This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Harlequin
Released on August 1, 2020
She picked his brother, they have been coldly distant for years, and now, she needs his help with her children as she fights cancer. I spotted the blurb on this one and I had to leap in with both feet. Between a second chance at romance and a widowed heroine fighting for her very life and trying to hold together her family. She seemed as tough as it gets and I wanted her story.
The Single Mom’s Second Chance is the seventh book in the Sweet Briar Sweethearts series. I chose this one out of order and had no trouble jumping in. I think the setting as well as brief glimpses of past stories is the loose connection a reader can anticipate.
The story opens with Roz Martin nervously approaching her brother-in-law, Paul Stephens, for the biggest favor of her life. He has hated her since she married his half-brother even though she saw how it was when he went away from college and slowly drifted away from her. Paul is a busy, successful businessman so what she is asking of him is huge, but he is the only one she can turn to. She never stopped caring and can only hope that she can survive the cancer and being near Paul once again.
Paul is shocked when the woman who turned to his brother after he had such huge plans and dreams for them together stands before him and begs him to come to her home and look after his nieces and nephew while she undergoes cancer treatment. They have done their best to avoid each other for years, but this shock makes him let go of some of the anger and hurt. He only has one answer to give and will be fighting his feelings the whole time.
The Single Mom’s Second Chance had all the markings of a story full of emotion and angst. It is also something of a gamble to center a romance around a situation like a heroine undergoing cancer treatments. The author deftly rode the line between drudging along too heavily and flitting across the emotions and physical ailments too lightly. There are descriptions of a mom and her kids who have barely started healing from the loss of her husband and their dad, now they face the cancer treatments and the reunion with Paul. Each element was acknowledged and the hardships were not ignored or glossed over. Roz struggles with illness, frustration over her weakness, her kids fears, and even her looks. The kids act out or withdraw. Friends were there for them as was Paul. Paul was a pillar, but he had to figure it all out even while jiving the past with where they are at now so they can be at peace. Like I said, it had reality, but didn’t become morose.
As to the romance, I thought the cancer gave them a good excuse to come together and keep things less personal, but at the same time, they could actually talk now like they never had in the past. It would be easy to say miscommunication was at the heart and get frustrated with them both, but the truth was, it was complicated. For one, they were very young. But, for another, they both brought family baggage to the table that played a huge role. Roz interpreted Paul’s less than frequent contact and claims of being busy as abandonment and losing interest in her because she grew up an orphan child in her aunt’s house knowing the aunt didn’t want her and felt obligated. After Roz decided to interpret Paul’s busyness at college as feeling obligated and not caring, her choice to go to his half-brother who never liked Paul and was the golden boy to their dad was a knife to the gut. So, beyond the cancer, they had a lot to iron out. I appreciated how the author brought the romance along steadily and left it more of a sweet slow burn. It suited the story.
All in all, I through this one was a fabulous book and I would definitely like to read more of the author’s Sweet Briar stories. She puts heart, real life situations, and a lovely community all into her contemporary romances that I can definitely recommend.
I received this book from Harlequin via Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.
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