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Audiobook Review: Second First Impressions

Published April 13th 2021

Author: Sally Thorne

Narrator: Jennifer Jill Araya

Audiobook Length: 10 hours 20 minutes

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women—under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager.

Dazzle (n): Brightness that blinds someone temporarily.

Position Vacant: Two ancient old women residing at Providence Retirement Villa seek male assistant for casual exploitation and good-natured humiliation. Duties include boutique shopping, fast-food fetching, and sincerely rendered flattery. Good looks a bonus—but we aren’t picky.

An advertisement has been placed (again!) by the wealthy and eccentric Parloni Sisters. The salary is generous and the employers are 90 years old, so how hard could the job be? Well, none have lasted longer than a week. Most boys leave in tears.

Ruthie Midona will work in Providence’s front office, and be at the Parloni’s beck and call, forever. That’s sort of her life plan. If Ruthie can run the place in her almost-retired bosses’ absence, with no hijinks/hiccups, she has a shot at becoming the new manager. She might also be able to defend her safe little world from Prescott Development, the new buyer of the prime site. Maybe after all that, she can find a cute guy to date. All she needs to do is stay serious—and that’s what she does best.

Until, one day, someone dazzling blows in to town.

Teddy Prescott devotes his life to sleeping, tattooing, and avoiding seriousness. When Teddy needs a place to crash, he makes a deal with his developer dad. Teddy can stay in one of Providence’s on-site maintenance cottages—right next door to an unimpressed Ruthie—but only if he works there and starts to grow up.

Ruthie knows how this sweetly selfish rich boy can earn his keep—and be out of her hair in under a week. After all, there is a position vacant…

Sally Thorne has been on my radar since The Hating Game, although I still need to read 99 Percent Mine. Second First Impressions seemed like a unique romance novel as it was set in a retirement home, a nice setting that typically is not featured. This story follows Ruthie Midona, who may be in her mid-twenties, but she has the soul of a woman in her 90s. She does not interact with the outside world and instead chooses to spend all her time with the residents at the retirement villa, Providence Luxury Retirement Villa, she manages. When Theodore Prescott enters as the new personal assistant to some residents, Ruthie’s world becomes more complicated.

The premise is a typical romcom with the introverted “frumpy” yet beautiful girl who needs to learn to have fun again and the more outgoing bad boy type, so this part was nothing special; however, I did think that Teddy and Ruthie were cute together. Ruthie herself is a goody-good old soul-type as the daughter of a preacher. The story goes into her backstory about how she came to live her current life. With Ruthie being more sheltered in her current life, it did come across that she only fell for Theo because he was something different. As Theodore has yet to settle down and likes to have fun, this is also come across that he fell for a “motherly” type woman. It just seemed that something was missing to make their potential relationship seem plausible.

The pacing of this story is slower with an enemy to lover’s vibe as Ruthie tries to get Theo to fail, then the two begin to get to know the other. The more the two spend time together, the more they acknowledge their attraction. There is a lot crammed into the ending and I wished that it were stretched out more as it felt rushed. As Teddy’s father, the owner of the community is planning on selling it, there is added tension. Overall, this was a cute premise, but it just fell a little flat for me.

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