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Thursday, August 16, 2018

'It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time' by Kylie Scott

From the BLURB:

Returning home for her father’s wedding was never going to be easy for Adele. If being sent away at eighteen hadn’t been bad enough, the mess she left behind when she made a pass at her dad’s business partner sure was.

Fifteen years older than her, Pete had been her crush for as long as she could remember. But she’d misread the situation—confusing friendliness for undying love. Awkward. Add her father to the misunderstanding, and Pete had been left with a broken nose and a business on the edge of ruin. The man had to be just as glad as everyone else when she left town.

Seven years on, things are different. Adele is no longer a kid, but a fully grown adult more than capable of getting through the wedding and being polite. But all it takes is seeing him again to bring back all those old feelings.

Sometimes first loves are the truest.

‘It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time’ is the new contemporary stand-alone romance by Australian author Kylie Scott.

Ok. So. Remembering that one’s romantic trope preference should never be shamed – no matter how niche! (hey, if The Shape of Water can win an Oscar we can all start respecting individual romance hot-spots, no matter how fishy) I am fully willing to confess that I love and actively seek out May-December relationship stories, in which there's a big age gap between the partners. Specifically, I like older-male and younger-female romances of this trope.

I don’t know why. Mine is not to question, but to read and swoon. But I definitely think that if I were to interrogate, it probably has links back to how much paranormal romance ushered me into the romance genre overall – Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight was really the first romance series I fell head-over-heels for, and it led me to Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse: Southern Vampire and Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series – all of which feature supernatural immortal or very much older heroes, falling for human (regularly-aged) women. I mean; Edward Cullen looks 17-years-old but is actually 107-years-old. And if we go one further, I guess the archetype for this trope is a little ‘Beauty and the Beast’, which is possibly my favourite Disney movie of all time (animated, not Emma Watson warbling)... and I guess if we're drawing parallels between men becoming grumpier, hairier, reclusive beasts as they age - then the tropes line up? Kinda?

In any case; May-December romances are my jam, and I’ve found some really great ones – like in all-time favourite historical-romance, The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn which features a heroine in love with her best friend’s older brother, whom she has loved for most of her young life. I have also found some questionable stories, that I have still loved because I CAN’T HELP IT – like; The Surprise of his Life by Karen Keast, which is about a young woman in love with her father’s best friend and business partner, she confesses her adoration and is surprised to find it reciprocated. 

That last one is actually why I had an inkling that Kylie Scott’s latest stand-alone, May-December romance about a young woman who has been in love with her father’s employee-turned-friend-now-business-partner would be right up my alley. And I was not disappointed.

Adele (character named for one of my best friends, true story!) would visit her father in Queensland for six weeks of every year as a teen, since her parents’ divorce. Her father’s employee from the building business he runs was Pete, who’d hang out with young Adele – at first under the guise of scoring points and keeping barriers between him and the women he was casually dating (a kind of; ‘look, I’m such a nice guy minding the boss’ daughter, but also that means we shouldn’t do anything in front of her and OH, look at the time – isn’t it past when I should be ghosting you?’ type thing). But Pete and Adele ended up having a very buddy friendship, which inadvertently (on Pete’s behalf) led to Adele having a HUGE crush on him and telling him in the worst way possible at her 18th birthday party.

Fast-forward seven years and 25-year-old Adele is back in town for the first time since that terrible night, for her father’s wedding. She is begrudgingly staying with Pete on a purely platonic level because her father’s house is in full wedding-prep and storage mode … but old feelings resurface, and now that she’s of an age Pete is clearly in the hot-seat with admitting that he and Adele might have something.

I loved this book so much. I was 1000% right that it would be up my alley – and then some. This is Kylie Scott at her hottest, steamiest best – and it’s always a good sign when I finish a book, wishing there was another 100 or so pages. And hey, *maybe* this story could lend itself to a sequel? I’d definitely be interested to see what happened in the second-half of this evolving relationship, that’s for sure …

I maybe have a little qualm that it’s never precisely explained why Pete hung out with Adele so much as a teen, that they really did become best friends. It’s sort of explained as I mentioned, that he was using her to score points with the women he was seeing, but also as a barrier against anything more serious happening with them (he’d kind of take Adele on the ‘last dates’ with these women, so that it would remain purely platonic and hands-off so as to ease them into his dumping them).

I was waiting – horribly – for a moment when Pete admitted to 25-year-old Adele that he had totally fallen for her at age 18 (or – ick! – her17-year-old self back, in the day) but I shouldn’t have worried. This is Kylie Scott and she knows her shit around consent, and hot consent especially – not to mention power dynamics in romantic relationships. This moment NEVER comes, because Pete truly didn’t feel anything sexual or romantic towards Adele when she was a teenager. This part of their relationship totally evolves in the here and now, when she is of-age and has agency and you can feel the power dynamic has balanced between them. AMEN!

This book was hot, hot, hot and I loved every second of it. Brava, Kylie Scott – you have reinforced why this trope works for me, and why I still actively seek it out!


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