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The Younger Man    by Sarah Tucker order for
Younger Man
by Sarah Tucker
Order:  USA  Can
Red Dress Ink, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Hazel Chamberlayne is not your typical divorcée. She's a smart woman who believes in herself, a partner in a small firm practicing divorce law, and also the proud mother of Sarah, soon to head off to university. Hazel is having a bit of a quiet spell in her love life - not a rough patch, per se, but she does not have a man at the moment. She's almost forty years old, financially successful, relatively happy, has a great group of female friends, and has raised a beautiful daughter. The only thing missing from her life is male companionship and with Sarah leaving for college, Hazel will have more freedom to satisfy her own needs.

Understandably, Hazel does not want to rush into a relationship with just any man, having been the product of a broken marriage herself, and making a living representing the same. That said, when her law firm business partner, Brian, decides to hire a new lawyer for the office, Hazel finds herself gob smacked because she is smitten by the new addition. Joe is handsome, charming and intelligent – but he's younger than Hazel. At twenty-nine, he looks older than his chronological age and seems more mature than the average male. Joe is taking a curious interest in Hazel as well (which is clear when the two meet for drinks one evening after work). However, there are problems. They work together, and Hazel despises mixing business with pleasure. Also, Joe has a long term, live-in girlfriend and Hazel does not want to come between them. Having been there herself, she does not want to stoop to the level of being the other woman. Hazel and Joe develop a platonic working relationship although there is no doubt there is chemistry between the two.

This was an entertaining read. Hazel is a saucy character and I enjoyed reading her inner dialogue throughout the book as she is witty and wise – a refreshing break from the common twenty-something chick lit leads who are often challenged in their self-esteem. Hazel's three friends and her daughter add interest to the read, which might have waned without their subplots, because while Hazel and Joe are clearly fond of each other, they take their time getting to know one another. Fans of Tucker's prior books will enjoy The Younger Man which I recommend it anyone who enjoys chick lit and romance.

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