I have a confession. Generally, I do not really care for May/Dec romance novels but especially when the woman is the older one. Not too long ago, Catherine and I had a conversation about this because we really weren’t sure why neither of us like this particular trope. What I think we came up with was that the men seem like babes in the world compared to the older, more experienced type. Like the younger guy still has some much-needed maturity to gain. With that said, when I was given the opportunity to read and review Alice Clayton’s Redhead series, I jumped at the chance. I loved Wallbanger and have heard such great things about her other books that I wasn’t going to pass them up.
The Unidentified Redhead
The first book in the series, The Unidentified Redhead, introduces us to our couple. Grace is 33 and back in Hollywood to make another go at her dream. After dealing with weight issues and general life issues she feels like she owes it to herself to try again. She has moved in with her best friend Holly until the house she bought is being remodeled. Holly is an agent to the stars and someone who will be good to advise Grace in her return to the rat race.
Jack is 24, British and the new “it” boy. Jack and Grace first meet at a party given by Holly as Holly is his agent.
“So how’s the British invasion going? Has he invaded your hoohah yet?”
They immediately hit it off in a fun quirky type way. Their funny banter and clever name calling had me laughing out loud. Grace has minor issues with his age and constantly reminds herself just how old he is.
“The guy looks young enough to be your kid, Grace.
Yes, but only if I’d really slutted it up in junior high…”
For most of the book we hear about Grace’s issues. She tells Jack that he is taking on a lot by dating her. Jack is surprisingly mature and takes it all in stride. The developement of their relationship is a thing of beauty to watch. They pair together so well and we get to see them come together in ways that go beyond the sex. In fact, they do not commit the actual deed until the very last pages. Never fear, there is plenty of hot sex scenes between Jack and Grace and Jack is quite the giver.
“We have to stop, this is insane. I literally cannot handle anymore. I think I’ve lost brain function. I can actually feel myself becoming stupid”
“Not possible. Let’s test it. What’s two times two?”
The main act, however, is not completed until very late.
The end of The Unidentified Redhead finds Grace taking a Broadway part back in New York and the couple separating. After witnessing them spend so much time together I was a little teary-eyed at their separation. We don’t know what will come of the separation because Jack is the hot thing in LA and Grace is back in NY with her long ago love, Michael, who is the director to the Broadway play she has been cast in.
The Redhead Revealed
The Redhead Revealed is the second book in the series and while it is still really good, I found it to be on a different level than the first book. The Unidentified Redhead is where we meet Grace and Jack, we watch them fall in love and we watch Grace move to the opposite coast to start a new job. Where The Unidentified Redhead made me laugh and play along with Grace and Jack, The Redhead Revealed made me root for their fragile love. I really wanted them to make it but was realistic that there might be some bumps along the way. They work in the film business and they live extremely far apart, neither issues can be healthy on a new relationship.
I mentioned about that I did not care for May/Dec relationships where the man was the younger party. But something that really surprised me was that Jack ended up being the mature one in this relationship. Grace and her wishy-washy attitude quickly started to get on my nerves. I adore Jack and the crap that Grace was pulling was a big no-no in my book. When Jack visits and Michael’s shoes are sitting at Grace’s front door I wanted to scream at her. She was putting herself in situations that no person in a relationship should be doing. I know she says she loved Jack but she was inviting temptation in and asking it to have a seat and take up residence. It was not cool. Because the book is first person point of view from Grace we never got to see what Jack is doing but I felt like he was not doing what Grace was doing.
Jack is what I would call a beta hero but in The Redhead Revealed he came across as someone very sure of himself, almost in an alpha way. About halfway through the book at Jack’s movie premiere Grace pulls a stunt that had me so angry at her. This was the first time I saw those issues she constantly talked about rear their ugly head. At that point, I wanted Jack to dump her stupid ass and move on. Jack broke my heart in some of these scenes. I hate Grace for what she was putting them through.
“So if you think for a second I’m going to let you end this without giving me a legitimate reason, you are truly crazier than I thought. I’m in this thing with you, a willing participant, and you can’t decide for both of us. Not anymore.”
The Redhead Revealed has all of the same quirky secondary characters and some new ones thrown in. While still absolutely hilarious this book was more poignant and dealt with the big issues they face. Jack and Grace end in a good place but still have to keep their relationship secret. It grates on Jack that he can’t out them to the world but everyone pushes him and says that it would not be good for his career. Grace moves back to LA and ends up with a surprising new part.
I really enjoyed both the first and second books in this series. I am looking forward to the third book to find out what happens with Jack and Grace because I just want them to make it. Final Grade- B+