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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Beginning Again by Peggy Bird

Beginning Again by Peggy Bird
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (64 Pages)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Liz Fairchild is through with relationships. Widowed in her twenties, now divorced halfway through her forties, it’s time to live life for herself. No man need apply. With the proceeds from her divorce settlement—and business advice from an unexpected source—she opens an art gallery in Northwest Portland, trades her McMansion on the Columbia River for an apartment above her gallery and looks forward to her new, independent life.

Everything is working out. She thinks.

Then Collins, a sculptor who claims to have only one name, walks into her gallery. He’s tall, rugged and way younger than she is. He says he’s looking for a gallery to represent him in Portland and, unwilling to take no for an answer to anything, bulldozes his way into her life—and her bed.

But Liz hesitates. She senses that Collins is not exactly who—or what—he seems. What’s the mysterious business he disappears to conduct? And does it have a connection with why he came into her gallery?

And which would hurt the most—falling for him or losing him?

Romance novel authors are in many ways, pioneers. They are not afraid to tackle delicate issues like relationships in which the woman is older than the man. Beginning Again is definitely not the first romance novel in which the heroine is older than the hero, but for me it was the first one featuring a heroine that is way past her early forties.

Liz Fairchild made two wrong choices in her life about men. First, she married young and before she turned thirty she was widow. After that she married a man who, just before her forty-sixth birthday and after fifteen years of marriage, decides to come out of the closet and her life. What one might expect in this situation is that Liz would be one mean, man hating lady. But no, she is the complete opposite. Aware that she continuously makes mistakes in men, she focuses her energy into an art gallery business. And before the grand opening she meets Collins, who is in his late thirties, a lawyer turn sculptor, and they start an affair.

Both Liz and Collins are great characters. Liz is not a bitter middle aged woman, but instead a very strong and brave lady. Collins is also interesting and although his intentions were not completely honorable at first, at the end he turns out to be a really great guy. This is a short and sweet romance novel and it has one component that I sometimes miss from romance stories and that is the courtship. Liz and Collins are actually going on dates, they are enjoying each other's company, and in the process they are falling in love. All this was really nicely described. Another great thing that I love in Beginning Again is Liz’s sexual awakening, and the message behind it; that is never too late to have a great sexual life and to enjoy sex.

Unfortunately there are also two things that made me give a lower rating to this story. The first is in the realm of illogicality. Liz was supposed to know who Collins was, but when he walked through the door of her gallery she was clueless. He is a sculptor whose work was scattered in different public locations around the town. While starting an art business it seems really silly that she did not do her homework before opening the gallery. The second is in the realm of responsible adult behavior. Liz and Collins shortly after they meet have unprotected sex. In the era of all different STDs, I prefer characters having protected sex, no matter what.

All in all I really enjoyed Beginning Again, because it was an easy read that made my gray autumn day a little bit less gray.