A Basic Renovation by Sandra Antonelli

BasicRenoWhy I read it:  I bought this book a little while back, having heard lots of good things about it.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  When it comes down to it, rats in the oven trumps Lesley’s desire to never set eyes on another Brennan family member. So Lesley, a pro at property redevelopment, scrambles to Dominic Brennan’s hardware store for supplies. Dominic knows poison — rat and otherwise — and he sees it in Lesley. The woman ruined his brother’s life. Now that she’s back in town, Dominic’s afraid she’ll drag up the past, the secrets, and the pain. They clash immediately, but mix in a teenage boy, a puppy, some white paint, and some loud music, and what starts as cold fury transforms into a nuclear attraction. This basic renovation becomes a major life refurbishment for them both.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Forty-something heroines and heroes appeal to me now in a way they didn’t when I was in my twenties.  From my current perspective, it does not seem at all ridiculous or icky to read a romance with older protagonists.  I am happy enough to read about younger people too, but there is definitely room in my reading for people my age and older.  Lesley and Dominic are both in their 40s, both experiencing some of the visible signs of aging Olay warns you about on the television at every possible opportunity.  (I expect, nevertheless, they look better than I do – that’s okay, I tend to imagine romance heroes and heroines are good looking no matter what the text tells me – perhaps this is a flaw, I don’t know).  Because both are older, they fit well into their own skins – they know themselves, their wants and desires, their tics and foibles fairly well and neither of them are likely to change all that much.  But they have both changed very much from the people they were when they (briefly) knew each other sixteen years earlier, when Lesley was (briefly) married to Dominic’s douchebag brother Terry.  The book presents them as having come into their own – particularly Lesley, rather than just being “not young anymore” and certainly, Dominic finds the current Lesley much more fascinating and attractive than he ever did before. 

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