The Second Chance Shoe Shop by Marcie Steele
Riley Flynn is the manager of a failing shoe shop whose owners are out of touch with the type of stock the modern buyer wants. Riley is being asked to do the impossible; work with what she has and make a profit. So it’s a good job she’s got such a great group of friends to help her in this impossible task. But each of them has problems with their lives that they need to resolve. Will a second chance of romance work for all them?
When I found out that The Second Chance Shoe Shop was coming out, my curiosity was piqued, given that the author was Marcie Steele aka crime writer Mel Sherratt. Could she be so versatile?
The answer is yes, because her strength is being able to write about ordinary people using spot-on dialogue and interactions that make you feel their hurt, frustration and joy (writers of any genre take note of how the author does this so successfully). So be prepared to laugh, get your hanky out and nod knowingly as the events unfold.
The book is full of romance archetypes. Riley has been badly let down, and finds romance when she isn’t looking for it. Sadie’s husband, Ross, has died leaving her with a delightful daughter, who dotes on their very helpful male neighbour, the sort of caring guy a girl could fall for. But this is exactly what a romance novel is all about and the author adds some nice little tweaks here and there to the typical formula.
There are also classic bad guys like the vengeful ex-girlfriend who turns into a trolling fiend, the pest of an ex and very married boyfriend and the uncompromising and unfair shop owner. But they are written with such relish you want to wade in and deal with them.
Marcie packs an enormous amount of story in a relatively slim novel and in a setting that is a small town with the feel of everyone running the risk of knowing everyone else.
What I particularly liked was the close and supportive network of friends, and that the guys were very much a part of this group. This sentiment also goes for the inclusion of a male character (shoe shop assistant Dan) who was someone seeking love in his own right rather than just working as a foil for the main female character. You want to laugh at his disastrous dates, but at the same time feel sorry for him.
I am not someone who reads romantic fiction as a rule, but when I had the chance to read The Second Chance Shoe Shop I was in need of an emotional pick-me-up.
It certainly did that.
The Second Chance Shoe Shop was courtesy of Bookouture via NetGalley