Thirty seven year old Francie Davis, a recent widow and empty nester, gets to attend college at last. She’s sure her luck has changed when she also lands a job on campus that will pay her tuition, as administrative assistant to a history professor. When her handsome new boss yells at her on the first day of work, Francie worries she will never be good enough.
For Professor Alex Diederik, life is going downhill fast.
Not only is his bitter ex-wife trying to poison their only daughter against him, but now his one place of solace—his work environment—is being complicated by his attractive new administrative assistant. She drives home his feelings of failure as a husband and father, and Alex wonders if hiring her was the right thing to do.
Francie will have to put aside her hurt and insecurities or risk her dreams, while Alex must look outside himself if he’s to mend the breach with his daughter. And, perhaps, find someone who can help heal his pain.
I was excited to read a story where the characters are closer to my age. I liked this story, but it wasn't my favorite. I think this would work better as a full-length novel. Since Francie and Alex are older, their romance is more complex (his daughter and ex-wife and her son) and it was gradual at the beginning but then felt rushed in order to get to the happy ending.
Having said that, this really is a great addition to this series! I didn't think I got a good feel for Francie in the last book and the impression I got was that she was pretty uptight so I honestly wasn't sure if I would like her or not. I enjoyed reading her back story and finding out how she got where she is. Her husband has died and her son, Rafe, is going away to Harvard. She decides it's time to attend her local college but money is tight so she's also going to work on campus. She's working as an administrative assistant for two professors and it's not easy. They're both attracted to her and one of them flirts with her and makes her uncomfortable while the other one yelled at her on her first day and keeps his distance.
The professor who keeps his distance is Alex. He has a lot to deal with between his daughter and ex-wife and doesn't feel like he has the time to train a new assistant. He feels bad for the way he treated her on the first day so decides he'll make it up to her somehow.
Francie meets a student named Rose (you can read about their first meeting in the excerpt below) and they become friends. We know that Rose is actually Sam, Alex's daughter, but Francie doesn't know that. Francie offers to teach her how to preserve fruit and bake bread so Sam starts going to Francie's house and helps fill the hole left by her son, Rafe.
This is a great story about second chances, of course, but also hope, healing and finding somewhere to belong. It turns out that I loved Francie and am glad I got to learn more about her! I'm sad that there's only one more book in this series because it's been so much fun to read! Next up: Immersed, by Jennifer Griffith.
My Rating=4 Stars
*I received a copy from the tour host for review. My opinion is 100% my own.*
“Are you for real?”
“I’m not sure what you mean,” Francie said, trying not to be offended. She was used to being complimented on her cooking. Even Greg hadn't been able to find anything wrong with that.
The girl pointed at the sandwich Francie had pulled from the plastic wrapping. “You’re really bringing food from home?”
“I don’t have money for eating out.” Francie hated the flush she could feel creeping up her neck.
“What, you spend all your money on your clothes?”
Francie glanced down at the suit she had bought for her first day. It was only the second time she had worn it. She decided to address the girl's remark the same way she had when Rafe used to get snarky with her.
“I like you.” Francie picked up half of the sandwich. “You remind me of when I was young and rude. What’s your name?” She took a bite of her lunch.
The girl blinked but then giggled. “All right. I deserved that.” She reached out her hand in a very formal gesture. “You can call me Rose.”
Donna K. Weaver has always loved reading and creating stories, thus she’s been ever entertained. An avid cruiser, she’s sailed the Pacific five times. Wife-mother-grandmother-Army veteran-karate black belt-Harry Potter nerd.
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