Birthday Girl is basically a steamy contemporary romance novel by Penelope Douglas. A forbidden age-gap romance which is suitably teased in the blurb: “She’s nineteen, and I’m thirty-eight. And her boyfriend’s father”.
With the introduction and trigger warning out of the way, let me just tell you how very amazingly well-written this novel is. There are no big bad words which force you whip out a dictionary every few lines, but still the complicated emotions get conveyed accurately.
Jordan is a nineteen-year-old girl who is not like most teenagers. Having had an uneasy childhood and some bad experience, she is mature, headstrong and most of all an interesting woman, far removed from the clichéd drinking and partying and experimenting-with-drugs tropes that we associate most teenaged characters with.
When she meets Pike, not knowing he was her boyfriend’s father, she did not mean to develop a palpable connection of shared smiles and comfortable conversation with him. She wasn’t even supposed to be in the position to stumble into Pike, but she did, because, indirectly, of her boyfriend, Cole.
Jordan and Cole share an unclear bond. I wish Cole was more developed in the story as character, rather than simply a plot device. But with Cole being the loser and the jerk he turns out to be, it was quite natural that Jordan and Pike, while living under the same roof, got the optimum circumstances to explore and nurture their weird feelings which ultimately very organically developed into this tabooed relationship.
What the fate of this couple is in the story, I leave for you to find out after reading the book, but what I liked the most in this novel was the effortless and organic way in which Jordan and Pike’s feelings advance. Yes, there are plenty of instances where the girl led the man on, with her casual appearance flaunting her beauty and charm in front of everyone: which would fall anywhere between tease and seduction, depending on how you look.
You can really relate to the angst, the internal struggle and the mature coping mechanisms these two employ to keep their hands off of each other for as long as they could. And when they eventually let their passion get the better of them: Fireworks.
The fluid writing and the extremely well-articulated scenes of passion lend this story an unputdownable feel which is quite refreshing. And I was surprised at the brief, but sure moment of catharsis in the extremely strained father-son dynamic. I only wish, the moment lingered and the character of Cole got a fraction of the focus he deserved in this story.
This is a standalone story, so no sequels planned. So, gear up for a four-hundred-page marathon balancing the anguish of forbidden love and the passion of sensuous surrender.
I read this book on #KindleUnlimited at a friend’s recommendation, and I am thankful to her for introducing me to Penelope Douglas.
I would recommend this book to all adult romance readers.
Check out the book on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3P9fFd5