Mathias Mitchell’s easy smile hides a world of hurt. After the worst kind of family betrayal, he moves to Happily Inc., California—the wedding destination town supplies a steady stream of bridesmaids, perfect for his “no promises, no pain” lifestyle. Yet he can’t stop watching for his beautiful, elusive neighbor on the animal preserve behind their homes.
Gamekeeper Carol Lund knows she’s not special enough to attract an alpha male like Mathias, so his offer to help her adopt a herd for her lonely giraffe is surprising—and his determined seduction, even more so. But just as she finally welcomes him into her bed, his careless actions crush her heart. Will she give him a second chance to prove she’ll always come first in his heart?
Second Chance Girl is a sweet, small town romance that never quite picked up for me. Despite the witty and snappy dialogue, the book fell flat, the characters mostly one-dimensional, and the promise of a town designed just for weddings never fulfilled. It wasn’t a difficult read, the story is fairly light, the pace quick, and I never felt the need to skip ahead, but I constantly found myself hoping for something more.
There were parts that I loved. Second Chance Girl is actually a two for the price of one love story, featuring the Lund sisters as the book’s heroines. Violet’s romance with Ulrich, an English Duke, had some spark. I enjoyed their “meet-cute” and the romance that followed. They’re a well-matched couple. The animals of the little desert town of Happily Inc. really stole the show, with giraffe Millie stealing my heart. Her new-found friend, Sophie the Beagle, was just as cute, bringing a smile to my face with every scene she was in. I was intrigued by the Mitchell family drama (which started books ago in the Fool’s Gold series). Mathias’s “twin”, Ronan, definitely had me yearning for his story as he’s just the type of book hero I like, all broody and broken.
But, the main story-and main couple-just didn’t work for me. While I liked Carol, she was just a bit boring. I would’ve loved to know more about her work on the animal preserve she runs. The character would have come to life if just a bit of her passion for working with the animals had shined through. Even though most of the story revolves around raising money for a herd of giraffes to keep Millie company, it’s Mathias, not Carol that figures out a way to make that happen. Without his idea, Carol would have been content to depend on the donation cans she’d left all over town.
Mathias is not the alpha promised in the book blurb. I liked him-as part of the Mitchell family and all that he and his brothers had to endure. That story-the narcissistic father, neglectful mother, secrets that tear a family apart-that was worth reading about. Mathias as a romance book hero? Not so much. Yes, he’s emotionally stunted due to his family issues and justifiably so. But… he just came across as sort of a wuss. He’s sweet and funny, but won’t confront the people in his life that he needs to, he has let his talent go to waste because of his father, and (spoiler) he lets Carol be the one who lays down the law to fix their relationship. Which is fine, but not an alpha move.
3 stars for Second Chance Girl. Heat level: 3
I received this book in exchange for honest feedback.
Second Chance Girl was published in September 2017 by Harlequin.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. She’s best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.
Susan lives in Washington state with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her online at SusanMallery.com.