was out in the open and they were both honest with the other.
I had a small issue with the MCs' names: though they aren't very similar I still spent the majority of the book mixing them. I had to consciously think about who was supposed to be the local guy with the kid and who the architect making a new start in a new city. That was pretty frustrating and totally up to me, but once I found a solution to tell them apart the story flowed much more easily.
The events with Charlie's daughter weren't a surprise to me, I suspected what was going to happen from the start and I kept wishing that the author would prove me wrong because I didn't like that she decided to take the story there. Despite that, Kelly Jensen handled the situation very nicely. There was the obligatory bump on the road for the couple towards the end of the story, but it happened in such a way that it didn't feel like crafted drama.
I wish that the author would have been more generous with the timeframe, because even though the way the characters acted was fine and didn't seem sappy, when you thought about the events in terms of how many days had passed it was clear that it was too soon for Charlie and Simon to have developed the feelings they were supposed to have. Their relationship felt rushed, but I decided to ignore it because the narration was really good and didn't feel insta-love.
I kept waiting for something to happen with the ex, but in the end nothing much did. That thread seemed like it was abandoned at some point and I know that Brian has his own book in the series but I still wanted a more solid conclusion for his new efforts to approach Simon.
All in all this was a very enjoyable story about second chances at happiness. Recommended!
*An ARC of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *
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