Being a single dad was never on Michael Young's agenda. Yet with the sudden loss of his wife, that's exactly the role he has. On his best days, he thinks he can handle it. On his worst… Luckily, family friend Angie Bartlett has his back, easily stepping in to help out.
Lately, though, something has changed.
Michael is noticing exactly how gorgeous Angie is, and how single she is. She's constantly in his thoughts and he feels an attraction he never expected. Does he dare disrupt the very good thing they have going? If they have a fling that goes nowhere, he stands to lose everything—including her. But if they make it work, he stands to gain everything!
Why I Read this Book: I had read two other books by this author - Her Best Friend (my review) and The Best Laid Plans (my review) - and I liked the author’s writing style. I also like that her books are set in Australia; I feel like I get to experience another country when reading her stories.
What I Liked: I love how Angie incorporates Billie (Michael’s late wife) into Michael and the kids’ lives as much as possible. Angie doesn’t try to erase the memory of Billie; instead she welcomes it and embraces it. After all, Angie too is mourning a great loss – the loss of her best friend.
I think the amount of time that passes between Billie’s death and Michael and Angie falling in love with each other is adequate. Almost a year has gone by before Michael realizes he has developed feelings for Angie. Neither one of them wants to act upon those feelings because they feel it would betray Billie. They feel an immense amount of guilt for their feelings. Guilt is a big factor in this novel.
I couldn’t help but like Billie. Even though she’s only around for a very small part of the book, she won me over.
I like the Australian setting. It’s fun to see how things are in the land down under.
I usually don’t like children, especially young children, in my reading but in this case it didn’t bother me in the slightest. Eva was a darling little girl who was wise beyond her 5 years.
What I Didn’t Like: I was somewhat conflicted when I was reading Within Reach. This wasn’t just a love story between Michael and Angie; Billie, even though she’s dead, has a big presence in this novel.
“Unless you’re planning on developing forearms like Popeye, you’re going to want to have sex again.”
Overall Impression: Within Reach is a realistic romance with challenging circumstances. I don’t know that I will read more novels that involve recently widowed lead characters. It’s hard for me to accept a new love interest for a widow/er when the late spouse was so likable. It worked in this case because the author kept Billie’s memory alive while at the same time not holding Michael and Angie back.