Title: House Rules (Uptown #3)
Author: Ruby Lang
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: February 10, 2020
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 152 Pages
Rating: 3.5 Stars rounded UP
ROOMMATE WANTED to share a gorgeous sun-filled apartment in Central Harlem. Must love cats. No ex-husbands or wives need apply.
Seventeen years ago, different dreams pulled Simon Mizrahi and Lana Kai apart. But when Lana takes a position as a chef back in Manhattan, her apartment search puts her right in her ex-husband’s path. Music teacher Simon is also hunting for a new place to live, and when Lana proposes they be platonic roomies, well…it’s not the worst idea he’s ever heard.
A sunny uptown two-bedroom sounds far more appealing than the cramped, noisy space where he’s currently struggling to work. Still, Simon has seen firsthand that Lana’s a flight risk, so he agrees on a trial basis.
Three months. With strict boundaries.
Living together again feels wonderfully nostalgic, but when the ex-couple’s lingering feelings rise to the surface, the rules go out the window.
Of course, chemistry was never their problem. But while Simon’s career feels back on solid footing, Lana is still sorting out what she wants. With their trial period soon coming to an end, they’ll have to decide if their living arrangement was merely a sexy trip down memory lane or a reunion meant to last.
♦ Personal Thought ♦
More than a second chance romance, this read as family saga to me. HOUSE RULES reunited a couple divorced after seventeen years apart. Lana and Simon were equally reserved characters who give off standoffish attitude. Which made their first meeting – after over one and a half decades – every bit as awkward as it was painful. I could almost touch that dreaded “UH OH, what were the odd…” vibes simmering between the two on that accidental meeting, the mood was that acute.
Of Ruby Lang’s “Uptown” series – a standalone for each one, although characters from previous book might make an appearance in the following entry – this third book struck me as the most melancholic. The alternate POVs disclosed different dreams and quite amount of envy and resentment off the years past, told in a nostalgic, poignant, and sedate pace much the same as our two MCs.
I felt for both Lana and Simon – their hurt, confusion – even while understanding where the decision they made came from. Their second chance was a wary, slow burn romance, made lively with the inclusion of Muffin the tabby cat in their life. Not only that, both MCs also had to deal with their family over the presence of their ex in their life. Blending with everything was the issue of fertility and progeniture taunting the air.
I loved how Lang carefully weaved the complex issues Lana and Simon threading in, to coming up with ways to bridge everything and made be together possible for them. HOUSE RULES was a second journey this couple took in a more mature and measured way that I expect familiar to over 40s readers out there. It was a little sad and upsetting, a little fun and entertaining, and a great deal sizzling (mainly on the let’s try again bonking part). And the journey hasn’t stopped – it only continued…
Copy of this book is kindly given by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.