Rating: 4 black roses
I really liked this book. The characters were real; I felt like they could definitely be real people.
Dermot "Finn" Finnegan, the male lead, came across as a good guy who'd made a lot of foolish choices. He was a prankster and a petty thief as a kid, and when he was 19 he let the uncle who'd raised him scare him into running out on the girl he loved by saying he wasn't good enough for her. Finn then spent the next ten years proving his uncle right by continuing to be a thief, when he should have stayed and proved his uncle wrong. At the same time, I gathered that Uncle Max was not so much intending to scare Finn away, but scare him straight. After all, at their first meeting in ten years, the first words Max said to Finn were, "You're okay, then?" Oh, and throughout the book Finn was quite the smartass. I loved that too. I think every book should have a snarky smart-mouthed character (if written well, of course), because it makes the book more fun and enjoyable.
Contessa "Tessa" Scuderi, the lead female, was a likable character too. She seemed like a really strong person who was doing the best she could after her mom died. It was awesome that she stepped up to take care of her little sister when she could have just let her stay in foster care. I think Izzy knew Tessa was doing her best even while she was setting all kinds of rules. I agreed with the younger Scuderi in that Tessa shouldn't have put her life on hold, but at the same time I understand why she did. She was walking a tightrope and kept herself shut off from joy, from having a life outside of being a surrogate mom to her sister, because the social worker had made it clear that any perceived screw-up would cause her to lose custody of Izzy, and Tessa simply couldn't bear the thought. So she worked her butt off to make sure her sister had everything she needed and that was really well conveyed.
The relationship between Finn and Tessa was pretty authentic. You could believe that they really had spent the last ten years denying they were still in love with the other. Finn's returning to his hometown (he shoulda known he wouldn't be able to get in and get out without being noticed) forced them both to confront the fact that they hadn't really let go of their feelings, that they'd just buried them away where they wouldn't have to admit them. The emotional and sexual tension was there from the get-go and didn't let up. I could sympathize with the internal debates each was having about why they shouldn't be together, but I didn't agree with them, as they were obstacles that were easily overcome once they put their minds to it.
Overall this was a really fun read. I definitely recommend it if you're looking for a lighthearted romance with realistic characters and situations.
The Comeback Kiss can be purchased for just $2.99 at Amazon.com!