Maybe This Time is the second installment in Jennifer Snow‘s brand new Colorado Ice series. The author entangles such romantic tropes as finding a second chance at love, transforming a dismal situation into the best turn-of-events that could ever happen to a character, and discovering happiness after returning home. The contemporary romance brings together two would-be high school sweethearts who become true sweethearts over a decade after their graduation. The author offers readers hope that missed chances in youth can re-enter once maturity makes one ripe for a lasting romance to blossom.
Worn out and distrustful of men, Abigail Jansen returns home to her parent’s house in Glenwood Falls, Colorado with her nine year old daughter Dani. Her decision is a reaction to catching her husband Dean in a ménage a trois with two women, and wishing to return to a simpler time in her life. Without hesitation, she divorces Dean and at the same time she crushes her faith in men while fostering a deep dislike for hockey players, Dean’s profession. This background information is laid out concisely for the reader in the opening chapters.
Not surprising, Abigail’s daughter develops a passion for the sport and shows a desire to play on her new school’s hockey team in the hopes of joining the Junior Hockey League someday. Dani’s choice causes conflicts with her mother, which the author works out through heated dialogue and moments of introspection among the characters. Their arguments force readers to be involved, making them choose between the protective mother or the adventurous daughter who feels a connection to her father through the sport.
The hockey coach at Dani’s school is Jackson Westmore, a would-be pro hockey player who comes from a family of pro hockey athletes. To complicate the plot, Jackson graduated with Dean and had a crush on Abigail since he was fifteen. The reader learns that Abigail chose to date Dean in high school but she never knew that Jackson harbored romantic feelings for her. Their relationship is complicated by Jackson’s repressed feelings coming to the surface, causing friction with Abigail.
Snow keenly weaves flashbacks from Abigail and Jackson’s youth, inviting readers to relive these moments that brought the characters to where they are in the present. She intertwines drama and humor between Jackson and Abigail with fragments of role reversal. Jackson acts like the sensitive and nurturing motherly figure who understands Dani’s passion while Abigail comes off as the overbearing fatherly figure who believes she knows better than her daughter. Their reaction to choices made and the dynamics of their relationship are relatable to the human condition, presenting situations that real people face daily and feelings that readers can share with the characters.
Snow writes the story in a way that allows readers to identify with either Jackson or Abigail as a parent figure while drawing them into the conflict and sharing the joy the pair experience when their romance blossoms. The happily ever after ending makes for a credible conclusion for two would-be high school sweethearts.