FF Friday

Second Chance by HL Logan

This book is charming, sweet, well written, and fundamentally not for me, but it might be someone else’s delightful comfort read.

Basically this book had everything I would want in a cute small-town romance except for the one missing element that I’ll get to in a minute. Second Chance is about two single moms who went to high school together, a shy nerd and a cheerleader queen bee, who meet when their kids become friends and then kindle a romance. The characters are really charming, the kids are cute and believable as kids, and the writing is both technically excellent and funny. The narrative voice is great and in fact is what kept me reading as far into the book as I did.

(I need to caveat that the following is not an objective quality issue with the book but rather, a personal taste issue.)

What’s missing is anything at all happening. There is absolutely no plot or tension whatsoever beyond “the two moms meet and talk and visit each other and fall in love.” At least in the first third of the book, which is how far I read before my interest flagged, there is no tension, no mystery, no other characters aside from the kids (who are only seen interacting cutely with their moms), no backstory aside from occasional mentions of going to high school together, and generally a complete and total lack of ANYTHING AT ALL beyond repeated scenes of the two women going over to each other’s houses and flirting cutely and charmingly with each other. Even their jobs are not interesting and are merely name-checked (one is an IT professional and the other is a fashion journalist). Nothing goes wrong, no one gets upset, and no complications ever intrude.

This is what I mean when I say that this could be someone else’s delightful comfort read. There is nothing wrong with this book. It’s very well written and sweet, and the narrative voice is great. I don’t expect a romance to have a great deal to do with anything outside the romance. However, I’m not sure if I’ve ever read a romance that had this level of plot vacuum. It started getting to the point where I was turning pages wishing desperately for anything to happen other than repeated scenes of house-visiting and lightly charming flirting. A car crash! A secret from someone’s past! Someone’s mom showing up for an unexpected visit! A problem at work! A problem with the plumbing! A burned pot roast!

… which means I am obviously not the audience for this book. However, if you would like to spend a pleasant couple of hours in a charming medium-sized town enjoying a low-drama romance between two likable characters who like each other, this is just the thing. It looks like that’s basically the formula for most of this author’s other books as well, and the quality of the writing is great (charming, funny, with good descriptions and a nicely developed sense of setting) so I can see why she’s doing well — this was #1 in lesbian romance on Amazon when I went through and bought a bunch of books in early May. If you enjoy this book, there is lots more to enjoy.

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