As a teenager, Samantha Carlton used a career in modeling to break free from her painful childhood—walking away from her reckless twin sister, an alcoholic mother, and the boy she loved. Yet she never outran the guilt of abandoning her family. When the past shows up on her doorstep in the form of her late sister’s daughter, Sam opens her home and her heart to the girl she never knew existed. But it’s not so easy to face the man she left behind…
Sam had shattered Trevor Kincaid’s heart, and he’d sought comfort in her sister’s arms. But he’d pledged to shield his daughter, Grace, from the drama that followed the Carlton women. Now Grace has tracked down Sam, and Trevor is forced to deal with the one woman he wanted to forget.
History has a way of repeating itself, and the sparks between Sam and Trevor reignite an old flame. But as much as Sam wants a new future, is walking away again easier than risking her heart for a second chance at love?
Tell Me Again is a sweet, angsty, second-chance romance. Both Sam and Trevor are in their early 30s and are working on being responsible adults. Trevor's been taking care of his young daughter on his own for 13 years, and Sam is trying to make a new life for herself after living in the spotlight for years.
I did like a lot about Tell Me Again. This was my first Michelle Major book and she came with a lot of recommendations. It was a fast, breezy read, with enough angst to keep you hanging on. I did appreciate Sam's character--her guilt over her sister's death and their estrangement, her struggle to find a way to make things right, her instant fierce love for and protectiveness over her niece. I also feel I rarely read female characters with real female friends, and it was a relief to finally read some here. With the exception of interactions between Sam and Grace, the novel passes the Bechdel test only once or twice. I also thought the depiction of single parenthood, if a little simplistic and surface-y, to be positive and mostly realistic.
That said, the romance was a little lackluster to me. I'm not sure exactly what drew these characters together so many years ago (other than Trevor standing up for Sam once against some bullies) or what it is that makes them need each other so much now. There is a we-can-no-we-can't back-and-forth between Sam and Trevor that creates boredom rather than tension. (And Trevor himself is not the most compelling hero, he can't make up his mind and gets weirdly jealous and is just so wishy-washy, among other issues.)
Rather than the repetitive conversations and scenarios, I would rather know more about their backstory together, and even see flashbacks of their lives together and apart (scenes with Bryce in particular). The best second-chance romances are those that paint pictures of what the characters meant to each other so long ago and what each character went through to get them back together. We do get some of that here, but not enough.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
2 1/2 Stars
Published by Montlake Romance on October 18, 2016
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