Summary (from the publisher):
Ruthie Midona has worked the front desk at the Providence Luxury Retirement Villa for six years, dedicating her entire adult life to caring for the Villa’s residents, maintaining the property (with an assist from DIY YouTube tutorials), and guarding the endangered tortoises that live in the Villa’s gardens. Somewhere along the way, she’s forgotten that she’s young and beautiful, and that there’s a world outside of work—until she meets the son of the property developer who just acquired the retirement center.
Teddy Prescott has spent the last few years partying, sleeping in late, tattooing himself when bored, and generally not taking life too seriously—something his father, who dreams of grooming Teddy into his successor, can’t understand. When Teddy needs a place to crash, his father seizes the chance to get him to grow up. He’ll let Teddy stay in one of the on-site cottages at the retirement home, but only if he works to earn his keep. Teddy agrees—he can change a few lightbulbs and clip some hedges, no sweat. But Ruthie has plans for Teddy too.
Her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents have just placed an ad (yet another!) seeking a new personal assistant to torment. The women are ninety-year-old, four-foot-tall menaces, and not one of their assistants has lasted a full week. Offering up Teddy seems like a surefire way to get rid of the tall, handsome, unnerving man who won’t stop getting under her skin.
Ruthie doesn’t count on the fact that in Teddy Prescott, the Biddies may have finally met their match. He’ll pick up Chanel gowns from the dry cleaner and cut Big Macs into bite-sized bits. He’ll do repairs around the property, make the residents laugh, and charm the entire villa. He might even remind Ruthie what it’s like to be young and fun again. But when she finds out Teddy’s father’s only fixing up the retirement home to sell it, putting everything she cares about in jeopardy, she’s left wondering if Teddy’s magic was all just a façade.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Sally Thorne is the author of one of the arguably most popular contemporary romances, The Hating Game. I remember seeing it in one of Sarah J. Maas’s email newsletters after she had LOVED it. I thus read it back in 2016, but don’t necessarily have strong memories, especially since I’ve developed into & grown as a contemporary romance reader since. I also wasn’t the biggest fan of her second book, 99 Percent Mine – I had trouble settling to the plot & dialogue – so I 100% admit that I was nervous going into Second First Impressions. I thought this book would be my make-or-break deal with Sally Thorne and I am so, SO happy to report that I not only LOVED Second First Impressions, but it is one of my favorite books of 2021!
Second First Impressions follows twenty-five year old, Ruthie, who is in charge of a retirement village for the old & wealthy where she’s worked at for the past 6 years while her boss is on vacation. Ruthie can’t imagine her life without Providence, since she doesn’t haven’t the best relationship with her reverend father & mother based on mistakes she made as a teenager. Aside from the residents, her only company is Mel, a temp who’s been hired to help out Ruthie with admin but is much more invested in getting Ruthie back in the dating world.
Providence just been sold to a real estate developer, and while Ruthie tries to figure out the developer’s plan for Providence, she is forced to deal with the owner’s rebel, tattoo artist of a son Teddy. After a not so great first impression, Teddy is hired to work for two of the village’s residents who are known for torturing the young men who care for them… but Teddy not only seems to charm them from the get-go, but Ruthie as well.
Everyone knows that I love a book with wit and humor, and Second First Impressions fits that bill & more. I loved the back-and-forth between Ruthie & Teddy, along with Mel and the Paloni sisters, Aggie and Renata. The book is very dialogue driven. We get to know both Ruthie and Teddy through their conversations together. Their relationship is the definition of slow burn romance. Yes, there were moments where I sat back and questioned why Ruthie & Teddy couldn’t just get together already, but at the same time, I swooned over their dialogue and flirting. This also wasn’t necessarily the most steamy book – there were really only two romance scenes on the closed door side, but I felt like it matched their personalities & the tone of the book so well. The two characters were just such cinnamon rolls in their own way and you better believe Teddy is on my list of fictional boyfriends. And yes, I did look up ‘Second First Impressions’ fan art to see if anyone tried to create Teddy and his many tattoos.
Second First Impressions was one of the books that I just genuinely loved every element. It is just so cozy and heartfelt, putting the biggest smile on my face from the humor and Teddy and Ruthie’s romance. The plot surrounding Providence (tortoises of course included) and Teddy’s family’s company was so well done. I didn’t see the twists & turns at all. I also really liked exploring Teddy and Ruthie’s relationships with their family. Renata & Aggie, two hugely wealthy sisters with a background in fashion, stole the show again and again. And I cannot leave out Mel, who often also stole the spotlight with her own one-liners, bickering with Teddy, and her quest to get Ruthie back in the dating world. Maybe we’ll get a Mel spin-off following the publication of her dating self-help book?
I haven’t done this in a while, but Second First Impressions is going to be one of those books I originally borrowed from the library but go out & buy, so I have a copy on my own shelf that I can revisit again & again. Second First Impressions is absolutely one of my favorite books of 2021 and my favorite book from Sally Thorne.
Have you read Second First Impressions? Have you read The Hating Game or 99 Percent Mine? Share in the comments!