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goodgirlI picked up another set of free sample Harlequins, just to keep up with the different lines (and, of course, FREE BOOKS!). Getting a set like this means there will be some books I like less than others. Which brings me to The Good Girl’s Second Chance, a 2015 Harlequin Special Edition, by Christine Rimmer.

The opening is almost magical. Chloe wakes up in the night, goes onto her balcony, and spots Quinn on his balcony a few houses away. He comes to her, and after a brief chat she invites him to her bedroom. Mind-blowing sex ensues. I suppose that’s one way to start dating.

Chloe and Quinn know each other. They were attracted to each other in high school, but neither acted on it. Both married and left town, and both came back single and financially secure. Quinn has a darling four-year old daughter, which is not much of a burden since he has a live in male nanny (named Manny). I like independent characters, which these are, but there’s not really any obstacle to their relationship. After the first few chapters, the only thing that kept me reading was wondering what might go wrong.

Eventually there are some minor obstacles. Chloe has domineering mother, and her abusive ex wanders back into her life, but these are easily overcome. There never seems to be an ‘all is lost’ moment where one character doubts their own ability, or the ability of their desired, to continue the relationship. Character development is limited to Chloe becoming more confident. This is a good thing, though it seems a result of the love of a good man, instead of something that allows her to love.

At the risk of sounding mean, I don’t these characters suffered enough. There’s a piece of writing advice floating around, incorrectly and widely attributed to Vladimir Nabokov: “The writer’s job is to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them.” Regardless of the source, it’s good advice. I read romances because I know there’s going to be a happy ending. The reading pleasure is the obstacles and how they are overcome, and the bigger the obstacles, the greater the pleasures when they are overcome. In The Good Girl’s Second Chance, there’s not enough rock throwing.

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