by Penelope Ward

From start to finish I don’t think I can pinpoint just what a mix of emotions this book brought out in me. My mood switched from chapter to chapter and I think that as the author allowed the characters to grow and develop my attitude changed, in the end though it was that mix that won me over.

Childhood friends, Amber, Rory and Channing had spent the best part of their lives together, from elementary school they were as thick as thieves but time and tide waits for no man and despite promises made and feelings tempered, they remained friends right up until the time, everything changed and it wasn’t just the goalpost that had shifted…the whole game had changed.

His best friends, had become more while he was at college and he now faced the fact that the girl he had wanted for himself was no longer just his friend, she was Rory’s girlfriend. I must say that at this point I didn’t have an exceptionally high opinion of Rory.

Of course, they both move on and a lot can happen over the course of almost a decade, relationships come and go, but heartache takes a while to get over and Amber is in that place…finding her feet and her heart again after her relationship has ended. Channing, well let’s just say that the grass hasn’t exactly grown under his feet, he’s been a busy guy but now that he is back in town for a short stay he calls on his friend for a place to bed down.

For me, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this pair had unfinished business, I got the impression that they both had settled, Amber for Rory when she really wanted Channing and Channing for anyone with a pulse because he couldn’t have Amber.  

Would this prove to be their moment? Or would fate play another hand in keeping them apart?

Once the penny drops and they both realise that they have choices to make, I think I began to see the story for what it was, a second bite at the cherry romance, an opportunity for them both to have the relationship that they had missed out on.

But can they really leave that friend zone behind them or will the complications of real life get in their way again. They both have secrets to share but neither seemed particularly keen on being the one to open up first.

Once the paced picked up and the two of them were in full flow, I found that my attitude toward the book changed completely. I felt engaged with who they were now and the situation they were in. But Ms Ward had one more bombshell to drop and when Amber’s ex comes back I had no idea how to feel,  I felt completely torn.

I liked that the book was different, that it was a challenge and that the author tested me, I thought she gave me characters that would both wind me up and win me over and that is far from easy.

Amber and Channing were a  couple that were a sum of all the parts that were thrown at them, they worked with what they had and that worked for them. I liked that they had to try, that it wasn’t easy and that it wasn’t instant…life isn’t like that and this pair proved that good things come to you if you’re prepared to not only wait but work at it.

Tinged with a little sadness, I finished this knowing that I had read a great story. A thought provoking read that brought a lot to the table.

As you would expect from Penelope Ward, the story was well written, it was engaging and it was thoughtful, not your run of the mill romance.

Topic: GENTLEMAN NINE by Penelope Ward

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