by Shirley Goldberg
GENRE: Romantic Women’s Fiction
Sunny Chanel’s marriage is circling the drain when her husband marks his colonoscopy on the calendar and ignores their anniversary. With divorce papers instead of roses on the horizon, she says “au revoir” Paris and croissants, and “hello” cheap New Haven apartment and ramen noodles.
With the encouragement of her friends, Sunny jumps into online dating, twenty-three years and twenty pounds after her last date. To her surprise she discovers dating might require a helmet, and occasionally armor to protect her heart, but after years of being ignored, her adventurous side craves fun and conversation. She’s middle-aged not dead. Then suddenly, on the way to reinventing herself, life takes a left turn when the one man she can’t forget calls with an unexpected request.
“Last night was number nine,” I said, en route to a job interview. I shared recent experiences with my best friend Isabel while she kept me company on the phone. School was out, and I’d caught her prepping in her classroom.
“You’ve reduced your meets to numbers?”
“What’s the point in names? I’m not seeing any of these guys again, and you just get confused.” I pulled into the Waffle Cone parking lot and unhooked my seat belt.
“True. But you’re turning into a cynic.”
“As soon as I find my someone special, I’ll tell you his name.”
“Sounds good. So what about your number nine?”
“We traded tales from the trenches and he—”
“Trenches? What trenches?”
“Dating trenches, what other kinds of trenches do you think? He met eight women, all in one day. In a coffee shop in Hartford. Two coffee shops. Back to back appointments.”
“You are joking.”
“He ran from one coffee shop to the other. Had it all timed—half an hour in one coffee shop, and then he’d run a block to the second, and so forth.”
“People do these things?” Isabel asked.
“Oh, lots of weird behavior. I thought it was bold. In fact, I can’t believe what some guys tell me. And do. Like this guy––”
“Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”
“This other guy has no boundaries and he––”
She hung up.
Oh well. I slid out of the car. Isabel didn’t have a clue about my secret online dating life.
I will have to admit that it took me a long time to get into this book. In fact, I almost put it down and didn’t finish it. I was at the 44% mark in my Kindle and said to myself, I need to eat dinner and then pick the kid up from football practice. I try it again. I’m soooo glad that I did. Look I’m 53 years old and I’m still married. True, I married late in life but still married. I can’t even imagine having to start over from a failed marriage or even being widowed. Ms. Goldberg gets it. Sunny didn’t get it at first. But she finally got there. For this reader, it just took me a little longer to get it.
I loved Sunny in the end. I loved that she is a teacher and actually loves her job. I loved how she showed Mark that second chances can be given and that you can learn from your mistakes. My heart broke for her a bit with Noah. I understood where he was actually coming from actually. Sad, I know but I did. Ms. Goldberg lets Noah and Sunny communicate with each other about themselves and their exes which is healthy but then again, maybe not. Their relationship is fun, sad, and beautiful all at the same time.
I won’t let you know the twist in the book but I LOVED it. I never saw it coming but I should have. Ms. Goldberg gives me bread crumbs but I never saw them. I loved how Sunny ended up in the end. With all her online dating experience, good and horrible, I’m glad who she ended up with. Brought a huge smile to this reader’s face. I would love a follow-up but then I’m greedy like that. Ms. Goldberg gives you a humorous side to starting over again but also brings some of the pitfalls. Divorce settlements, finding friends again but most importantly, yourself. Sunny needed to figure that out before she could have a real relationship with a man.
Again, I’m glad that I stuck it out with Sunny and her life. Thinking back on why it took me so long to get into the book was my impatience. Like Sunny. Picking yourself back and hoping for a miracle would come soon. Nope, that’s not how life works. You have to want it, work for it, and then work to keep it. We all could learn from Sunny and her adventures of starting over. I did.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Shirley Goldberg is a writer, novelist, and former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. She writes about men and women of a certain age starting over. Her website http://midagedating.com offers a humorous look into dating in midlife, and her friends like to guess which stories are true.
Middle Ageish is her first book in the series Starting Over. Her character believes you should never leave home without your sense of humor and Shirley agrees.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Shirley Goldberg will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.