Recommended Read, Review

Review: Handy for You by Adele Buck (2022)

All For You, Book #2

Review of All For You, Book #1

Heat Factor: Slow burn, medium heat

Character Chemistry: They kind of instantly connect, and then the connection weakens…and then it’s tight again. 

Plot: Rob is a single dad (to an adult daughter) who helps his newbie homeowner neighbor, Kari, with assorted household fixer-upper tasks until they’re getting fixed up themselves.

Overall: Cute story, tad slow in parts. Rob’s a little infuriating sometimes.

Talk about a book full of juicy middle life issues. 

At first I thought this book lacked meat—Rob is a handy neighbor and Kari is a new homeowner, and they spend a hefty amount of this story just chit-chatting, going to the home store, and painting walls. But then…

Then Kari finds out her niece is selling their family inheritance in Norway, and Rob finds out his daughter is making a massive life decision, and both are tossed into turmoil. PLUS, separately, they deal with firmly set relationship patterns that are unhealthy…societal roles that are hurtful…and somehow they have to sort through all of it in a way that is functional and healthy because they live next door to each other.

Both characters are very rich and vibrant—they have backstories and lives outside of the relationship that are represented in the book, which I found helped add to their maturity. People dating in their older thirties and up have established lives and a sense of comfort/confidence that is harder to capture when you’re also adding the thrill and excitement of a new romance, and by allowing Rob and Kari to really sit within their individual lives, it made them feel their age. On the downside, it did mean that sections of the book did slow down quite a bit. I found it to enrich the story without slowing down the tension too much.

I grew up in a family with some Scandinavian history, so I found Kari’s character to be incredibly well developed. The crafts, cuisine, design, and traits were dead on, and very fun. Having spent quite a bit of time in the area where the book is set, I got a kick out of the setting as well—the little details were dead on and clearly well-researched.

I do have to say that Rob was a little infuriating at times—he knows he’s impulsive and rushes into things, and the times he gets upset with Kari were like, scratch-my-eyeballs-out frustrating. The first time is allegedly because he’s hangry, but he’s almost 50? He should know this about himself by now. And to make him more aggravating, he pulls the “not all men” argument when Kari is discussing a really common and messed up situation at work (where all the off-books labor for fun and entertainment end up falling on women). Doubles down, and then gets mad at Kari for “making him the bad guy”. OOOOOoooooooo…my blood boiled. They sorted it out, but it was blatant enough that both incidents left a pretty bad taste in my mouth. On the other hand, he’s admittedly very inexperienced with adult relationships, and some of these fights are part of the deal with learning how to be with an adult woman in our society. So, I probably could have relaxed about it. I just really didn’t.

Regardless, reading a well-developed book with interesting characters having a sexy, middle-aged romance was a breath of fresh air and I really enjoyed it. Kari is a strong, smart, and emotional powerhouse of a character, and Rob is earnest, tender, and hard-working. It’s very, very sweet, and I do recommend it. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop

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