April 26, 2011
Second Time’s a Charm
Mature Romance Novel is “the One” for Me
Although not a regular reader of romance novels, now and then one strikes my fancy. I found Mary Flinn’s first novel “The One” very enjoyable as I watched young love blossom between teenagers Kyle Davis and Chelsea Davenport. Their story brought me back to my high school days as I remembered all the drama and confusion that resulted as people first embark upon meaningful relationships, so when Mary Flinn wrote a second novel about older adult characters named “Second Time’s a Charm,”—a title appropriate not only to her characters but to the fact that this is her second novel—I was delighted.
“Second Time’s a Charm” is the love story of Stacie Edmonds and Tyson Garrett. Stacie turns forty early in the novel while Tyson celebrates his thirty-first birthday. As someone who will turn forty this year, I found the love story between these characters more relevant to me than one about teenage romance. In addition, I had already met these characters briefly in “The One”—Stacie is Kyle Davis’ aunt—and while they had only appeared for a few pages, their presence in that novel was significant and memorable, precisely because of their age differences and that they were older than your ordinary romantic leads.
Stacie is the owner of The Sound Side, a successful restaurant in a coastal resort town in North Carolina, but despite Stacie’s success, she still has some issues to work out with her past, primarily her divorce from her ex-husband, Rick, who just happens to own a restaurant in the same town and who appears just enough to irritate her as well as give her an opportunity to heal her past. Tyson has his own issues to work through, but he is committed to their relationship—perhaps more so than Stacie, who is a bit nervous about taking a second chance on love.
For the most part, these characters are self-assured and confident. They know who they are and they know their weaknesses—they are not teenagers trying to find themselves but adults who have made difficult decisions and are still hopeful about their futures. Besides love, Stacie needs to make a decision whether she will attempt to have a child after suffering from some health problems that could put her and a baby at risk. The way the two main characters support one another and their passion for each other makes them extremely sexy, something that becomes obvious with the novel’s first chapter. Apparently, life can begin at forty.
Mary Flinn also brings back several characters from “The One,” including Kyle and Chelsea and Kyle’s mother Shelly. Both the familiar and the new characters make a great cast in this novel. The reader is bound to feel like he or she is there, working at The Sound Side, enjoying a lazy hour on the beach, and just hanging out with family and friends at the parties Flinn does such a great job of bringing to life. I felt like I knew these characters—they are ordinary, hardworking people with the same goals and hopes and dreams we all have, and I grew to like them and hoped they would not get hurt.
It isn’t giving things away to say that everything works out in the end for Stacie and Tyson. The magic is not so much in the plot but in the way Flinn breathes such life into this fictional world with its references to real restaurants and places in North Carolina. The book may be somewhat predictable, but it still makes you keep turning the page to see the details of how everything will turn out. I almost felt ready to go out and buy a wedding present and try to decide what to wear to the ceremony because after all, Tyson and Stacie had become my good friends and I expected to dance at their wedding.
In short, “Second Time’s a Charm” is a charm to read. Mary Flinn knows how to make the everyday world real as her words cast a spell over the reader, a spell that only ends all too soon. But don’t be too disappointed—her third book “Three Gifts” is coming soon and will bring the reader back to these lovable characters all over again—these three novels are “Three Gifts” indeed.
For more information about “Second Time’s a Charm” and Mary Flinn’s other novels, visit www.TheOneNovel.com.
— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and author of the award-winning “Narrow Lives”
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