Author: Melody Carlson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 7, 2023
Who doesn't love a second chance?
When Mallory Farrell inherits her grandmother's run-down tourist shop in Portside, Oregon, she knows selling it is the only sensible thing to do. The place holds treasured memories for her, but it would take a fortune to restore it.
But when she learns that her childhood crush, Grayson Matthews, wants to buy the building to redevelop the funky town's business district into a soulless, cookie-cutter outdoor mall, Mallory digs in her heels. With a lot of hard work and a little bit of help, she is sure she can renovate the property herself.
Though Mallory makes incredible progress turning the store into an eclectic home decor shop, she's heartbroken when an exciting opportunity turns into a guaranteed nightmare. Should she surrender her dreams to Grayson's bulldozers? Or is there a future for both of them in this charming seaside town?
Reviewer: Connie Porter Saunders
Second Time Around is a realistic look at a couple of middle-aged people who experience a renewal of friendship after many years apart. Mallory Farrell returns to Portside, Oregon, to check out an unexpected inheritance, and she's in for many surprises. One is finding that her childhood crush still lives in Portside. Will this reunion be pleasant, or does Grayson Matthews have a hidden agenda?
I'm always eager to read a new Melody Carlson book, and I certainly wasn't disappointed with this one! I enjoyed the references to Mallory's talents as an interior designer and her efforts to save her late grandmother's tourist shop.
This is labeled a contemporary romance novel, but it's more about second chances, starting over, the challenges presented by the passing of time, and the realities of being middle-aged and single. The lovely seaside setting and likable townspeople made me want to return to Portside. The ending suggests this may be possible! Second Time Around is an enjoyable read, and I recommend it to fans of contemporary Christian fiction.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Monica Huyser
If you are like me, I imagine you are a fan of second chances. Second Time Around by Melody Carlson features that theme in a variety of ways. I enjoyed this contemporary romance featuring middle-aged women and men as the main characters.
Mallory Farrell felt a bit old and passed by after her daughter's wedding and her boyfriend walking away from her right before that occasion. However, after the wedding, she learned she had inherited her grandmother's run-down tourist shop in Portside, Oregon. When she heads to Portside to learn more about her inheritance, she renews her acquaintance with Grayson Matthews, the lifeguard she had a crush on many years ago. Things start out rocky as Grayson is a contractor who wants to buy the shop. Mallory doesn't want to sell, so there is a bit of conflict. Instead, she sees a whole new way of life for herself in Portside. Can she turn the shop into a new business and start over, featuring her interior design degree in a different way? Will Grayson stand in her way, or will she find a way to forge a new relationship with him?
I enjoyed Second Time Around. It is a bit of a slow-burn and character-driven novel. At the same time, I felt the book flowed right along, and I read it quickly within a couple of days. I liked Mallory and was pulling for her through all of her challenges. She is a strong character, and I liked how she didn't back down but kindly stuck to her boundaries several times when she needed to.
I got a little frustrated with the communication with Grayson and Mallory, but that did clear up. I also liked how Mallory turned to God in her challenges. Overall, I enjoyed the plot, the romance, and the faith that Mallory turned to.
I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing through Interviews and Reviews. All opinions within this review are my own.
Reviewer: Sandra Broome
Starting over can be hard, but sometimes it may be the very thing we've been missing in life. Melody Carlson shows us a perfect example of this in her entertaining book Second Time Around.
Mallory is an interior designer who feels like everyone gets a second chance but her. When she inherits her grandmother's small-town tourist shop, she goes to Portside with the intention of selling the property. After she arrives, she falls in love with the town just as she did when she was a child visiting her grandmother. Mallory begins to think maybe her grandmother's shop could become the second chance she has wanted.
The main characters in this story were very likable and interesting, and the secondary characters were entertaining and exactly like you would picture in a small town. The plot was well thought out and kept my interest throughout, with unexpected twists and turns all the way to the end of the story. Since the main character is an interior designer, we got to experience the world of construction and design with her, which made the story even more interesting and realistic. The story did include romance, but instead of being the main plot line, it was secondary. The main plot line centered around the town coming together to help one another, which was very refreshing.
I enjoyed this story very much, and I would definitely recommend the book.
This book was provided courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Tammy Lunsford
Romancing the Home! What a wonderful name for a home decorating store. Mallory is a very accomplished interior designer. She is happy, but she is also a little lonely. Her children are grown. Her daughter just recently got married. She is alone in a giant house and feels everyone has "moved on." She then learns that her grandmother gifted Mallory a tourist shop in Portside, Oregon. She has a lot of great memories with her grandmother and her quaint little shop.
She immediately learns that a local developer, Grayson Matthews, is interested in buying the property. She thinks about selling it, but her imagination for what she could do with this little corner of paradise turns into a dream which she wants to make a reality, hence a decorating store known as Romancing the Home.
There will be a lot of bumps along the road, especially regarding the apartment above the store she wants to renovate to live in. Mallory is a go-getter and full of life. She also does not give up easily, even when some people are not as welcoming as they should be, and things seem to literally be falling apart.
Mallory was an intriguing and interesting character to me. She had spirit and fight that I admired. She also leaned heavily on her faith and prayer when she felt defeated. Grayson really grew on me the more I read. The description of this seaside town was dreamy. I could almost feel the ocean breeze and smell the salty air.
Melody Carlson is a master at writing a story that will awaken all of your senses and emotions. This book was no exception. There were ups and downs, highs and lows. If you want to escape into a world of a good book that will satisfy you, this book will fit the bill.
Thank you to Revell Books for a courtesy copy of this book through Interviews and Reviews. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Reviewer: Conny Withay
“I think this shop deserves to go a second time around. Maybe I do too because I’m considering using this space myself,” Mallory explains in Melody Carson’s novel, Second Time Around.
This three-hundred-and-four-page paperback targets those who enjoy a clean contemporary romance set in a small coastal town. With no profanity or sexual scenes, topics of divorce, illness, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes a teaser for another novel by the writer, the author’s biography, and advertisements.
In this tale set mostly in fictitious Portside, Oregon, almost fifty-year-old Mallory decides to move away from her too-large home and her busy adult children when she inherits her grandmother’s dilapidated tourist shop on the coast. Being an interior decorator, she takes it to task to completely renovate the shop, even as it drains her finances and dampens her creativity. With the help of Grayson, a guy she had a crush on as a teen, and others from the small town, she wonders if it’s possible to get a second chance at happiness.
Since I live in Oregon, this story piqued my interest as it justly described our state’s idyllic seaside towns. Mallory’s character is realistic as she deals with the disappointments of life and the excitement and promise of starting over. I liked how the story promoted being true to yourself and focused on achieving one’s goals.
Those who do not like predictable romances of overcoming frustrations while accomplishing tasks may want to pass on this one. Some may find the protagonist always being catered to without giving back much to her newfound community. With prayer being mentioned sporadically, some may wish there were more trust in God and the eternal plan of salvation included.
I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.
If you like a romantic story that involves a determined woman reinventing herself in a quaint seaside town and a widow moving on, this read is the perfect book to cuddle up with during a stormy weekend.
I received a review copy of this book courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
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