Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Leaving Normal by Stef Ann Holm

Shake it up a little!

At long last Natalie Goodwin's life is running just the way she wants it. Her new florist shop is all set for a grand opening, and her daughter is enjoying her first semester in college. The house is clean, the bills are paid and cooking dinner every night is now an option. Natalie admits she's just a teeny bit lonely, but recent dating experiences have left her convinced that Mr. Right does not live in Boise, Idaho.

But life has a big surprise for Natalie and he lives right across the street! Never in her wildest dreams did she think she could fall for a man nine years her junior, but then she has never met a man like firefighter Tony Cruz. He turns her well-ordered life upside down, and pretty soon things go from simmering to scalding. Just when the sparks begin to turn into a three-alarm blaze Natalie is caught unawares again -- Tony wants her and a child of his own.

A baby? At forty-three? Natalie is definitely all shook up.

At 43 Natalie is two years divorced, opening her very own business, and has sent her only child away to college. Life is good, and she is determined to enjoy it. Even if it is a bit lonely.
Tony at age 34 is two years married, with a young step daughter. He has been a firefighter for 8 years and loves it. He's been feeling a rift with his wife for sometime now and soon has to come to terms with that fact that his wife has been cheating on him and is leaving him. Taking away the child he's started to think of as his own.
Natalie and Tony at first glance seem totally different, age wise and what they want. Natalie is not only done having a family because of her age but also because she's never been able to conceive again. And if there is one thing Tony longs for it's a child of his own. But when Natalie offers an ear and friendship when Tony needs it most they connect, and after time things turn to more. But when Natalie lays it all out for Tony he decides to take his chances and just see where it all leads. Sparks fly in the bed room and emotions get confusing. Where will their journey take them?

I really enjoyed this book. Definitely a different pace than what I usually read but very good.
I love that there is an age thing but that it is not the only difficulty or even the biggest one that the couple have to overcome.
Tony is great, he knows what he wants and he also knows what the reality is. But that doesn't make him lose hope and determined to find a way to make it work.
Natalie is strong and independent and a bit scared. With good reason, it's taken her awhile to get to where she is independently and at her age it is a scary thing to fall for a man so much younger, who wants things she seems unable to give.
This is not a fluff read, nor is it a Chicky read. Neither is it a typical romance. It's real, real life. It shows that life isn't always easy, it'll hurt and it'll take you places you never expected. But even when we think most things are coming to and end for us more doors start to appear.
Pick up this book and enjoy. This is a new author for me, but you will definitely hear more about her cause she's just been moved up on my author list.

Grade- B