Author: Sarah Mayberry
Published: January 2, 2013 (Harlequin)
Rating: Lunch Break Read
Format: Digital copy from publisher via NetGalley
Summary: The best thing between Oliver Barrett and Mackenzie Williams is a fence. Ever since Oliver's new-neighbor gestures were met with unfriendly responses, he's decided to keep his distance. After all, he's in this seaside town to get his life on track again. That doesn't include working hard to get on Mackenzie's good side—no matter how intriguing she may be. His intentions are put to the test, however, when his dog becomes infatuated with hers. The two crafty canines do their best to break down the barriers between the properties. And where the dogs go , well, the humans must follow! It doesn't take long for a powerful attraction to build between Oliver and Mackenzie. They soon discover that the worst of first impressions can lead to the best possible outcomes .
The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberry is a beautiful romance between two people who should by all accounts have broken due to different circumstances. But they weren't. That was one of the things that made this story so enjoyable. I loved Mackenzie and her tenacity, and I loved Oliver and his brilliant sense of humor. I didn't even mind the dogs too much; Strudel might be the cutest name for a dog ever.
Another aspect of this book that was nice was that both Mackenzie and Oliver were 39 when the story started, which is older than the norm in contemporary romance. It is by no means ancient or anything, obviously, but it made for a nice change of pace from the late-twenties-early-thirties heroes and heroines in stories I tend to read.
I liked the relationship between Mackenzie and Oliver; it developed quickly from the initial dislike, and sweetness and sexiness abounded in equal measure. It was almost simplistic in a way, but it just worked with them.
(Minor spoilers in this paragraph.) Pretty much my only real problem with this book was that Oliver was in the middle of a divorce when they met. Divorce is a sticky issue for me, because I feel like the divorce needs to be finalized before I can support any romantic shenanigans that may happen the story. Unfortunately, this was obviously not the case in this book, so I just tried not to think about it. I know it's a picky thing, but it still bothered me.
Besides the aforementioned issue and a kind of slow beginning, though, I really enjoyed The Other Side of Us. It was all kinds of adorable and fun and sexy and swoony. (Did I mentioned Oliver is a musician...?) It balanced all those wonderful factors with real issues, and the result was pretty great. Sarah Mayberry remains one of my favorite contemporary authors.
Next time I will make sure to bring along a laugh track so you know when I’ve been funny.
Sometimes, the voice in his head was way too much of a smart-ass.
But she’d worked hard for this body. She’d fought alongside the doctors to keep it alive. She’d struggled against pain and expectation to become strong again. She’d survived and thrived in this body, and she refused to be ashamed of it.