Thanks to William Morrow for providing a review copy of Second First Impressions
Y’all should have heard the squealing when Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne arrived at my doorstep – I’m pretty sure I scared my neighbors. Sally Thorne is one of my favorite authors – she has a real talent for infusing emotion, quirkiness, and chemistry into every page of her books. The Hating Game is one of my comfort rereads, so naturally, my bar for Second First Impressions was set pretty high.
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.
I loved Ruthie – she was fun, passionate about the residents of the old folks home where she worked, and was just generally really relatable. At the beginning of the book she was hiding from the world at the retirement home she worked at – it had become her safe haven but had also sheltered her from truly experiencing the world. Cue Teddy, who seemed intent on intruding on and blowing up her perfect little life that she had built for herself.
As Ruthie and Teddy got to know each other, Ruthie really started to blossom – she tentatively started coming out of her shell and began letting some of her (very high) walls down. Ruthie and Teddy definitely had a slow burning romance, but holy was it worth the wait. Sally Thorne is a master of creating chemistry and romantic tension (and of writing charming banter), and she really delivered with Ruthie and Teddy. By the time they finally got together, their chemistry was off the charts and it was impossible not to root for them. Even before they got together, they were giving me butterflies in my stomach.
I also adored Melanie – she was vivacious and spunky and was a great friend to Ruthie. I loved how the two interacted: Melanie knew how hard to push Ruthie to get her out of her shell, and Ruthie was clearly willing to do anything for Melanie. I love a good female friendship, and these two definitely had a great one. Part of me hopes that Melanie will get her own spin off book – I want to read about her happily ever after.
Second First Impressions is like a hug from an old friend and I can already tell I’ll be rereading it soon. Fans of The Hating Game should run to go pick up a copy of Second First Impressions – while the stories of the two books are very different, they share a very similar cozy, romantic vibe. 5/5