Title: Second First Impressions
Author: Sally Thorne
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication date: April 13th, 2021
Distraction (n): an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.
Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work—until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.
Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously—something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees—he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too.
Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another!) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.
Ruthie doesn’t count on the fact that in Teddy Prescott, the Biddies may have finally met their match. He’ll pick up Chanel gowns from the dry cleaner and cut Big Macs into bite-sized bits. He’ll do repairs around the property, make the residents laugh, and charm the entire villa. He might even remind Ruthie what it’s like to be young and fun again. But when she finds out Teddy’s father’s only fixing up the retirement home to sell it, putting everything she cares about in jeopardy, she’s left wondering if Teddy’s magic was all just a façade.
After reading The Hating Game, I was sold on Sally Thorne for life. Second First Impressions is quite different from her previous books, but still very good. This book is more on the sweet and swoony side, rather than the hot and heavy – which might be a welcome change for some readers!
The romance in this book can definitely be defined as a slow burn that you’re just breathlessly waiting for to be taken to the next level. There are some starts and stutters before roaring to life at the end. I loved Ruthie’s character the most, along with the Biddies and the turtles! The fact that Teddy became best buds with a turtle is just beautiful to me. Ruthie being written as a millennial who is more conservative with her attire and actions is a great change of pace. All women are valid, and I appreciate reading a wide array of personalities and preferences in romance.
I wasn’t the hugest fan of Teddy, to be honest. He really started off on the wrong foot with me based on his first interaction with Ruthie and just never seemed to make up for it. I personally think a better apology should’ve been written – but that’s just me. I couldn’t help holding it against the character throughout the book, even though he truly did redeem himself throughout it.
The ending left much to be desired for me, but I appreciated the growth Ruthie went through to get to that point. I’m very picky with romance novel endings, I only want to have it go one particular way – so I don’t hold it against books that don’t follow my preferred ending in terms of ratings. That would be silly!
I hope you enjoy Sally Thorne’s latest!
Happy reading, folks!