I have a round up of some meh books I read recently.
Room to Breathe by Liz Talley– I read a couple of Talley’s Superromance’s back in the day and really enjoyed them. I was intrigued when I saw the blurb for this. I love a messy relationship, especially between mother and daughter. I want to note now that this book is not a romance but rather fiction with romantic elements. The journey is definitely focused on Daphne and Ellery’s growth.
“For a good part of Daphne Witt’s life, she was a supportive wife and dutiful mother. Now that she’s divorced and her daughter, Ellery, is all grown up, Daphne’s celebrating the best part of her life, a successful career, and a flirtation with an attentive hunk fifteen years her junior…who happens to be her daughter’s ex-boyfriend.
Ellery is starting over, too. She’s fresh out of college. Her job prospects are dim. And to support her fiancé in med school, she’s returned home as her mother’s new assistant. Ellery never expected her own life plan to take such a detour. With no outlet for her frustration, she lets an online flirtation go a little too far, especially considering her pen pal thinks he’s corresponding with her mother.
As love lives tangle, secrets spill, and indiscretions are betrayed, mother and daughter will have a lot to learn—not only about the mistakes they’ve made but also about the men in their lives and the women they are each hoping to become.”
Daphne, the mother, is trying to find her place in the world. She’s not quite 40 and knows she isn’t old but isn’t quite sure where she fits in the world now. I definitely relate to that. Daphne is also exploring her sexuality and what that means to someone who was married for most of her adult life and now isn’t divorced.
Ellery is kind of a brat. She is jealous of her mother’s success. She’s a single child of parents who catered to her a lot. She was annoying yet it also seemed appropriate. Ellery is also kind of a jerk to her mom and others. When the story opens up, Ellery is engaged to be married to her college sweetheart but also having an emotional affair of sorts.
The story itself is solid, mother and daughter both finding themselves and trying to repair their relationship. I enjoyed many aspects of it. I love complicated women. I liked the romantic aspects of the book. There was some slut shaming and weird comments about food, weight, and body image that I wished wasn’t there. It is really hard for me to overlook things like that and will take me out of the story. This wasn’t a bad story, but it wasn’t great. I look forward to more books from Talley
Spoiler- there was something with Ellery’s romantic relationship that I felt was a little flat and I wanted to see more nuance or development of it.
Hat Trick by Katherine E Hunt– Don’t be confused by this title, this book is not about hockey. It has to do with how the hero broke the heroine’s heart three times. This books had good bones but it fleshed out in a weird (to me) way.
The premise is fantastic, seasoned romance, second chance at love, and a SPOILER- secret baby. The hero was in a boy band and fell for the trappings of fame. He burned out fast. The heroine kept putting him back together. Until she stopped.
They reconnect 25 years later. But it felt like the story was lacking real development. Lots of writing that jumps ahead but doesn’t actually explain much. It jumps back and forth between past and present and we get both characters POV, which was nice. But it comes together so quickly. I don’t always need a story to be spoon fed to me and don’t mind working a little to understand what’s going on, but I didn’t feel like I had enough to work with in this story. This book didn’t have a ton of dialogue between the characters but had a lot of internal dialogue. I had just finished a book heavy in snappy dialogue and so the lack of it here was very apparent to me. It also felt like too much was happening off page. I needed more showing and not telling.
A few other things really stood out to me. The heroine has no female friends and hardly any friends. It made it hard to see her a full person because of this. And the hero’s ex wife falls victim to the evil ex, although she is never mentioned by name. Very one dimensional.
I think I would be willing to read something else from this author, but would want someone else to vouch for it first.