This Time Is Different, Mae Wood
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Publisher: Atacama Books
Genre: Hetero Romance
Tags: Contemporary, Age Gap, Family, Het Romance, Series
Purchase At: Amazon.com
*** This review is full of spoilers. ***
Life can change in a flash.
Marriage and a baby wasn’t Amy Forsythe’s college plan. After a shotgun marriage glued together by her son, she’s convinced that love isn’t meant for her. Now nearing forty and single for the first time since her senior prom, her friends are pushing her to date. Her teenager isn’t thrilled by the idea and neither is Amy.
Silver fox Thomas Popov isn’t looking for The One. He found her decades ago. And fell apart when she died. At fifty-three with a new job, a new city, and an empty nest, he’s focused on climbing the corporate ladder.
When a softball accident lands Thomas in Amy’s dental chair, sparks fly.
Lightning doesn’t strike twice. But love might.
This time is different.
An awful lot of stuff happens in this book for a whole lot of nothing to happen.
Thomas gets hit in the jaw by a bat during warm ups before a softball game. The field is across the street from an orthodontist office so he’s rushed over there and treated by Amy, the orthodontist on call. When he’s given ‘happy meds’ he makes a few humorous comments about Amy, calling her an angel and other things. Of course his friend – who’d actually hit him in the jaw with the bat – records Thomas and his drugged out rambles. On one hand, that was cute and it added a little bit of humor. On the other, it was rather annoying because the so-called friend wouldn’t let it go already. Even so, Thomas – now perfectly sober – asks Amy out on a date with a little help from her work partner. She agrees and thus begins the long and drawn out story of Thomas and Amy.
I mean, really, the book was 257 pages of a whole lot of nothing. I know that sounds mean, but it’s the truth.
Thomas, 53, lost his wife to a car accident eight years ago. He has three children – Miller, 24, and 20-year-old twins, Cassie and Claire.
Amy, almost 39, divorced Bert a few years ago. They have a 17-year-old son together, Grady.
Thomas and Amy begin dating, something that’s often difficult because of their schedules. Thomas is a Chief Operating Officer at a hospital and I’ve already mentioned Amy being an orthodontist.
The story in a nutshell –
They meet, they date, they have sex a lot, they constantly go on and on about their former spouses, and they bow down to their children who don’t want them dating again.
That’s it. Honestly.
Thomas is, understandably, still mourning his late wife Laurie. I understood that, but did she have to be brought up or thought about during almost every single scene Thomas was with Amy?
Now to Amy. Amy and Bert’s relationship was different. When Amy found out she was pregnant with Grady she went to school and on to become an orthodontist while Bert was a stay at home dad. He gave up his dreams for Amy and Grady. I’m not criticizing. I know people do that all the time and I actually respect Bert for doing that. But what bugs me is something I see way too often – Amy got her career going and then divorced Bert, leaving him high and dry. Oh, he wasn’t destitute. Apparently, there’s some kind of trust fund or something (mentioned once then never again). He also owns a bar/restaurant that Thomas has frequented since long before he and Amy met. My point is that Bert willingly gave up all this dreams in order to be there for his wife and son. Amy didn’t seem to give up anything other than being single.
I liked Bert. I felt like he got a raw deal in all this. He obviously hadn’t wanted the divorce. Bert has his own story but I’m not sure if I’ll be reading it, though I did like him a lot.
Now to Thomas and Amy’s kids.
I’ll start with Amy’s son Grady who’s 17.
It’s okay for his father to date but not his mother. But that’s not all. Bert dates much younger women and that’s not a problem for Grady. Amy dates a man 14 years older and he’s too old for her? Oh, and my favorite part (very heavy sarcasm) – she’s a slut. Yes, he called his mother a slut. He gets slapped. Normally I wouldn’t condone that, but if one of my boys called me a slut I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same thing Amy did.
But here’s the thing… Grady called Amy a slut for spending the night with Thomas when Grady wasn’t even supposed to be staying with Amy that night. It was Bert’s night. What does Amy do? Go on and on with apologies to her kid for dating somebody. Uh, why? She’s a grown woman. She’s not married. She’s not committed to anybody else. Is she supposed to sit around her entire life because her almost grown kid can’t get over the fact that his parents aren’t together? No way in hell did he deserve an apology. For slapping him, maybe, but not for the rest.
Now to Thomas’ kids who all live in different states. Miller, a medical student, was pretty much okay with his father dating again. The twins, not so much, one in particular. I think it was Cassie, but it was all over the place with the twins and I couldn’t tell who was complaining or who was supportive most of the time. What a selfish little brat. She expects her father to never be happy again, to spend his life alone. Why? Because she thinks he’s dishonoring her late mother. Okay, I get that to an extent. She’s not used to her dad being with anybody but her mother. But come on. Never, ever even date? Be alone his entire life while you’re living your life in another state?
The entire book was Amy and Thomas going back and forth with their kids and going on and on about their former spouses. Thomas and Amy are both concerned over how the kids will take them dating. Not even getting serious. Just dating. A big deal is made over them all meeting. When it happens? A total nonevent. Amy meets Cassie kind of early on. The others? In the epilogue when they’re all on a ski trip. The first time I saw all three of Thomas’ kids in the same city with Amy was the morning after they all met. They’re in a kitchen in a cabin on their ski trip. Why build up the meeting of the kids thing when you aren’t going to actually show it on-page? That annoyed me.
There were a few inconsistencies in this story. One minute it was Cassie acting silly about her dad dating somebody. Later, it was Claire who’d supposedly been upset over her dad dating somebody. Claire was the one who seemed to be happy for her dad, so when she did decide she wasn’t? Also there are some inconsistencies with regard to Grady and when he was or wasn’t supposed to be at home.
I think my biggest issue with the story was how Amy allowed her son to be so disrespectful to her and Thomas. He got somewhat better later, but there was still no excuse for how he acted throughout most of the book. Bert backed Amy up when it came to Grady, which I respected a lot. It was kind of obvious that Bert still loved Amy, but he took a step back so she could be happy with Thomas, even sort of giving his blessing. Bert realistically did not attempt to be Thomas’ friend. He simply made it clear that he was okay if he and Amy wanted to get married someday, as long as Thomas was good to Amy and to Grady.
By the time Thomas and Amy eventually said the L word I was no longer invested in the story. It had simply gone on way too long.
I have it listed above as a series though it’s not listed as one anywhere else, I don’t think. Bert has his own story and there are others (apparently) that are also linked.
I didn’t hate this but I got frustrated a lot. I did like that Amy was a strong and independent woman who stayed that way when Thomas came into her world. I really liked the age difference between her and Thomas, though Thomas often acted much older than fifty-three. The sex scenes were written well. I just felt that it took way too long to get where they were supposed to be. I also thought both of them should’ve been more firm with their kids and not allowed them to dictate their lives so much. I get loving your children and not wanting to upset them, but what about your own happiness? Do you walk away from maybe your only chance at love because your almost grown and adult kids are jealous?
Like I said, I’m not sure if I’ll be reading Bert’s story, which is actually book #3 of a different series. I am curious about him, but I’m afraid I’d end up throwing my perfectly good Kindle Fire if it dragged like This Time Is Different did. But I’m a glutton for punishment, so who knows?