It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time
In It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, author Kylie Scott tells the story of a May/December romance that begins when the heroine is just sixteen and she gets a crush on one of her father’s co-workers who is fifteen years her senior. Waiting for her father to finish up on a job site, Adele is introduced to Pete, who volunteers to take her to the beach and hang out while her father finishes work. This kicks off a friendship that flourishes over the course of two years until one fateful night when Adele works up the courage to confess to Pete that she’s started to fall for him, hoping he might have feelings for her, too. When her confession meets with rejection, Pete seeing her as only a kid instead of a young adult, Adele – rather unfortunately – tries to sway the blindsided Pete by flashing him to prove she is, in fact, a grown woman… which is when Adele’s dad walks in on them.
Seven years later, Adele returns home, having spent the intervening years living in Sydney with her mother. She hasn’t spoken to Pete since the day her father put him in the hospital with a broken nose, but she’s come back home to meet Shanti, her father’s fiancée, and to attend their wedding. With the family home overrun with family and guests, she finds herself bunking in with Pete, trying to literally stay out of his way and also figuratively dodge all their unresolved baggage.
Of all the tropes in Romancelandia (and beyond), second chances aren’t really my thing. This one might not technically qualify, as there was no actual romance to restart despite Adele’s feelings for Pete; but the reunion between these two offers them a second chance to connect. Will they be able to rekindle their friendship, one that meant so much to both of them, despite the difference in their ages? Will Pete open up and let Adele in?
Easily the best part of this read, beyond the sweetness of the flashbacks, is Adele. She is a straight-shooter, she’s self-aware, and equally (painfully) aware of Pete’s flaws and hang-ups. She’s funny, she doesn’t play games, she isn’t catty, she’s just honest and so very real. And thank goodness for her, because experiencing Pete was kind of a nightmare. He’s indecisive, unwilling to commit, goes back on his word, changes his mind twice over, flies into moody temper tantrums, expresses himself via grunts… it really made me wonder which of the two was supposed to be the more mature one in the relationship! Yes, we find out he is a product of his upbringing and a casualty of loss but still; his drama seems disproportionate to the truth of his past. It’s a lot to take, but poor Adele keeps putting up with it despite the fact she knows she deserves better, and in the face of all her good intentions to walk away. Don’t get me wrong, Pete isn’t abusive, he isn’t forceful, he has moments of incredible sweetness, and total alpha hotness, and consent is clearly asked for and stated when the situation calls for it; but the flip-flop is real, folks. In addition to the awesome Adele, we have a great supportive bestie (who happens to be a therapist, so there are some very nice mental health checks as far as Adele having someone caring about her emotional well-being), and Shanti, her father’s new wife, is a total delight.
I appreciated the way in which the backstory of this pairing is told and fleshed out by the use of flashbacks. They’re well done, but unfortunately, they highlight just how much of a dick Pete is in the present-day moments. I didn’t really believe his quick about-face desire to be in a relationship after all the time he spent fighting it; sure there are extenuating circumstances that encourage him to make a decision and stick with it, but even though I was glad for the resolution, I didn’t quite trust it. Kind of like how I didn’t quite trust the depth of the friendship from all those years ago. I liked it, but I can’t really see the appeal of hanging out with a sixteen year old when you’re thirty. He never made a move on her and was never inappropriate; in fact, he was always quite protective of her, but it’s still a little strange. But it’s a strange I’m willing to overlook.
The drama with Pete aside, I did enjoy this book. With the exception of their first time, all of the hot and heavy moments are… well. Hot. Adele is sassy and quick with the sharp-shooting banter, and I loved how unafraid she was to lay it all on the line, and call a spade a spade. I so appreciated the lack of stepmother drama and other than one or two brief moments Adele shuts down pronto, there isn’t any other woman drama, either. I might have wanted a little bit more explanation as to why this atypical friendship endured, specifically from Pete’s side of things, and definitely wanted a less abrupt shift into the happily ever after; maybe a switched PoV epilogue would have helped flesh some of that out because honestly this felt like a relationship built more on lust than anything else. With that said, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time is an enjoyable read, light despite some of the angst, and I will continue to read this author even if this one didn’t quite hit all the right notes for me.