Arden has hosted a girl’s weekend on the Fourth of July for her closest friends - Jamie, Anna, Cait and Brooke - every Independence Day since their graduation ten years earlier from a college in upstate New York. When Arden dies after an illness, she springs a life-changing surprise on her best friends: she divides her fortune among the remaining friends, each of them receiving $250,000 on one condition – that they use it to “start over,” “follow their bliss” and “fight the power.”
Brooke immediately uses the money to purchase Henley House, the former dormitory where she, Cait and Anna lived during their senior year, with the intention of turning it into “Paradise Found - Bed and Breakfast.” Brooke encounters a variety of mishaps and misadventures as she sets about restoring the house, which includes installing a new electrical system. Brooke’s refurbishing troubles involve chauvinistic electricians, a crash course in electricity by Professor Rutkin (who 12 years ago gave her a D on her exam papers), and numerous visits to the local hardware store, where she meets tall, lanky Everett.
Anna moves into Brooke’s new B&B following her separation from her husband after increasing squabbles about their inability to conceive a child. Anna decides to pursue her dream to be a pastry chef and decorator, thereby starting a war with Trish Selway; prior to Anna’s appearance in the town, Trish had the monopoly on cake-making orders. As Trish and Anna bicker about their baking empires, they ironically have a connection – while Anna is despondent about her inability to have a child, Trish is pregnant with her first.
Jamie leaves her job in Los Angeles and also moves into Brooke’s project. She is quickly thrown into a job as a wedding planner, thanks to referrals that Anna makes to her own new clients. However, she is reluctant to use the money that Arden left her because of a secret from their past that she still holds.
Cait, now funded by Arden’s gift, is taking a sabbatical from her professorship and eager to finish writing her book. She also moves back into the house with her friends and former roommates and embarks on completing her novel, inspired by her real-life adventures with Professor Gavin Clayburn – a man she adored years ago, but whom she discovers harbors a secret life.
Second Time Around is a beautifully written book about women, friendships and life. This is a feel-good story filled with tender moments of love, loss and life, as well as ‘girlfriend’ exchanges and episodes that are catty, sexy and funny. Second Time Around has something for every woman who has ever had a friend or an unfulfilled dream. Highly recommended.