mistakes were made coverRating: 3.75 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Growing up without a father and with an uncaring mother, Cassie Klein learned early on that depending on anyone but herself was a recipe for disappointment. She’s lucky to have found her best friend, Acacia, and have been welcomed into her family, but no one else—not students, not teachers, not authority figures—cared about Cassie. Cassie’s saving grace is her smarts and self-confidence, and with her plans to become an engineer and attend grad school at Cal Tech, she doesn’t think she needs anyone else. However, Cassie hates having her lack of family shoved in her face and plans to spend Family Weekend pleasantly distracted, starting with a drink at a bar far from campus.

In the three years since her divorce, Erin Bennett has been trying to make it up to her daughter, Parker, and while there has been improvement, it’s still hard to not feel like she’s losing a competition for her daughter’s love. Having to share her time with Parker with her ex-husband during Family Weekend is no exception, and Erin decides to console herself at a bar while her ex has dinner with Parker. Erin didn’t plan to pick anyone up, but when the cocky blonde makes a play, there is just something about her that makes refusing impossible. Post hook-up, Erin’s not thrilled to find out Cassie is a senior at her daughter’s college, but since she’ll never see her again, it can remain a hot memory. When Parker brings her new friend, Cassie, to breakfast, Erin’s shocked, but still inordinately pleased.

As the months go by, neither woman can get the other out of their heads and when Parker invites Cassie to spend part of Christmas break with her, Erin and Cassie have a hard time keeping things platonic. Between their own baggage and the added complication of their independent relationships with Parker, neither woman wants to admit they have something special, no matter how often they keep in touch and how quickly they fall into sex whenever possible. As summer comes and decisions have to be made, Cassie and Erin will be forced to examine their feelings and if they will a have a place in each other’s future.

Mistakes Were Made is a getting together story with an “it’s about the journey, not the destination” style. I feel a lot of your enjoyment will depend on how much you like the secondary relationships the MCs have with others and how well you bond with the MCs, because even though the last line of the blurb is “…they start to realize they have something real. But is being honest about the love between them worth the cost?”, the acknowledgement that they could be dating happens very late and the “honesty” and “cost” of their love is pretty much absent. While I didn’t love the journey as much as I wanted to, the writing and dialogue are solid. Cassie’s longstanding friendship with Acacia and her newer bond with Parker are heartwarming and provide a nice insight into Cassie’s walls and difficulty acknowledging and accessing her emotions. They feel like regular young adults, and not solely represented by the typical college clichés and with that youthful fragility and resilience in their relationships. Erin’s relationship with her best friend is a bit more one-note, but is still a stable, supportive bond. Erin is even more self-contained than Cassie when it comes to her non-relationship relationship and, as she’s more self-aware, there’s less a need for her friend to point out the obvious to her. The theme of not looking too closely at anything is exemplified by Cassie, because even when her real feelings aren’t obscured to her, she downplays everything to prevent it having an impact, even the positive. Cassie has limited experience with caring and love and is basically clueless about any attachment she feels for Erin, reasoning that it makes sense that she’s into a hot, smart, older woman. The fact that Cassie eventually looks forward to just talking to Erin leaves no impression, and she has few qualms about boning her best friend’s mom, because a drunken Parker gave her permission to do whatever makes her happy, so all’s good!

Erin’s major arc is that she was groomed by her mother to be a people pleaser, keep up appearances, and always sacrifice her own happiness and self-worth. Having finally reached the point in her life where she could no longer do this, she divorced her husband (who she admits she shouldn’t have married and I wonder if she ever loved) and finds a therapist to help her begin to care less about other’s opinions and value her needs. Her mantra for this is “fuck should,” which is a great sentiment, but also gets translated into “do whatever the fuck I want no matter if it hurts someone I care about,” which is harder for me to get onboard with since her second main goal is to strengthen her relationship with Parker. On the one hand, she proclaims fixing their relationship is the most important thing in the world to her, while on the other, she’s fist-pumping “fuck should” to validate her choice to continuing sexing up Cassie—a choice that is tacitly endorsed as all of the emotional fallout and work involved for Parker to get over them lying to her for nine months is done off-page to give them a quick, no mess HEA.

I don’t mind messy characters and given that the journey of the book is one of self-discovery for both Cassie and Erin, I wouldn’t have cared as much except that to me, there is little in the way of character or relationship growth despite the book being close to 400 pages; the journey overall just didn’t click for me. The MCs are relatable, but there was just something missing to make this my-BF’s-parent story stand out for me or invest in the MCs as a couple. Each woman is so deep in denial that there is not much to propel the story forward and it definitely drags at times. They spend about the first third of the story separated and trying not to think of the other, then most of their on-page interactions involve/relate to sex. While there are some sweet or touching moments on page, most of what they build is off-page during their eventual daily texting/FaceTiming.

While I personally may have wished for a bit more growth and page time to show what they are building as opposed to just being told they had built something and repeating the same beats, Cassie and Erin are both smart, confident women with great chemistry who have a lot of fun with their loved ones and each other. Mistakes Were Made is a steamy, age-gap story with complicated characters struggling to figure it all out that may delight others.

%d bloggers like this: