Review: Not What I Expected by Jewel E. Ann

☆☆➹⁀☆ 5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

Are humans meant to mate for life?

After four kids and an unfortunate but fateful end to her twenty-two-year marriage, Elsie Smith meets the new guy in town.

Kael Hendricks is … a little younger, a lot sexy, and too confident for his own good. He also doesn’t believe in marriage and all that goes with it.

And …

He’s just opened a new business that threatens the livelihood of Elsie’s family’s store—just in time for the holidays.

The problem?

There’s an undeniable attraction that leads to out of control situations, a loss of inhibitions, and a lot of small town gossip.

As Elsie tries to redefine herself and convince her family she isn’t having a midlife crisis, she’s forced to answer the biggest question of all …

Can she love an enemy who will never surrender? 



My Thoughts:

Well, Jewel E. Ann’s latest book was literally “Not What I Expected”. Not only does the title convey my feelings about the book, but also the main character’s thoughts on her life. This book took me completely by surprise—in a good way. This humorous story is a little romance, but mostly it’s about finding oneself again. It’s about living in a small town. It’s about needs, wants and societal and familial expectations. 

When a hot new entrepreneur arrives in Epperly, Elsie Smith and the rest of the women in town take notice. Not What I Expected is the tale of Elsie shedding the shackles that have bound her to a traditional role and a limited life. The turn of events in Elsie’s 42nd year really throw her for a loop. These events cause her to question everything that she has thought of as the gospel truth.

The story is very realistic. This book takes readers well beyond the HEA at the end of a romance novel. In real life, after you’ve been married many, many years, those little things you were once able to ignore, become a bit more glaring and annoying. As time goes on, whether married or not, staying together and loving one another is a daily choice. Sometimes, like Elsie, you choose not to.

I’m on the fence about Kael, and I don’t know that my feelings about this character will ever solidify. To really love this character, you have to let go of paradigms, and that may be the author’s point. His view on relationships often made him seem younger than his 30 years to me. His over-the-top generosity and kindness is the embodiment of WWJD which is presented juxtaposed to the judgmental attitudes of the town’s pious church ladies and the fabrications and embellishments of others.

Not What I Expected is a breath of fresh air. It’s a thinking woman’s romance. The depiction of Elsie’s full life —kids, business, friends, family, and the boundaries her obligations present, bring substance to the story. The mature angst, the fun banter, and the anticipation make this book a delicious read. 



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