Second Time’s a Charm: A Novel

Mary Flinn
Aviva Publishing (2011)
ISBN 9781935586296
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (5/11)

I like books which come with instructions on how to use them… This one stated on the cover, “’Second Time’s a Charm’ is best read in the shade on a warm beach with a chilled beverage at hand if one is so lucky, but if necessary, a couch indoors on a rainy day will certainly suffice!” As this reader will gladly attest, a comfy reading chair on a rarely chilly spring afternoon with a cup of coffee nearby worked quite adequately as well, since nothing much mattered as soon as I started reading Mary Flinn’s charming tale of a feisty restaurant owner and her entourage.

Stacie Edmonds is about to turn forty, but her life is not getting any less complicated. Divorced, and still somewhat bitter about her ex-husband's betrayal, she is running a successful restaurant which she has started together with him during their rocky marriage. She’s romantically involved with her chef, Tyson, a man ten years her junior who would love to marry her, yet she’s is still afraid to commit completely. Yes, he is gorgeous and a great partner in business, he treats her really well, everybody thinks they are made for each other and he is probably the best thing that has ever happened to her, but can she TRUST him? Tyson also wants a family, but Stacie has had trouble bearing a child to term before, so she is far from certain that she could give him one. Should she risk losing him – or losing herself? Could they truly have a future together?

I absolutely loved the story, and found it truly engrossing. The characters were believable and highly likeable, the dialogue flowed effortlessly and the issues were something most people could easily relate to and the writing style thoroughly engaging. My only comment regarding style is that I would have enjoyed the story just as much, if not more, without having to learn about every person’s hair color and style, as well as about most of their eye colors and manner of dress. While some description of physical attributes is necessary and welcome, particularly when concerning the major characters, the hair color of the guy who delivers fish simply feels superfluous to me.

“Second Time’s a Charm” turned out to be a charm indeed, an entertaining, warm, witty and intelligent contemporary romance, which will enchant readers who like books about real and believable issues. While waiting on a sequel – and hoping there will be one, I shall entertain myself by trying to figure out a possible cast for a “Second Time’s a Charm” movie. It would definitely make a terrific one.


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