3 out of 4 stars
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Getting back into the dating scene can be excruciatingly difficult, especially when you are a 50-year-old widow with trust issues. Second Time for Love is a romantic story about finding love—again. A year after the death of her husband, Joanne is still reeling; spending her days drinking and wallowing in depression. Her adult children believe she is drowning in grief, but they are wrong. Joanne’s husband was a womanizer who drank excessively and had no qualms about hitting her. She drinks to numb the painful flashbacks.
After Ritchie’s wife left him for his business partner, he was left to raise their three young children on his own. He worked tirelessly to provide for his family and had little time for romance. Now that they are grown up and he is retired, he has nothing but time on his hands. While finding love has never been high on his list of priorities, that all changes when he meets Joanne at a party. They strike up a conversation, and Ritchie is hooked. He is besotted with Joanne and asks her out. She is hesitant at first, but he assures her that there is no pressure.
Will the pair succeed at finding love despite their past experiences?
Second Time for Love by Bruce Cooke is a light-hearted romantic story that is written in the third person and revolves around Ritchie and Joanne. I was quite perplexed as to why it was listed as a Young Adult novel because I think it is meant to be read by mature adults. Second Time for Love is a character-driven story that examines the essential components of any relationship, such as trust, intimacy, and blending families.
My favorite aspect of the book was the development of Joanne’s character. For years, she had been in an abusive marriage, so it was understandable that she was guarded and had some trust issues. She desperately wanted to open up to Ritchie, but her fear of relationships seemed to hold her back. The author did an excellent job of conveying Joanne’s uneasiness to readers.
I also admired the author for shedding some light on consent, which is vastly important in relationships. I feel that it is a topic that is generally emphasized to younger people, but it speaks to all of us. In the beginning stages of any relationship, couples must discuss expectations and boundaries surrounding intimacy. Joanne hinted that her husband might have taken advantage of her when recounting the times she “submitted” to him. I was delighted to read that Ritchie sensed this and put no pressure on Joanne to have sex.
The only thing that I found off-putting about a Second Time for Love was the way Ritchie conversed with his daughter, Sally. The pair would partake in crude banter which was downright gross. Sally would blatantly ask Ritchie about his sex life with Joanne and would refer to him as a “horny old bastard.” In return, he would often call Sally a “deviant” and inquire about her intimacy with her husband. The most revolting statement was when Sally was talking to Ritchie about him and Joanne. She said, “Dad, I’m thrilled for you. I think Joanne is terrific and I hope you bonk each other stupid.”
The book was professionally edited, and I only noticed a few errors. I chose to give Second Time for Love a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. It may be a matter of preference, but I think the book could be improved by omitting the crude exchanges between family members.
This book contains profane language and erotic scenes that are not suitable for younger audiences. Young readers may find it challenging to connect with mature characters. I would recommend Second Time for Love to readers who enjoy love stories that bring awareness to important issues like consent. The book would be an excellent choice for those who possess an off-beat sense of humor and are not easily offended by crude dialogue.
Second time for love
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