Someone Like You (Boys of Summer #2)
Copy courtesy of the publisher
Lizzie Blake isn’t too keen about being roped in to being Meals on Wheels to Dan McSwaine but she can’t really say no to the people that asked her. After all, one is her best friend and the other one is her boss. So she hauls herself up to his beach shack and knocks on his door, offering the best Middle Point pub has to offer. Only to have the door slammed in her face.
Dan has changed since the cocky, gorgeous guy who sauntered into the pub a few months ago with a wink and a smile. There’d been a glimpse of something between the two of them and Lizzie had been looking forward to exploring that a little more, maybe getting to know Dan. But then his car met a truck on the highway to Adelaide and Dan was severely injured – lucky to even survive. He is holed up now in his shack, looking like the Wild Man of Borneo and letting life go by. And so his best friend and business partner Ry, who happens to be engaged to Lizzie’s best friend Julia and Lizzie’s boss has decided that it’s time to get Dan back into the land of the living. And Lizzie is the perfect person to implement his plan.
Because although Dan has changed, there’s still something of the old Dan there. And there’s definitely a whole lot of the chemistry that sparked between him and Lizzie before, as well. All Dan wants is a bit of peace and quiet and for everyone to leave him alone. But against all odds, he suddenly finds himself realising that maybe, just maybe, that isn’t what he really wants. Maybe what he really wants is blonde haired, blue eyed and determined to drag him back into life again.
Someone Like You is the second in Victoria Purman’s Boys of Summer trilogy, the first being Nobody But Him, the story of Ry and Julia reconnecting after many years. Now it’s the turn of their best friends – in Nobody But Him, readers saw sparks between Dan and Lizzie and I was pretty excited when I found out that the next book would be their story. Dan’s accident was always going to make things more interesting and I was keen to see if this book was going to deliver on the promise constructed in the first novel.
The short answer to that would be yes, it does. Purman eases the characters back from their interaction in the first book by having them not cross paths since. When they do, Lizzie is shocked by the way Dan looks now and his desire to stay reclusive in Julia’s old house. Even though he slams the door in her face, she continues her deliveries, sneaking away before he can see her. When he finally catches her in the act, the two of them discover that the chemistry hasn’t gone anywhere at all.
I loved the glimpses of Dan that I got in Nobody But Him and was glad to see him become such a fully fleshed out character in this book. He’s not the cocky, confident man he once was – the accident has truly shaken him both physically and mentally. He’s having some trouble dealing with it and just wants to hide away from the world. He and Lizzie have a great spark and they bounce off each other so effortlessly. Both of them make a multitude of mistakes in this book – they’re both packing some issues and some of those issues are rather similar. However despite their mistakes and the feeling that sometimes it’s just the wrong time, they still can’t keep away from each other. They keep coming back to each other, keep supporting each other in different way, keep slowly building the grounds of a relationship until it sneaks right up on them that they’ve fallen into one without really communicating it in so many words. They both respect each other, they want more for each other and they understand each other. They can talk about things with each other that they can’t share with others. And of course, the sex is off the charts for both of them.
Lizzie too, is given much greater depths. On the surface she comes across as settled and having no problems but slowly the layers are peeled away from her and the reader gets to know her and why she’s still in Middle Point and the various things she’s gone through when she was very young. She’s much more caring and feels a responsibility in more ways than one towards people, especially Dan. Whereas I would’ve given up after someone slammed a door in my face, she keeps delivering the meals, keeps going making small inroads until she begins to see some real progress with Dan. However things really aren’t easy for them and both of them have to keep adjusting to the setbacks they experience, regathering themselves and then trying to go forward again. It’s a dance that’s been done many times before but it’s very well done here. It’s a fine balance between throwing up romantic conflict and tension and the reader feeling like they’re being jerked around by large numbers of obstacles.
Someone Like You is a great second installment in the trilogy. We’re treated to plenty of Ry and Julia, which will please readers like myself who always like to know how couples are getting on after the end of the book and we’re introduced to the couple who will take center stage for the third book. I’m looking forward to it and seeing how Dan and Lizzie are going as well has how the next couple find their HEA.
Book #24 of 2014
Someone Like You is book #11 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2014