Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: His Ordinary Life

His Ordinary Life
Linda Winfree
Contemporary Romance
Hearts of the South/Book 2
Samhain/September 2007

Reunited by their teenage son’s possible involvement in a murder…old passions and new needs are destined to explode.

Del Calvert has spent his life in quiet desperation, trying to meet everyone’s expectations and feeling like he never quite measured up. From his teens, Barb was everything he wanted and needed, but knowing he wasn’t enough for her drove him out of the marriage.

Barbara Calvert is afraid to need anyone—especially the soon-to-be ex-husband she still loves. She’s reluctant to fall under his seductive spell of love and security once more.

But when their son’s secrets threaten his life, everything changes. Del must help his son as unseen and threatening forces move ever closer, putting the entire family at risk. And along the way, he hopes to convince Barbara to give him one more chance to win back the wonderful, ordinary life he didn’t appreciate until it was gone.

Second chance romances are not easy to pull off. The author must show why the couple broke up in the first place and why they should get back together. Sometimes the reason(s) for the breakup is the annoying "big misunderstanding" that could have been easily fixed if they had just talked. Unfortunately that was the case here. The good news is that it didn't completely overshadow my enjoyment of the romance.

Del is pulled back to his hometown and his family when his teenage son starts getting into trouble. His soon-to-be ex-wife isn't sure how she feels about Del sticking around longer than a weekend. Del's not exactly sure either. He wants his family back but doesn't know how to fix the rift between him and his wife. He doesn't think she wants him anymore but he's willing to try to make things right. Del really was a good guy but he so desperately needed to ask questions rather than assuming he knew what his wife was thinking.

Barbara doesn't want to rely on Del but when her sixteen year old son sneaks out of the house in the middle of the night, she doesn't feel like she has a choice. When Del decides to stay a few nights, Barbara has mixed feelings about having him back in the house. Barbara still has strong feelings for Del, she still loves him but his leaving hurt her and she's not sure if she's ready to take a chance at being hurt again. Barbara may have said the wrong thing to Del and given him the wrong impression but he's the one that walked out. I liked that Barbara doesn't sit around and feel sorry for herself but instead focuses on her kids and her work.

Del and Barbara are not the only ones who have problems to work through. Their three kids are affected by the separation and Del moving back in, if only temporarily. Winfree does well showing how the kids' react differently to their parents rocky relationship. These kids mean the world to their parents and the fact that they are being hurt by what their parents are doing is obvious and really has a profound affect on Del and Barbara. I liked that Winfree doesn't sugar coat the kids' reactions but makes them a very real part of these young characters.

This does take place in a small town and as such has that small town "everyone knows everyone else" feel to it. Which I liked. It also had a close family feeling with Del's brother and sister trying to help Del and Barbara however they could. Del's brother Tick is an interesting character who has this feeling of sadness surrounding him. I'm looking forward to reading his story.

There is a suspense sub-plot connecting Del and Barb's son with a murder. It wasn't a strong part of the book, more of a reason to bring the family together. I did like the overall story but found the misunderstanding between Del and Barbara annoyingly juvenile. It was good to see both take responsibility for their problems, if they'd only done it sooner and then could focus on their children.

The secondary characters who populate the small Georgia town will bring me back for more from Ms. Winfree.

Rating: B-


  1. Okay, misunderstanding -- she said the wrong thing and gave the wrong "impression," and he walked out. How wrong of a thing or an impression did she give in order to make him walk out on his wife and three chrildren? I would like to know that.

    It sounds good though, particularly since the kids are incorporated as part of the conflict and resolution.

  2. See the problem with misunderstanding is that it almost means lack of communication. And those are frustrating, because just talking would solve it :(

  3. Hils ~ He thought she blamed him for not being able to go to college as planned. She got pregnant when she was 18. He moved to Atlants for a job promotion, she thought he was gone for good & filed for divorce.

    Nath ~ they took it so far w/o really talking about their problems. Frustrating.