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REVIEW

"Fantastic collection of stories of love, the second time around"

This is a collection of stories of love, the second time around. There are six stories included in the anthology. I will comment briefly on all of them.

WINDS OF DESTINY: Katherine Armand's marriage is over, which wasn't something she planned. But with her divorce comes the opportunity to pay more attention to her career as a paralegal and top negotiator for a law firm. A major developer is considering building a resort in Katherine's sleepy seaside town and is eager to buy a large patch of land. But the man the developer sends to broker the deal is the one person Katherine least expects—Michael Whitfield, the man who broke her heart fifteen years ago.

This story was one of reconnection, and rekindling a love that still burned, even if it was somewhat buried away on Katherine's part. It's made clear from the very beginning that she is still attracted to him, and that Michael never stopped loving her. I thought that the two main characters were believable and that Katherine fought a very believable conflict: should she allow herself to become vulnerable and love Michael again, or should she just walk away? I really enjoyed this story.

LIZZIE'S LACES: Lizzie Rawlston left her home in Boston for Liverpool, determined to start a new life in England with her aunt. She was also determined to forget all about Captain Tony Sinclair, the ship's captain she'd fallen in love with. Unfortunately, he made it clear that he was married to the sea, and didn't want a wife tying him to down. But now, two years later, Tony appears in Liverpool to bring Lizzie home, as her father is dying and he wants to see her one more time.

This historical mostly takes place on Tony's ship. I like historicals, and this story did not disappoint. As it's a shorter story, it has to move faster than a full-length novel, and I think the pacing was well-done. I enjoyed this story as well.

SPIRIT OF LOVE: After a tragic accident devastates Brynna and Travis's marriage, they drift apart. But as paranormal investigators, they must complete one more assignment together, on The Queen Mary during Yule, the most haunted time in the Celtic calendar. It is believed that during Yule, anam cara (soul friends) can visit. Will they be able to reconnect and heal the rift between them?

This was one of my favourite stories in the anthology. There was something about the setting, and the concept of anam cara that appealed to me. Travis and Brynna's backstory—the accident that tore them apart—is touching and devastating at the same time, and I can understand why an accident like that would have torn them apart. There was a twist in the story that I was able to figure out, but the story didn't end there. Instead, there was another twist that allowed for a happy and positive ending. I thought that both plot twists added to the depth of the story. I thought this was a fantastic read.

THE GARDEN SWING: Tess Murphy inherits an old house from an elderly patient named Emmeline. The house is in a dilapidated state and may be more trouble for Tess. When she tries out the garden swing that features prominently in one of Emmeline's stories, she is sent back in time, back to when the house is new and meets the handsome owner, Hugh MacAllister. Tess is presented with a dilemma: return to the future and ignore history, or stay in the past and become a part of it.

I'm usually wary of time travel stories, but I enjoyed this one. However, from Emmeline's stories, I knew the ending would be bittersweet. I'd hoped that there would be another explanation for the ending as told in Emmeline's stories, but unfortunately there wasn't. Regardless, it was a touching love story, especially since Tess embraces her future, even though she knows what will happen to her.

ONLY AND ALWAYS YOU: Ten years ago, Viscount Seton and Lady Claire broke each other's hearts. Shortly after, Lady Claire married another man and left England. Now she's back, and they discover that they both still have feelings for each other. But will they be able to move past the hurt, betrayal and outside sabotage to rekindle their love?

I liked this story, but it seemed a bit too brief for me to truly get to know the characters, which was unfortunate as they were both interesting characters and I wanted to get to know them a bit more. My favourite scene in the story is Lady Claire's showdown with Viscount Seton's mother. It showed Lady Claire's feistiness, but also her ability to stand up for herself.

SPECIAL OF THE DAY: Sunny Day, former model and soap opera star, has opened a vegan restaurant next to Nick Delatorre's diner. Sunny's restaurant is taking away the diner's customers, and Nick wants them back. The problem is that Sunny is Nick's ex-girlfriend from college, and he still has feelings for her.

This is my other favourite story in the anthology. It is more light-hearted than the others, and I loved reading about the sniping between Nick and Sunny. They're both still clearly attracted to each other and are hiding the fact that there is something there. As a result, they seem to be channelling that attraction into antagonism, which leads to some witty and sarcastic conversation. I thought the two characters were great, and I wouldn't mind reading a full-length novel about these two.

Overall, I thought this was a great anthology. The stories are all different, and yet they all present the idea that love is out there for everyone, even if it takes a little longer to find that special someone. All of the included stories were great, and they all stood out for me in one way or another. I highly recommend this anthology.

Reviewed by Charlotte Cowie
Posted June 20, 2010

SUMMARY

A Romance Anthology

Love's more comfortable the second time around. Just as wonderful with both feet on the ground . . .

Winds of Destiny - Sitting alone in a bar on her fortieth birthday wasn't something Katherine Armand had ever planned. With her marriage over, better to pay attention to her career. A big-shot developer was flying into her sleepy, coastal fishing village to discuss building a resort. Katherine was a top-notch negotiator for her law firm. Anderson was eager for the land. This should be as smooth as sailing gentle Gulf waters. Except Anderson sent his top man to broker the deal . . . and Katherine hadn't planned on having to bargain with Michael Whitfield, the man who had broken her heart fifteen years ago, ever again.

Lizzie's Laces - Two years ago, Lizzie Rawlston left her home in Boston for Liverpool, determined to start a new life and forget all about Tony Sinclair, the handsome packet captain who had once been her best friend-and with whom she had the misfortune of falling in love. However, Tony had made it clear he wanted only one thing in life: the sea. He didn't want to be bothered with a family, or worse, a wife. Now, with Lizzie's father sick, possibly dying, Tony has appeared to bring Lizzie home. As they race against time to get Lizzie home before her father passes away, Tony and Lizzie rediscover the magic they've always shared. But when a storm blows up, threatening the ship and all of their lives, Tony will have to confront his greatest fear. Can he love Lizzie and still love the sea? Does being the fastest also have to mean being alone?

The Spirit of Love - A tragic accident leaves Brynna and Travis devastated. Instead of turning to each other for comfort, they drift apart. However, they must complete one more assignment-set on an old ship, The Queen Mary, during Yule, one of the most haunted times in the Celtic calendar. It is believed souls of the dead prevail and anam cara-soul friends can visit. Will Travis and Brynna confront the spirit of love, allowing them a chance to heal and find their way back to each other?

The Garden Swing - Tess Murphy loves hearing stories from her elderly patient, Emmeline. When the woman dies, she leaves a dilapidated Victorian house that may be more trouble than it's worth. But when Tess tries out an old, unique swing in the garden, she hurtles back in time, and to the arms of the house's handsome owner, Hugh MacAllister. She faces the hardest choice of her life: to return to her own time, or to stay and become a part of history.

Only and Always You - Ten years ago, two hearts were broken. Will Viscount Seton and Lady Claire be able to set aside their hurt and betrayal to have a second chance at love with each other?

Special of the Day - Nick Delatorre's college sweetheart who dumped him years ago is back in town. Trouble is, she's opened a restaurant next door to his and is stealing all his customers. For Nick, revenge has never tasted sweeter, and now he's going to dish it back out-a la mode!

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Anthology

 

Second Time Around
by Cynthia Breeding, Karen Michelle Nutt, Gerri Bowen, Kristen Scott, Kimberly Ivey Wuttke

Highland Press
October 1, 2009
Available: October 20, 2009
ISBN #0982361572
EAN #9780982361573
210 pages
Trade Size
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Other Books by
Cynthia Breeding

Prelude to Camelot
Fate of Camelot
Night Prey
Camelot's Destiny


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