Denial can be such a powerful emotion… When she meets her daughter Parker for breakfast on Family Weekend, Erin doesn’t expect her to show up with the woman she had sex with last night while Parker was having dinner with Erin’s ex-husband. As it turns out, Cassie is Parker’s best friend and the fact that she and Erin can’t stay away from each other doesn’t have to mean anything, right?
The thing about mainstream is you hear about books for months before you get to read them, other authors tweet and post about them, there’s a lot of buzz for a really long time and because all that buzz is so positive since it’s marketing mostly, then you have high expectations about these books and more often than not, they don’t live up to these expectations. Once in a while, however, one of them does. Mistakes Were Made is that book.
It’s been called the MILF book for months and while the nickname is accurate, it’s also extremely reductive. The plot is pretty basic but what Wilsner did with it is not. It’s complex and subtle, scorching hot and achingly sweet at the same time. Wilsner writes Cassie in a way that makes her being both Parker and Erin’s equal completely plausible. The age gap works perfectly, the age difference (Cassie is 21 at the beginning of the story, Erin is 38, Parker is 18) is real, never glossed over, never ignored, and yet never in the way. Erin and Cassie aren’t in the same place in life and sure, age is a factor but it’s not the only one and I loved that Cassie’s youth isn’t the reason for Erin’s attraction. I also loved that the one time Erin mentions being too old for whatever has more to do with being the mother of a college student (believe me, I can relate) than anything else. Also, for the record, 38 isn’t too old for anything.
The real hang-up is Erin being Parker’s mom and Wilsner conveys the discomfort, the ambivalence, the reticence beautifully. I had no trouble believing the MCs’ inability to accept feelings were involved because the author made it make sense to them even if other characters obviously rolled their eyes at their blatant cluelessness.
This book isn’t perfect, there are inconsistencies and the pacing is uneven, but I enjoyed it tremendously anyway. The narration played a big part in that. I’m not usually a fan of dual narration, I find characters having different voices in different chapters unsettling. In this case though, Quinn Riley (Cassie’s chapters) and Stephanie Németh-Parker (Erin’s chapters) have narrating styles and voices that are close enough to make the changes seamless. They’re both very good and I’m glad I went directly to the audiobook. The Earphones Award is one hundred per cent deserved. 4.5⭐️
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