Second Chance Romance is one of my (Kini) favorite tropes so I was thrilled to get the chance to have Ruby put together a list of recommendations. Ruby’s new novel, House Rules, releases on February 10.
I love second-chance romances because they are unabashedly about personal growth. The main characters in this kind of story are trying to prove that they are no longer the people who couldn’t end up together. For example, in my upcoming contemporary romance, House Rules, the third in my Uptown series about love, real estate, and adulting, Simon and Lana are a long-divorced ex-husband and wife who wind up as roommates in a Central Harlem apartment. Throughout the book, we see the two of them grappling with new realities and old memories; Lana is no longer an insecure grad student struggling in her husband’s shadow, and Simon, is an established musician, dealing with career stagnation, and now realizing how much his resistance to change has hampered him.
In these 5 romances, characters from all stages of life contemplate the strides they’ve taken to make them ready for love once more.
Grounded for Christmas, by Savannah J. Frierson. Sometimes second chances come after a long acquaintance, sometimes they happen after one meaningful night. I loved this sexy and moving novelette about pharmacologist Mary, and hot pilot Joseph (her brother’s best friend), who end up on the same flight 5 years after a one-night stand. A series of travel mishaps strand them at a cabin, forcing them to finally talk through their fears and differences.
Undue Influence, by Jenny Holiday. This tale of a vineyard owner’s son forced to sell to the man whose heart he broke many years ago is based on what I consider a foundational second-chance romance, Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Adam, reflective and steadfast, has over the years learned how to deal with the foibles of his mother and sisters, while Freddy, once the town bad boy, now a celebrity chef, comes to appreciate Adam’s quiet strength.
Reunited by the Badge, by Deborah Fletcher Mello. Mello weaves a taut and fast-paced tale of a doctor and a state attorney on the run from pharmaceutical company goons intent on a cover up. Despite the adrenaline rushes from the chase, main characters Paul and Simone are both mature and sophisticated adults, and crisis forces them to confront the assumptions about commitment and compromise that drove them apart.
Ashlin and Olivia, by Aster Glenn Gray. This New Adult contemporary romance starts with a chance reunion in Florence between two young American women who met as adolescents and whose obvious yearning for each other manifested in an intense and ultimately explosive friend crush. While the two circle each other warily while talking about art, narrator Olivia recalls the headiness of their unfulfilled teen love.
A Midnight Feast, by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner. In this mid-century, space-race historical, an estranged husband and wife find themselves alone for Thanksgiving weekend. Margie, the overachieving wife and mother, has always put on a flawless façade for outsiders who look to her as the quintessential astronaut’s wife. But her husband, Mitch, all-too aware of the silences and resentments behind that image—and of his own professional and personal failings—knows that this holiday may be his last chance to win back his wife.
Bonus Book! One Last Chance, by Therese Beharrie. In Beharrie’s contemporary “One Day to Forever” series, all of the stories take place over the course of a single day. The latest is a structurally-daring, dual-timeline reunion romance. I’m very excited to read it!
Editor’s note: One Last Chance releases on 2/17/20
About the Book
House Rules, Uptown, #3, by Ruby Lang
ROOMMATE WANTED to share a gorgeous sun-filled apartment in Central Harlem. Must love cats. No ex-husbands or wives need apply.
Seventeen years ago, different dreams pulled Simon Mizrahi and Lana Kai apart. But when Lana takes a position as a chef back in Manhattan, her apartment search puts her right in her ex-husband’s path. Music teacher Simon is also hunting for a new place to live, and when Lana proposes they be platonic roomies, well…it’s not the worst idea he’s ever heard.
A sunny uptown two-bedroom sounds far more appealing than the cramped, noisy space where he’s currently struggling to work. Still, Simon has seen firsthand that Lana’s a flight risk, so he agrees on a trial basis.
Three months. With strict boundaries.
Living together again feels wonderfully nostalgic, but when the ex-couple’s lingering feelings rise to the surface, the rules go out the window.
Of course, chemistry was never their problem. But while Simon’s career feels back on solid footing, Lana is still sorting out what she wants. With their trial period soon coming to an end, they’ll have to decide if their living arrangement was merely a sexy trip down memory lane or a reunion meant to last.
About the Author
Ruby Lang is the author of the acclaimed Practice Perfect series. She is pint-sized, prim, and bespectacled. Her alter ego, Mindy Hung, wrote about romance novels (among other things) for The Toast. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Walrus, Bitch, and other fine venues. She enjoys running (slowly), reading (quickly), and ice cream (at any speed). She lives in New York with a small child and a medium-sized husband.
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Welcome, Ruby! Thanks for sharing your list; I enjoy seeing what books an author recommends. Best wishes for the success of House Rules.