Title: Breaking Even
Author: Kathleen Kole
Genre: Chick Lit/Women's Contemporary Fiction
Number of Pages: 236
Source: Sent to me from Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour
Meet Penelope Whittaker. A sensible, do things the right way, soon-to-be-married accountant. Penelope is engaged to the wonderful, kind and caring Ben Miller ... a man she has known forever. Enter Single Dad. While on a school run, Penelope accidentally locks her keys in her car. A seemingly boring event, until she is offered aid by a very handsome (hubba, hubba) and personable Single Dad. Shaken by the encounter, or, more to the point, shaken by her reaction to the encounter, Penelope tries to put it where it belongs: on a shelf marked "Chance Encounters". Life has different plans. (goodreads.com)
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Breaking Even is one of those books where the blurb really doesn't do the book justice. The story is so much more compelling-it's almost like the publishers couldn't decide what genre to put this book in and decided to make it sound like it was chick lit..which I guess it technically is, but I felt like it read more like woman's fiction. It's one of those stories that is about finding yourself and what makes you happy. even though the cost of doing so might be high.
This was such a fun book.What I loved is even though I didn't always agree with the actions of Penelope, I understood where she was coming from and why she was doing it. The entire cast of characters had me laughing, and much like Jill Mansells books, each character had their own voice. I really enjoy books that are able to make the transition from each character smoothly-by the time I was finished reading I felt I was a member of Bens family.
Penelope's world starts to change one morning when she takes her soon to be nephews to school. As she drops them off, she realizes that she has locked her car keys in her car. That's when she meets Single Dad. (he does have a name, but it's so much more fun to call him Single Dad, because that became his nickname throughout the book and I could always feel the characters rolling their eyes when they said it.) Even though Penelope looks like crap, he's very attentive to her and tries to help her get her car keys out of the car-with no success. While they wait for the car service to come and unlock her door, Penelope is shocked to find him flirting with her-she's been in a long term relationship for so long she's just not used to guys looking at her that way. One of the things that I loved about Penelope was her honesty. She knows she shouldn't like being flirted with-but can't help but be flattered by it.
As she and the Single Dad run into each other, her future sisters in law begin to get worried. They don't like Penelope's attitude toward this guy. They want her with their brother in law. I liked how each one tried to talk some sense into Penelope, and how they just didn't sit there and let her make a mess out of her life. As the story goes on, we find out that each of the girls thinks the other has a perfect life-but it couldn't be further from the truth. Each has their own problems, and helping Penelope and Ben work things out helps them with their own set of problems.
I really wanted to shake some sense into Penelope and into Ben continuously throughout the book, for being so blind about what the other one was thinking. I found myself cheering for Ben and thought Penelope was a big idiot for not realizing what she had in front of her. Penelope though, finds that out for herself. I found myself really wanting to hate on her-because the whole almost cheating, but not really cheating thing bothered me, but like all the other characters in the book found myself liking her and somewhat understanding where she was coming from. While Ben is totally cheer-worthy, he's not perfect and I loved watching him struggle to understand what was going on with Penelope.
While the story does revolve around Penelope and her wondering whether or not she should stay in her relationship, as I said before it's not really a romance more then about finding out about what makes you happy. This book was hard to pin down in any one category-but it's definitely worth the read, and I can't wait to read more by this author. Come back tomorrow when I have a guest post and giveaway with Kathleen! :)