Afer reading the reviews, if you would like to purchase, The Second Date, please click on the picture of the novel in the sidebar. If you would like an autographed copy, click on "New from $7.95" on the Amazon book page. I sell my books under Quail Creek Publishing. It is also available in the Kindle Version for $2.99.
Jenny Loves To Read - I was particularly pleased with this review b/c Jenny is an Italian-American from South Philly, so to receive her stamp of approval was very gratifying. Jenny Loves to Read is also having a giveaway. So why don't you go over to her blog and have a look. It's one of my favorite blogs.
This book is much more than Sonia having trouble finding a good guy. This book perfectly describes the Italian-American community of first and second generation immigrants. I should know since I am Italian and grew up in such a neighborhood.
My Grandmom had the plastic furniture covers, parties were held at the Knights of Columbus club, and although other ethnicity's were eventually welcomed, it was hoped Italians married Italians. That's just way it was, and it was the same in the Irish neighborhoods too. As the generations pass, these ways of life have changed, and you won't find too many people with kitchens and living rooms in the basements any more. As matter of fact, the feeling of community that is so prevalent in this book, is starting to disappear as well. Times change.
As she did with Searching for Pemberley, Simonsen seamlessly weaves the characters back stories and other fascinating tidbits into the story. Yes, Italian families still have tons of drama and are emotional, but the core value of family is always there. Your family may not approve of your private life, but they will always love you and do anything for you. Most Italians never forget where they came from either, and maybe that's why we still have our festivals and make big pots of gravy and meatballs every Sunday. (Gravy=sauce in my part of town.)
This was a wonderful little story, and the 1980s setting made me laugh at times. Sonia and the rest of the characters in the story are all sweet in their own way. They may even remind you of people you know yourself. Simonsen is quite good at making the reader feel like a part of the story. You tend to forget where you are, or at least I did. Overall this was a fun and engaging read which brought back a lot of memories for me, including flocked wallpaper and crushed velvet furniture. Oh, don't ask.
Review by Grace Lociano for Books Like Breathing Blog
I know The Second Date does not have an Austen tie-in (except for my main character who is an Austen fan and an editor), but it is getting very good reviews because it is funny. And I can now say that because that's what the reviewers are saying. I hope you will give it a look by clicking on the picture in the sidebar. Maybe this review will help you decide.
"I have never really read a book where the image of an Italian-American was positive. From my childhood I have been bombarded with images of the stereotypes of Italian culture. Mafia bosses, goons, murderers, whacking. Not at all what I have grown up with as an Italian-American… The Second Date was completely different. Not only were the people familiar but the behavior, the language, the dialect was all a page from my life. I found myself laughing out loud in many places because it was so familiar. It would be lovely to see a book like this sitting next to Mario Puzo’s novels as representations of Italian-American culture. Or better yet, replacing it altogether… The romance was also good. Nick and Sonia were so cute together. But it was the portrayal of Italian-American culture that was the shining star in this book for me at least… I was really pleased with this novel.
Review by Dianne Salerni for POD Review of Books
Talk to any person in my generation with an Italian-American heritage, and you will find certain common characteristics. When they were growing up, they almost certainly had a room in their house where no one dared enter – the formal living room where the carpets bore no trace of footprints and the only visitor important enough to use it was the priest. Their mothers probably used wooden spoons as weapons. Dating a non-Italian was bad, a non-Catholic worse, and bringing home a Jewish date who didn’t even believe in Christ was a crisis of soap-opera proportions. Funerals were like Greek tragedies, and let’s not get started on Thanksgiving dinner.The Second Date is, in part, a comedy romance revolving around the dating adventures of Sonia Amundsen (very Italian, in spite of her half-Norwegian heritage), but it is also an endearing web of family stories that traces several generations of an Italian-American family. As Sonia nears her thirtieth birthday, helpful friends and relatives set her up on a series of blind dates, which Sonia views as excellent fodder for the novels she writes, but not a likely source of romance for herself. In fact, Sonia has never gone on a second date with any of her blind dates and now views The Second Date almost superstitiously as the hallmark of Mr. Right. Mary Simonsen’s narrative wends its way through Sonia’s family history, diverting occasionally into the stories of neighbors and friends. You’ll meet Aunt Gina and Aunt Angie, rival sisters always striving to outdo each other in histrionics. You’ll meet Sonia’s father, Lars Amundsen, an “adopted” Italian ... whose calm and thoughtful nature has made him the neighborhood sage. The cast is rounded out with brothers, sisters-in-law, old boyfriends, blind dates, and a charming man who’d like to break Sonia’s no-second date curse... The Second Date is a slim book, just over 160 pages. Like a good antipasto, it’s colorful, flavorful, and full of tantalizing little nuggets that aren’t too filling – an excellent summer read, in fact, for fans of light romance, or anyone who grew up Italian-American in the 80’s. For complete review visit the Amazon book page or http://podbram.blogspot.com/2009/07/second-date.html
The Book Shelf - The Second Date - Love American Style is a fine blend of blind dates, food, family, friends, and life. Set in the 1980's, it is written in an easy style, has good humor thrown in, contains the characters of overbearing mother, warring aunts, and the close friend. It's a joy to read as we witness Sonia's journey to find true love. The Second Date is a charming book, well-written with sympathetic characters and an all too true story line. There are many shining moments in this book and it is one not to be bypassed in modern romantic reading. - L Anne Carrington
Review by Joseph's Reviews
Do you ever think that your perfect guy might walk into your life, and you won’t even know it because you never gave him a chance?” This is a very important question posed in Mary Lydon Simonsen’s novel The Second Date. The story is about Sonia Amundsen, a Norwegian-Italian-American beauty who goes out on many blind dates – first dates – but never a second. That’s because the 30-year-old has a very precise checklist in her head that will help her determine if and when she meets the perfect man (AKA Mr. Right). When we meet Sonia her biological clock is, of course, madly ticking.
It takes a chance of fate – a scheduled blind date reconciles with an ex-girlfriend and sends a friend in his place – for Sonia to meet someone who makes her act “a little bit nuts.” Once she meets Nick Santangelo it’s pretty clear that Sonia will not be going out on more blind dates. But will things work out?
This is the set-up for this very entertaining and well worth reading story by Simonsen... [T]his is a fine novel by a promising writer. “…what’s worse than losing someone you love? Not loving. That’s worse.” You can find the full review here: http://tiny.cc/Sj3k1