The Second Date: Love Italian-American Style by Mary Lydon Simonsen
“Do you ever think that your perfect guy might walk into your life, and you won’t even know it because you never gave him a chance?” This is a very important question posed in Mary Lydon Simonsen’s novel The Second Date. The story is about Sonia Amundsen, a Norwegian-Italian-American beauty who goes out on many blind dates – first dates – but never a second. That’s because the 30-year-old has a very precise checklist in her head that will help her determine if and when she meets the perfect man (AKA Mr. Right). When we meet Sonia her biological clock is, of course, madly ticking.
It takes a chance of fate – a scheduled blind date reconciles with an ex-girlfriend and sends a friend in his place – for Sonia to meet someone who makes her act “a little bit nuts.” Once she meets Nick Santangelo it’s pretty clear that Sonia will not be going out on more blind dates. But will things work out?
This is the set-up for this very entertaining and well worth reading story by Simonsen. Which is not to say that there aren’t a few issues with this tale of love. First, the early chapters contain introductory material on what seemed to be dozens of characters; this reader quickly felt overloaded and a bit tired (it was like trying to keep track of the individuals at a Kennedy family reunion). Second, and this was the bigger issue for me, the pace seemed early on to settle into second gear and never vary – there’s a sameness to the tone and pace that cried out for an occasional variance. I kept hoping for a speed-up, a braking, anything for a change of pace. Contra, if you like calm, you get calmness in the reading.
It needs to be said that the presentation of this self-published book, available through Amazon, is quite nice. The cover artwork-photo is beautiful and the feel of this trade paperback is just right. I did find three typos that escaped an editor’s eyes (on pages 77, 83 and 153), but nothing major. Also, the author appears to be rightly respectful of different cultures.
Despite a couple of minor issues, this is a fine novel by a promising writer. “…what’s worse than losing someone you love? Not loving. That’s worse.”