by Celia Cooper

January 2003
ISBN: 1-590-88149-4
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Old Enough to Know Better by Celia Cooper involves an older woman, a younger man, and secrets revealed in small town style!

Diane Wallace is an independent woman of the new millennium. She owns her own advertising agency, and she’s been around the block a time or two with two divorces under her belt. When a sexy guy buys her a drink at her favorite local hangout, she turns him down flat, pegging him in the “too young for me” category.

Well that very sexy guy, Justin, ends up saving her from someone she calls “Retro Man”, you know the one - polyester suit, way too many chains around his neck? Though Diane finds Justin attractive, she’s still not charmed enough to get involved.

Justin Anderson owns his own construction company; he’s been trashed in a bad divorce with a very scary ex-wife and is missing a closer relationship with his daughter.

Justin has been receiving threatening phone calls, and the night he meets Diane at the bar, he comes home to a letter bomb. After the police search his house and find more bombs, they suggest Justin find a place to stay for a few days.

Through a friend, Justin finds himself right where he wants to be, with Diane! They share a mutual friendship with the bartender at the bar where they met, and he convinces Diane to let Justin come stay with her.

Justin has more trouble headed his way, and he and Diane find themselves in the thick of a police investigation, a sneaky ex-wife, and a bomb-wielding maniac.

A couple of chapters in the book were devoted to Diane’s past, and this reader felt the explanations could have been summed up in several paragraphs rather than such a long narrative. I understood the need to explain; some of Diane’s past created who she became in the present. But in the end I felt it distracted me from the relationship between Diane and Justin and the bomb scares.

Justin’s ex-wife, Ashlee, had nearly the entire population of Oakdale in the palm of her hand. Her dirty dealings were hard to swallow some of the time, but nevertheless useful to the plot. She does play some of the typical mind-games bitter ex-wives are known to play.

The romance between Diane and Justin moves at a nice pace for the emotional baggage each have, but the chemistry between them was tepid at best. They were however, sweet and likeable as a couple; they shared conversations that were believable while they got to know one another. This reader appreciates the time Ms.Cooper took to nurture Justin and Diane’s relationship. The author portrayed the time involved in finding someone you like then pursuing him or her, in a manner reflective of today.

A fine effort on Ms. Cooper’s part, an easy read, with few bumps in the road! Secrets, lies, and small town monkey business tell the tale of Old Enough to Know Better!

Reviewed in January 2003 by Connie.

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