I’m a bit of a sucker for these contemporary romance novels with the comic/drawings as covers. I like the trend though I don’t think I would like it for historicals. Anyway, I saw this pop up in my Goodreads stream, and since a few friends had marked as to read or rated it with 4 stars, I decided to give it a shot.
This is the first in the series, and I’ve noticed often the first novel in a romance series isn’t always the strongest because it’s introducing the premise (like wallflowers etc.) and all the characters, many of whom might end up with their own novels later. I think there is a good chance this might be the case here as well because while I liked the novel and it was a fun read that had some emotional depths, I was more interested in some of the side characters than the main couple. Also, second chance romances aren’t usually my favorite trope though in this one, it worked better for me because it was about a married couple working with through both their issues rather than one person trying to fix a horrible mistake.
Gavin’s marriage to Thea is on the rocks. He is drunk, in a hotel, when his best friend shows up with two other men and tells Gavin that tomorrow they will start the first steps in a plan to save his marriage. Del and Gavin are on the Nashville major league baseball team and when Gavin arrives at their meeting the next day, there are a few other successful men from the Nashville community in attendance. They have all had to take hard looks at their marriages and their behaviors in the past to come back stronger, and now they plan to share their lessons learned with Gavin, starting with handing him a regency romance novel to read as homework.
Gavin doesn’t understand how this will help his marriage, but as the men explain to him it will help him understand his wife’s perspective since these novels are by women for women, and can help illuminate his wife’s perspective to him. Eventually, Gavin starts learning the lessons, and tries to be a more present husband, and realize that the issues with his marriage go far beyond that fact his wife has been faking orgasms for their entire marriage. While that is the thing he has focused in on, the sex is simply a symptom of wider issues, and how Thea has felt like she has had to be another version of herself to support his career and fit in with the other league spouses.
The novel has excerpts of the romance novel Gavin is reading throughout, and it closely parallels his and Thea’s own story and issues. I wasn’t a big fan of Gavin in the beginning because he was so focused on the sex part of marriage and its affect on his ego. He did grow on me, however, as he evolved. I also liked the exploration of Thea and her own issues that helped contribute to some of their problems, though as a whole, while they were a sweet couple, to me, they also felt a bit bland? Like it was a nice novel, but they didn’t have the kind of smoldering chemistry that will make me remember them in a year. However, I am so on in for Braden Mack’s novel, whenever he gets his turn.