REVIEW: SECOND TIME SWEETER, the ninth Blessings Series Book, lives up to the adage “There is never a dull moment in Henry Adams”. The story centers around Homecoming Weekend, the redemption of one Malachi ‘Mal’ July, and a shocking assassination attempt that brings the FBI to town. It’s a lot going on. At one end of the Henry Adams spectrum, there is an unsavory stench of impending mayhem that puts the citizens of the town on alert. While at the opposite end of that same spectrum, prolific author Beverly Jenkins showers the reader with sweet sensations that come with second chances of love and hope. It is that distinct parallel that makes this book a stand out in the series.
Henry Adams is a special place, and it’s the eclectic group of citizens who call Henry Adams home that makes it so special. In this story, Mal July has returned to Henry Adams with his tail tucked between his legs. His journey of redemption is not going to be easy. To understand Mal’s fall from grace, I recommend reading CHASING DOWN A DREAM, the preceding novel. Some of the people (especially the young people) believe that to atone for his wrongs, Mal should paint Ms. Marie’s fence. If you have been following this series, then no explanation is necessary as to what that implies. We follow Mal as he struggles to regain a semblance of respect after he betrayed the town and the woman ‘who turns the world”, Bernadine Brown. Someone special steps up and offers Mal a second chance. No spoilers, but you will be delightfully surprised to discover who that person is. Another story arc follows Gary Clark, the manager of Clark’s grocery story as he comes to a point in his life where changes are in order. One of those changes involves pursuing his high school sweetheart, Nori, to see if they have a chance at a second chance to rekindle their high school romance. One of my favorite tropes is second chance love, and I love how it is developed in this story. On the other hand, the story opens on a sour note with a dangerous plot being hatched that involves murder, the FBI and its witness protection program. It’s a dark and tense scenario that delivers a jolt of intrigue to this story.
The citizens of Henry Adams are all present and accounted for. Back again is Colleen, Clark’s self-centered ex-wife; Tina, Bernadine’s bestie; and Ruth, Mal’s date to Rocky’s wedding. There is one scene with Ruth’s brother and Mal. Epic! There are some new characters who are introduced like Eleanor (Nori), Gary’s high school sweetheart, and FBI agent Kyle Duncan. Another memorable scene involves Gary, Colleen, and their daughters, Leah and Tiffany when they have their day in court. The entire series is populated with memorable characters and scenes.
SECOND TIME SWEETER is a compelling book that you will not want to put down. I highly recommend it. Beverly Jenkins has created a series of stories that get better and better with each installation. If you are not familiar with the denizens of Henry Adams, then I urge you to discover this dynamic series beginning with the first book, BRING ON THE BLESSINGS. Read them in order, and I truly believe that you will fall in love with the Henry Adams’ crew. You can thank me later.
1st September 2018 | firstname.lastname@example.org
SECOND TIME SWEETER - Beverly Jenkins
REVIEWER: Brenda Larnell | RATING: A+