(ARC Review) This is part second chance romance, part marriage in crisis. I like the writing style and author’s voice, and I was really rooting for the couple but unfortunately this one just wasn’t a win for me.
We start 10 years after the original relationship ended, when Tia is serving Andrew divorce papers. They thought they were already divorced but it turns out the paperwork didn’t go through. Andrew immediately feels that old spark again and refuses to sign. He wants a second chance, but it seems like Tia has already moved on. He has to prove their relationship is worth another try and they can move on from the problems they had.
The second half of the book, they’ve already agreed to try again, but it continues to go round and round in circles about the same old relationship troubles.
I think part of my problem is we’re dropped right into their relationship problems without getting to know the characters or the good parts, so it felt more like watching a stranger couple argue in front of you (awkward) rather than an emotional story that really draws you in.
I have never read a hero who needs therapy more than Andrew. He’s more committed to his secrets than he is his relationship, and his deep-seated daddy issues continue to pop up, just about every other page. He’s the one who really wanted to try again and he’s the one who immediately runs again (and again and again.)
I did like Tia quite a bit and her willingness to put herself out there even though she could have had a comfortable, easy life without Andrew. She’s strong and self-sufficient, and I loved her parents and the Chinese representation.
Tia Wang’s Wedding Planning To-Do List:
1. Find the perfect dress
2. Win her future mother-in-law’s approval
3. Divorce her not-so-ex husband, Andrew Parker
When she fell in love and married her childhood best friend on a whim in Vegas, Tia innocently thought love conquered all. Turns out, that was a crushing lie. Her world shattered as she and Andrew were torn apart by secrets and mistakes.
Ten years later, Tia has left the pain behind and carved out a new life with Mr. Perfect. The only thing standing between her and happily ever after? A divorce from Andrew.
It should have been easy for Andrew to sign his name on the dotted line. Independent, prickly, and always in control, Andrew has done everything to escape his past. But seeing Tia on his doorstep after all these years? He can’t help wondering what might have been. Andrew has never forgotten Tia and vows to fight for their relationship this time around. If he has to hold those divorce papers hostage to get his second chance, he will.
Feelings resurface, stronger and more complex than ever. But Tia and Andrew have more than Mr. Perfect between them. Can they overcome past mistakes to forge a future together, or will new threats ruin their second chance at forever?
‘Give Love a Chai’ is a full-length contemporary romance, and can be read as a standalone. Book #2 in the Common Threads series, Seduction in the City World, Penny Reid Book Universe.
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Audiobook: Coming later this year!
I didn’t care what Andrew Parker thought.
Still, I put on some lip balm before I could think too much about why and opened the door. Andrew sat by the little island in his kitchen, hands gripping a beer.
I had never seen him drink alcohol before. Unlike pretty much everyone that I knew, he had been very intentional about not engaging in underage drinking. It made me sad to think about all of the changes that I missed, moments that I had expected to be part of if he hadn’t pushed me away.
Now, I was getting angry. I held on to that anger. Anger was easy. Anger had carried me through the first few months after he had betrayed me, especially when I was railing against the world in those awful days in the hospital.
Oblivious to my anger, he looked up. “You still smell like those fruity Lip Smackers you used to love, Ting.” His gray eyes roamed over me. A single dimple flashed at me, as his lips tugged to one side.
I couldn’t believe he still remembered my fondness for Lip Smackers. I had been using them since I first immigrated to the United States from China and discovered them in the aisle of some supermarket. I was the only person over the age of ten that still used them, but I was loyal to what I liked. Unlike Mr. Cool in front of me. “I don’t go by Ting anymore. It’s Tia now.”
“When did you decide that?” Andrew asked, unfurling himself to standing. His six feet two inches of muscles towered over me. The large kitchen suddenly felt small. Andrew the man had a presence that overwhelmed me in a way that Andrew the boy had never.
“Almost ten years ago when I needed a fresh start. I wanted a name that helped me to fit in,” I said, daring him to say anything.
His only response was the tightening of his shoulders. I couldn’t tell if he was reacting to my dig about a fresh start, or to me changing my name after years of him encouraging me to keep my given name. When we first met twenty years ago, we had bonded over not fitting in. As much as he told me “screw them” when our classmates made fun of my foreign-sounding name, my faint accent, or squinted their eyes while saying “konnichiwa” despite my protests that I was from China, I had cared too much. My name was the part of me that was the easiest to change.
“Okay, Tia,” he started, letting my name roll over his tongue, as if testing how it felt. “Why are you here?”
I looked into his face, so achingly familiar that I could have drawn his features from memory. I let myself feel the full weight of sadness, bitterness, and regret wash over me. Andrew Parker was my past, an anchor that I hadn’t even realized was holding me back. I needed to move forward now.
In a voice that sounded stronger than I felt, I said, “I want a divorce.”
About Nanxi Wen
Nanxi Wen thought she was going to write the greatest historical novel. Turns out, her characters decided that they want to be in the 21st century with modern plumbing, online shopping, and reality TV shows. Her first book comes out in February 2021 – Give Love a Chai.
She lives in New England with her husband and two clingy monkeys (aka toddlers). When she is not despairing over word count, she enjoys reading, snacking, drinking coffee, sitting by the fireplace, hanging out with friends (far apart and with masks) and daydreaming.
Find Nanxi Wen online
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