Many moons ago, my critique partner, Tanya Michaels, recommended Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick. Then I misplaced it. Then I got distracted. Oh, and there’s this stubborn subconscious thing where I feel I always have to take recommendations and hold them at arm’s length for a while even though I trust Tanya implicitly in such things.
As always, she was right. Second Time Around was the perfect book for me. It’s a book about English majors, for heaven’s sake! Also, it’s about a group of women–true women’s fiction, y’all! Secrets, camaraderie, witty repartee, writers, readers, literary references–it’s all Sally stuff. Okay, so it takes place in the Adirondacks instead of a small town in the South, but it does have its own “stealth magnolia,” our English major from Alabama. All in all, this would be an excellent beach read for the literary minded.
So you have Arden, who sets the whole story in motion. Then, Anna who is a pastry whiz but is also struggling with infertility. Jamie is brash but hiding a huge secret and tons of guilt. Cait has gone the literary distance to be an English professor, but she really wants to be a writer. Finally, you have Brooke, the aforementioned “stealth magnolia” who learns how to rewire a house and replace a toilet with a cast iron flange. These are no shrinking violets.
And, of course, almost all of them have men in their lives, particularly Anna whose marriage is on the rocks and Cait, who will reconnect with a former professor crush. Even so, it’s never trite, and Kendrick gives a satisfying, optimistic ending while resisting the urge to completely tie everything up in a nice, neat bow. All in all, I heartily recommend it. I also kinda want to be Brooke when I grow up.
A couple of quotes to hopefully inspire you to give this great book a try:
“I’m going to do what any self-respecting English major would do: pull something out of my ass.”
“To the English majors. We may not always be practical, but we have infinite potential.”