BOOK REVIEW (58): Flirting with Forty

Flirting with Forty
About a month ago my sister and I were having a chat about our book-related romantic preferences. I brought up a book I happened to be considering in where the heroine is more than a decade younger than the hero. I also shared how I watched the author talk about her preference for an older man-younger woman tale, and how she doesn’t care about the negative reviews targeting the large age-gap with her couple.
To my sister I mentioned how weird it was that that happened to bug me when I didn’t have as much a problem with an older woman-younger man situation.

That probably says something about me.

However I wouldn’t drop a book if the male MC had a romance with a younger woman. In fact so long as both partners are legal adults and consenting to the relationship, I could care two hoots about who is getting with whom. Instead as usual I’ll notice and be less forgiving about glaring conflict or characterization problems, etc.
It’s hardly a problem if the 40-y/o hero is dating a 24 y/o. BUT say that 40-y/o MC was being a complete utter jackarse for no plausible reason… Now I’m dealing with the more viable issue of an unlikable character.
So going into Jane Porter’s Flirting with Forty, I wasn’t thrown by the romance between heroine Jackie and her 10-years-her-junior surf instructor, Kai of Hawaii.
I liked Kai.

I didn’t like how Kai loved to call Jackie “girl”. 

Really age-aside I think it’s a creepy term regardless. Also rude when you could use the person’s name – tbh the first few times he said it I thought he might have forgotten Jackie’s name. And I was like, ‘oh gee, look at the irony of all this, that poor woman keeps coming back to Hawaii, angering her friends and family by spending her money to keep going back to this mystical beach paradise where everyone’s young, carefree and happy AND the guy she has a thing for doesn’t even remember her name’.
That wasn’t the case. Though I would have totally accepted that or the fact that Kai thought it was appropriate to call her by the not-so endearing pet name and Jackie let him get away with it.


Come on, girrrrrrrrrrrl.
So Jackie’s friends don’t approve of her new passion for Hawaii (and the hot surf instructor who calls the islands his home), but girl power wins out predictably and the truth comes out with most of the other women: everyone seems to be in a rut with their families, careers, etc. Everything is stable, but they envy Jackie her freedom as a divorcee. (And no, I’m not saying this book promotes divorce. It doesn’t.)
That being said this book bordered on depressing sometimes. Really.
I wanted to feel bad for Jackie, and I did, but that sympathy turned to pity and then finally it turned to irritation. Because this story is written in 1st person, it was annoying to read Jackie’s self-doubts, her internal commentary on her friends’ behaviours and reactions, and especially her preoccupation – though it was really more of an obsession by the end of the book – with her age.
It was every little frickin thing with her. She wanted a fulfilling job where she got to choose her clients (not everyone gets that luxury to find a way to pay their bills). And how she wanted so bad to be in her 20s and young and sexy and attractive to Kai, and Kai, bless him, never fed her preoccupation/obsession. He’d just stay mellow and she’d have no soundboard to stage her pity party on.
By the halfway mark in the story the one time I could actually stand Jackie’s complaining was whenever her dumbass of an ex-husband popped his head in. (That jerk deserved more than her internal commentary, he deserved a bunch of tar and feathers to be poured over his head in public).
Still I was happy with the ending. It sounded like Jackie would be complaining a lot less in the future, and that she has finally found what she’s been wanting: as close to a fairy tale HEA as possible with her romantic life but also her professional life.
My verdict:

(3 stars)

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