The Birds and the Bees

By Milly Johnson

It sounded stupid, but the cottage felt ‘sad’ that she would be going soon, as if it had been lonely in its enforced long emptiness and had rather enjoyed having a funny little boy, an incurable romantic and a rather loud Gaelic giant enjoying its warmth and protection…
She was going mad, obviously, thinking about old houses having feelings. What next? Imagining the dishwasher sobbing as it scrubbed the pots clean? She needed to get out.

In most of Milly Johnson’s books that I have read, some of the women tolerate emotional and sometimes physical abuse and injustice without standing up for themselves until the very end. Even though the meanies finally get their comeuppance and happy endings abound, her books can be pretty painful to read despite their humor. This one is a delight from start to finish. Although the protagonists have suffered in the past, it is background information, not something that we grieve about throughout the book.

Stevie and Adam team up to get their cheating partners back even though she thinks he is a violent “control-freak nutter” and he thinks she is a “greedy, lazy, rarely sober, slob thing.” Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. As their campaign starts to work and the truth about everyone’s characters are slowly revealed, it is the “treacherous bitch” Jo, and the “weak-minded but not wicked” Matthew who are on the road to ruin, not our (very) lovable hero and heroine. And their slow descent to misery is a joy to experience.

The book is peopled with fully developed, funny, and mostly very appealing secondary characters whom I hope to meet again in subsequent books. When you add the most engaging hero and heroine who have tons of chemistry with each other, that I have come across in a long long time, you really have a winner, and one of the best romantic comedies I have read…ever. **5 out of 5 stars**

August 20, 2019

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