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    Awesome

    This one is about Jake Gaffney and Carolyn Rivington being reunited after years of pain, anger, and hurt. Roles are reversed now though. He is rich and powerful and she is down on her luck. When Jake buys the country club she is currently working at, they both know that it is time to deal with their past and let things go. If only it was that easy! I've been looking forward to this new series from Elisabeth Barrett and after reading this book I am NOT disappointed! I can't wait to see how some of the secondary characters are developed and what their stories are. While parts of this seemed a little drawn out I think it was necessary to introduce all the characters and their roles. Can't wait for more! I definitely recommend this one!
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    A fun second-chance romance

    Once upon a time, Carolyn was the beautiful debutante who fell in love with the boy from the wrong side of the tracks, but their Romeo and Juliet romance came to an end when her father had him arrested. But times have changed, and all the money that placed Carolyn's family on a golden pedestal has been squandered, leaving her in a mountain of her father's debt and working her fingers to the bone to keep them fed and clothed. Her father's recent heart attack hasn't made things any easier, but she's excelling in her work at the country club where she once danced the night away. But the past has come back to haunt her in the worst way now that the boy she once loved has returned as the club's new owner, intent on making big changes to keep things profitable. But... Overall, the story was great and not nearly as predictable as one might expect. However, there was an additional point of view thrown in, presumably to introduce us more fully to a character who will be focused on in a subsequent book, and from a reader's perspective, it just didn't fit. The chapters that told things from Jane's point of view had little to do with rekindling things between Carolyn and Jake, and rather than add to the story, they detracted from it. While I liked Jane's character, her story should have been held aside for another book, and any important pieces could easily have been revealed in her interactions with Carolyn rather than detouring readers from the main plot for entire chapters. I have no idea what took place during editing, but it seems saving these chapters for later would have been a no-brainer. The Verdict: It's been fifteen years since Carolyn and Jake last saw each other, and what a difference those years have made. Carolyn's mother has passed away, and her father's health is in jeopardy, while she works long hours at the only job that will have her. Once a member of the exclusive country club, she now referees employee spats and plans parties and events there, a far cry from the privileged life she once enjoyed. Her family's wealth disappeared with her father's financial advisor, and Carolyn is for the most part completely on her own with no one else on whom to lean when things go wrong — which they've been doing for years now. Jake's arrest back in the day didn't ruin his life, but it certainly gave him a new perspective. Realizing he would never be good enough for the upper crust, he spent the years getting an education and working his way up in the business world. Now a success, he's returned to Briarwood to prove his worth, and while he may never truly fit into the old money world, he's no one to be looked down upon anymore. I loved the initial reunion between Carolyn and Jake, proof that the years had changed them both and a reminder of the different worlds that pulled them apart. But what surprised me most was Jake's reaction to Carolyn. While he certainly still harbored some anger over the way things went down, he didn't hold it all against her, and he was quick to realize the financial predicament she was in. He could have lorded his success over her and made her feel like a lesser person now that she was struggling just to keep the refrigerator filled, but instead he saw how hard she worked and didn't do anything to make things more difficult for her. Their relationship, once it was rekindled, was piping hot and filled with uncertainties, mostly because neither really seemed to know how to bridge the past and move fully into the present. Carolyn had too much on her plate to become involved with her new boss, and Jake had plenty of resentment to overcome. But rather than play completely into the romance novel cliches one might expect, Jake and Carolyn handled things a bit differently on their way to a new happily ever after, and that's what made it such an interesting read. While the additional chapters from another character's point of view got it the way too often, the root of the story was a great one. Second chance romances are always fun, given the established history between characters, and Once and Again did that well. I suspect that the next book in the series will be all about Jane, and I'm definitely interested in finding out what's next in her story. ***FicCentral received this book from Random House LLC (via NetGalley) for free in exchange for an honest review.
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    Second chances and personal discoveries

    Carolyn Rivington was a pampered country club princess who had it all until it was all lost. With the load of her father's debts weighing her down, she was forced to get a job at the country club. Now her past has come back in the form of the new owner of the club and her first love, Jake Gaffney. Fifteen years ago, Jake was the boy from the wrong side of the tracks involved with the society princess, an involvement that ended badly with him being carted away in the back of a police cruiser. Now the tables have turned and the boy from the wrong side of the tracks is a real estate mogul and the pampered princess? His employee. ONCE AND AGAIN is an easy and enjoyable story of strength, grace and second chances. Fifteen years ago, Caroline was a malleable young girl floating through life, secure in the knowledge that all was well in her world and she had everything - money, cars and access to all the right places. Then she lost it all and has spent the last year working her behind off to pay the family debts. Jake's return as her new boss shakes her foundation as she's concerned that their past history could cost her her job. But Jake needs her in his corner as he battles opposition to his plans for the club. And if working closely with him rekindles their old fire? Well, it doesn't hurt. ONCE AND AGAIN is not just a story about Carolyn and Jake's second chance but it's also Carolyn's story of personal discovery and growth. Before things changed, she was just a girl going through life aimlessly, unaware of who she really was but what happened has forced her to dig deep into herself and find inner strength that she didn't know she had. Now she's working at a job she loves and making friends who like her for herself and not her bank balance and her pedigree. Jake's return and their relationship is just the icing on a really great cake. This story does not have sizzle and steamy passion but is rather a mellow and easy tale of both characters rekindling their first love and exploring connections with other people. This is the first book in the series and it shows. There are also other side stories of secondary characters that set up the following stories and while they do distract a bit from the central story, they actually have me excited about the rest the series.There is also story arc of her father and his dealings that was unresolved and I would love to see the resolution in upcoming books. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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    3.5 stars

    The author does a great job of introducing the characters for future books, but at times it felt like it was too much information about secondary characters instead of Jake and Carolyn. It starts out and ends strong, but the middle drags a bit. Both Jake and Carolyn have changed in the fifteen years they've been apart, but they are now more prepared to deal with their feelings for each other. I loved the way Jake takes care of Carolyn's needs - even if she doesn't know he's doing it. I only wish there would have been more of them rekindling their romance without so much of the extra information that seemed unnecessary. I still enjoyed the story and I am looking forward to the next book. I received an ARC via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, all conclusions are my own.
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