Forty-nine-year-old Margot Hughes has lived and breathed theater for the past twenty-five years. After a devastating breakup with her playwright fiancé, she wants nothing to do with the industry. She has sworn off New York, theater, actors—all of it. She returns to her hometown on California’s central coast and takes a job in real estate, where she manages significant investment properties. But Margot’s suddenly thrown back into the theater world when Sally, her friend and boss, who had been restoring and funding Cambria’s historic theater, has a heart attack. Before she knows it, Margot is tapped to take over the troubled summer production of Barefoot in the Park.
But the play is no walk in the park—the leads and director have all quit, and Margot struggles to find new actors…until Max Russo arrives. Forty-five-year-old Max is a former soap opera star turned rugged cowboy on TV’s most popular western series. Max has a huge following and is the perfect hero to step up and save the play, provided Margot stars opposite him. Although adamant she would never return to theater, Margot enjoys the long hours of rehearsal with a professional like Max, who is charming, witty, and passionate. But when the curtains close, can Margot allow herself to fall for Max when he represents everything she left behind?
I have really enjoyed the three books in this new trilogy by Jane Porter. Mature couples bring with them a multitude of life experience - and baggage - adding texture and interest to both their individual characters as well as new relationships.
Of the three couples, all of whom I liked, Margot and Max are my favorite. There's so much to cheer for with these two. I liked them as people, related to their life experiences, especially Margot's. Approaching her 50th birthday, she's faced with a number of realizations: unfulfilled dreams, paths not taken, but also new opportunities on the horizon. If she's courageous enough to take the first step. Her journey with Max is a reminder that sometimes second acts can be the best acts. That's a theme that flows through all three books in this series and one Porter navigates well.
As a theater geek, I loved all the intricate details of the community theater and the fact that Max's character is a working - and successful - actor. Just like Margot, I couldn't help but fall for Max. I wanted to hug the little boy in him for all he had endured, climb the rugged, sexy man he had become, and reassure him that he wasn't broken but, in fact, has overflowing amounts of love and commitment for the right person. I was cheering him on the entire way.
The secondary cast is well drawn, bringing the right amount of support, conflict, and texture to the story without detracting from the main couple. Porter blends them all together seamlessly into an intriguing, empowering, emotionally satisfying story of growth, forgiveness, understanding, new beginnings, and love.
I don't know if Porter plans to continue these stories featuring couples in their 40's and 50's but if she does I will definitely be here for them. They are an important reminder that love can find us at any age and new beginnings are always just around the corner.
Have you read any Jane Porter books?
Do you enjoy older couples in the romances you read?
Have you experienced a second act, either in your professional life or in romance?
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