Top positive review
May-December romance trope hits the right (hot consent) spot
10 August 2018
‘It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time’ is the new contemporary stand-alone romance by Australian author Kylie Scott.
Ok. So. Remembering that one’s romantic trope preference should never be shamed – no matter how niche! (hey, if 'The Shape of Water' can win an Oscar we can all start respecting individual romance hot-spots, no matter how fishy) I am fully willing to confess that I love and actively seek out May-December relationship stories, in which there's a big age gap between the partners. Specifically, I like older-male and younger-female romances of this trope.
I don’t know why. Mine is not to question, but to read and swoon. But I definitely think that if I were to interrogate, it probably has links back to how much paranormal romance ushered me into the romance genre overall – Stephenie Meyer’s 'Twilight' was really the first romance series I fell head-over-heels for, and it led me to Charlaine Harris’s 'Sookie Stackhouse: Southern Vampire' and Patricia Briggs’ 'Mercy Thompson' series – all of which feature supernatural immortal or very much older heroes, falling for human (regularly-aged) women. I mean; Edward Cullen looks 17-years-old but is actually 107-years-old. And if we go one further, I guess the archetype for this trope is a little ‘Beauty and the Beast’, which is possibly my favourite Disney movie of all time (animated, not Emma Watson warbling)... and I guess if we're drawing parallels between men becoming grumpier, hairier, reclusive beasts as they age - then the tropes line up? Kinda?
In any case; May-December romances are my jam, and I’ve found some really great ones – like in all-time favourite historical-romance, 'The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever' by Julia Quinn which features a heroine in love with her best friend’s older brother, whom she has loved for most of her young life. I have also found some questionable stories, that I have still loved because I CAN’T HELP IT – like; 'The Surprise of his Life' by Karen Keast, which is about a young woman in love with her father’s best friend and business partner, she confesses her adoration and is surprised to find it reciprocated.
That last one is actually why I had an inkling that Kylie Scott’s latest stand-alone, May-December romance about a young woman who has been in love with her father’s employee-turned-friend-now-business-partner would be right up my alley. And I was not disappointed.
Adele (character named for one of my best friends, true story!) would visit her father in Queensland for six weeks of every year as a teen, since her parents’ divorce. Her father’s employee from the building business he runs was Pete, who’d hang out with young Adele – at first under the guise of scoring points and keeping barriers between him and the women he was casually dating (a kind of; ‘look, I’m such a nice guy minding the boss’ daughter, but also that means we shouldn’t do anything in front of her and OH, look at the time – isn’t it past when I should be ghosting you?’ type thing). But Pete and Adele ended up having a very buddy friendship, which inadvertently (on Pete’s behalf) led to Adele having a HUGE crush on him and telling him in the worst way possible at her 18th birthday party.
Fast-forward seven years and 25-year-old Adele is back in town for the first time since that terrible night, for her father’s wedding. She is begrudgingly staying with Pete on a purely platonic level because her father’s house is in full wedding-prep and storage mode … but old feelings resurface, and now that she’s of an age Pete is clearly in the hot-seat with admitting that he and Adele might have something.
I loved this book so much. I was 1000% right that it would be up my alley – and then some. This is Kylie Scott at her hottest, steamiest best – and it’s always a good sign when I finish a book, wishing there was another 100 or so pages. And hey, *maybe* this story could lend itself to a sequel? I’d definitely be interested to see what happened in the second-half of this evolving relationship, that’s for sure …
I maybe have a little qualm that it’s never precisely explained why Pete hung out with Adele so much as a teen, that they really did become best friends. It’s sort of explained as I mentioned, that he was using her to score points with the women he was seeing, but also as a barrier against anything more serious happening with them (he’d kind of take Adele on the ‘last dates’ with these women, so that it would remain purely platonic and hands-off so as to ease them into his dumping them).
I was waiting – horribly – for a moment when Pete admitted to 25-year-old Adele that he had totally fallen for her at age 18 (or – ick! – her17-year-old self back, in the day) but I shouldn’t have worried. This is Kylie Scott and she knows her stuff around consent, and hot consent especially – not to mention power dynamics in romantic relationships. This moment NEVER comes, because Pete truly didn’t feel anything sexual or romantic towards Adele when she was a teenager. This part of their relationship totally evolves in the here and now, when she is of-age and has agency and you can feel the power dynamic has balanced between them. AMEN!
This book was hot, hot, hot and I loved every second of it. Brava, Kylie Scott – you have reinforced why this trope works for me, and why I still actively seek it out!