Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Book Review: Friends With Benefits

By Sara Steven

Lexie Whittle thought she had life all sewn up, with a gorgeous husband, a beautiful home and a delightful teenage stepson. Until husband Daryl left to work overseas…and everything changed.

A year later, Daryl and Lexie’s marriage is over. Lexie is fighting to stay on top of the bills, juggling her job at the Blue Parrot 1940s cafe in Leyholme with being mum and dad to stepson Connor in Daryl’s absence.

The only thing keeping her from meltdown is the support she gets from Connor’s godfather: Theo Blake, Daryl’s former business partner. Theo might be a jack-the-lad, drifting from one woman to another, but Lexie knows she and Connor can depend on him.

After one too many glasses of wine leads to them falling into bed together, Lexie and Theo begin a friends-with-benefits relationship. What starts as just sex soon becomes something deeper.

But when Daryl returns, Lexie is faced with an impossible decision. Will she be forced to choose between her feelings for Theo and the boy she loves as a son? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Friends With Benefits provided a different kind of perspective where relationships are concerned. On the romantic front, there’s Lexie and Theo, who have been friends for several years and for so long, had been Lexie’s husband’s best friend. Yet, when Daryl goes overseas, she has come to rely and depend on Theo, a man who in many ways stepped into the role that Daryl had left behind. Usually in a friends-with-benefits situation, it’s imagined that there aren’t many deep connections or ties that are involved, but for them, that bond has already been established, which makes that kind of relationship a tough one to adhere to.

Then there’s the parental bond between Lexie and Connor. Lexie has been there for most of Connor’s life, and even though she isn’t his biological mother, she feels as though she is and would do anything for him, and it often shows within this story. It was interesting to see the dynamics of a father-son bond that has been strained for so long, and even though Lexie has continued to be there for Connor and provide for him when Daryl has chosen not to--legally, it isn’t enough. 

As the synopsis indicates, Lexie has to make a decision between Theo and Connor, and while she is entirely sure of her feelings for Connor, she’s undecided on what kind of future she might have with a man who has never had a serious relationship. It would seem to be an easy choice to make, but given the type of past that Theo has had, and the pressure that Daryl places on her, it’s really not as easy as it seems.

I felt frustration at Daryl, particularly when he would have interactions with Connor. Yet, there is backstory there, too, that lends into why Daryl behaves the way he does. It was nice to read this story through three different perspectives; Lexie’s, Theo’s, and Connor’s, because it gave the reader a deeper look into how they feel and a much deeper perspective. I also appreciated that I wasn’t sure how Friends With Benefits would end. Will Lexie choose to be with Theo, or will she decide to make additional sacrifices for her family’s sake? Either way, it was a five-star experience for me!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK * Kobo * Apple

Lisa Swift grew up in rural West Yorkshire in the UK, right in the heart of BrontĂ« country… and she’s still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature, she dallied with living in cities including London, Nottingham and Cambridge, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales, where she first started telling stories about heroines with flaws and the men who love them.

Lisa also writes romantic comedies under the pen name Mary Jayne Baker. 

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