AUTHOR:  Gail Ward Olmsted

GENRE:  Romance

RELEASE DATE:  February 5, 2018

Available @ AMAZON

REVIEWER:  Pistol Annie

(ARC provided by the author and Roane Publishing)



Jill Griffin & Ben Fein are meant to be together… said no one ever!

Jill has built a successful career writing romantic ballads for many of today’s top performers. Since the tragic end of her marriage a couple years back, the 40-something single mom has all but abandoned hope for a love story of her own. Ben is a brash, young boy-band singer seeking a solo career who hires Jill to write for him. The attraction between the two is red-hot and when Ben falls hard for Jill, he doesn’t care who knows it. Jill’s been burned before and wants to take things slow, keeping their relationship out of the glare of the media. After a gossip columnist exposes their affair, she has to decide if she is willing to risk everything on a future with Ben.

When a dark secret from Ben’s past makes headlines, Jill begins to wonder how well she really knows him. But as Ben climbs to the top of the pop charts, he’s determined to succeed…at convincing Jill to take a second chance on love.

Second Guessing is the story of Jill and Ben, who are so wrong for each other that they may actually be right!

This was my first book by this author.  There was a lot to like – a captivating storyline with an older woman/younger man trope.  I’m usually not a fan of more than a 10-year age difference, but the difference here has such a real feel to it and was so believable that I fell right into it without any trouble.  I loved the musical theme involved in bringing Ben and Jill together.  The contrast between her developing relationship with Ben and the one she shared with her deceased husband is so different – although Jill struggles with the age difference.  Ben is special ordered to Jill’s needs in this story that centers around loss, heartbreak, and new beginnings for love on the horizon.

Jill is the forty-two-year-old widow of a famous rock star, and she’s also a Grammy winning composer and a mother. Preparing for a memorial concert to honor his memory, she meets a young and upcoming solo artist.

Ben has just parted ways with his former boy band and on a path for stardom as solo artist.  He’s a really good guy with his feet planted solidly on the ground.  He’s definitely not your normal bad boy hot rocker.  When he meets Jill, he’s a goner – and that age difference is no roadblock for him.

What started off as a friendship, grew quickly into a much deeper connection that turned into a burning inferno.  Their relationship may have been considered imperfectly cast, but they were perfect for each other.

Jill’s college-aged daughter is gay and involved with Emily.  They are in and out of the picture quite a bit stirring up some dust here and there which adds another level to the drama level.  But most of the time, the relationship between mother and daughter is solid and loving.  The relationship added a nice addition to the overall theme.

The angst surrounding Ben’s “dark secret” seemed a little over-the-top and blown out of proportion in comparison to what it turned out to be.  I didn’t quite understand the reasoning behind hiding it from Jill or anyone else for that matter.  Ben was completely innocent and handled it maturely.

A ton of angsty ups/downs involving the extended family, drugs, marital problems, and some expected plagues that tend to follow celebrities are thrown into the mix as well.  A heavy dose of mental illness also comes into play surrounding so many of the characters that the situation quickly seems a bit too redundant and melodramatic.  There was a lot of abnormal, no one having escaped without heavy baggage attached to them.

Still, this book has a lot of curb appeal, but it doesn’t come without a few flaws.  Loose ends left untied, e.g., cosmetic surgery before the big concert planned by Jill, but at the end of the book, she’s still complaining about her aging skin, wrinkles, etc. — and the scheduled surgery that was once a priority was never mentioned again.  The writing is not bad — but a few too many editing issues should have been caught.  Needed one last line-by-line edit before hitting publish – a few too many misspelled words and use of wrong words, i.e. potter should be putter, etc. – simple and easy fixes.

Second Guessing is a good all-round tale that deserves a look-see.  It provided some laughter, along with the angst-overload, sewn up in an emotional, sweet and tender love story.  And a big plus came wrapped in a perfect Epilogue.  I just love a solid happily-ever-after, and this author completes the task well.


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