Esmeralda and the Second-Hand Suitor (Snowbirds #2)


Hank has been married twice, divorced twice, and had another woman he’d wanted to marry, for a third attempt. He knows he’s too nice to his second wife, but he’s never had kids of his own, and his step-son grew up in his house. Having been downsized too early to retire and wasting two years looking for a new job, he decides an extended fishing trip to the Gulf Coast and his part time consulting is just fine for now. Approaching “40 Year Old Virgin” status, Esme has just weeks to fulfill an unfair and old-fashioned codicil in her late father’s will. If she fails, then her drunken cousin inherits her farm. A twice-divorced man is not what Emse’s Catholic upbringing says is appropriate, and Hank is done with manipulative women.


This delightful short story proves that not only is it possible to not have sex before marriage, but it’s also possible to find lasting love without it, even at 40 or 50 years old. In an interesting twist for modern times, Hank is the one hiding things, holding back until he is certain he won’t be used by Esme, though she certainly is hiding her need to be married. As with many contemporaries, the not talking things through or being honest, and miscommunications do drive decent pieces of this tale. The difference is that it sometimes does make sense why each of them would behave this way. Still, there are tropes some readers don’t like. Anyone wanting to know that love can happen at any age will adore their journey.


Julie York