When The Chips Are Down, Beth Rinyu
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Well, sometimes you want a book that has older leads, no teen/twenties angst, but people with a little more experience of life. This book delivers that in a romance that’s at times cynical, at times laugh out loud funny and at times so very sad….Him Indoors kept saying “must be funny, you’re smiling again” and there were some fab humorous moments in it.
Its written in first person from Melanie and her daughters Cassie and Gia, in alternating chapters. That worked well for me, as I do like to see how the characters think, and often what one person perceives is far from what was intended and this alternating POV lets us see the truth.
Melanie, she’s going through what so many people do – divorce, feeling old against the new, younger wife, feeling life is hard trying to get over her ex, bring up teens, balance work and home life and somewhere along the line trying to have her own social life. Her friend Jodi was fantastic, a great support and so funny. Then there’s Ben, back in town and her bête noir from school many years back. At first there’s a lot of friction, but there’s still that simmering attraction he had for her and soon they are – well, Ben won’t call it dating, won’t label their relationship, won’t call her his girlfriend and it leaves Melanie wondering if she’s just a booty call, and if she’s happy with that. The sex though – better than her ex many times over so as per Jodi’s advice for now she goes with the flow.
When I see what her teens are going through, the bullying, and how cruel kids can be I’m glad I went to single sex school (n and the bullying there was bad enough!) …poor kids, thankfully my own didn’t have those problems when at school. Being a teen is stressful, with hormones and exams, and for Gia and Cassie coping with divorce, their dads remarriage and new child, and to have someone pick on you as poor Gia did is a nightmare. I felt for Melanie too – what can parents realistically do? You want to protect your kids but sometimes life ties our hands, and it just makes things worse if we intervene. Thankfully Gia had Cassie as a huge support. I loved the way Cassie got together with Jason for tutoring, and saw that people aren’t always the stereotypes perceived. It taught them both a good life lesson.
The dating mix up – where Melanie is hiding she’s dating Ben…at times that seemed a bit overdone, but given all that had happened I could understand why she tried to keep quiet about it – secrets always come out though and in the worst way. Poor Melanie gets a double whammy on that front. Mexico 😉 – that was a real nightmare for her, but its a small world and things like that do happen. I loved the sex convo she has with mum, the Eye Doctor stuff, yep, need for brain bleach for her, but I aspire to be like her mum when i get old(er)!!
If you’re looking for a romance that’s full of fun too, where the characters feel real, the plots are those we’re all familiar with in life, and that has some heartbreak too this is your read ( with a HEA and it’s a stand alone – hurrah)
Stars: Not quite a five, a good four and a half, a fun, realistic and heart tugging romance.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers