Review of ‘Beautiful Accidents’ by Erin Zak
Stevie Adams is a star in the Chicago improv scene and waiting for the break of her career after auditioning for Saturday Night Live (SNL). One night after a show, she joins her fellow performers when they decide to see Constance Russo, a deaf psychic. Stevie is reluctant and does not want to get a reading, but literally stumbles through the beaded curtain where she meets Constance and Bernadette Thompson. Bernie is an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter for Constance along with being her lifelong friend. Bernie and Stevie have a moment ignited by an electrical first touch. A few accidental meetings bring them together even when the relationship already has an expiration date since Stevie will be moving to New York City and Bernie lives with her elderly mother. Can their love survive all these hurdles?
The scene at the psychic where the main characters meet was great. It immediately grabbed my attention and even made me a little giddy. The tarot card reading made it all the more alluring. I have to say, I have never seen a psychic or gotten any kind of reading done. I fear hearing things and letting them influence my life. My own apprehension about the reading was mirrored by Stevie, who lost her parents in a car accident and wants nothing to do with fate. However, I can admit I was intrigued by the reading and enjoyed it (hey, it was not mine so I could!). Kudos to Ms. Zak for creating such a great and original scene.
This story also happens to be a lesbian age gap romance. Stevie is twenty-eight years old and Bernie is almost fifty. I’m not crazy about this category, but mostly it was a non-issue in this book and the chemistry was fabulous for the most part. I guess the only issue was expecting Bernie to be more independent at her age. She lives at home with her deaf but otherwise healthy mother so the need to stay home was not a great reason for the book’s events. Perhaps I’m a little on the extreme independence side but I would have totally not been ok with someone that attached to their family, especially when Bernie’s brother was leaving town after getting a promotion.
Since I’m ranting about one of the older characters, let me rant about Constance. I thought the character was great but then realized she was basically evil. She knew Bernie was in love with her and spent a lifetime under the shadow of loving a straight woman but only made it harder for Bernie to be happy. Turns out when Constance finally had to, she had the perfect advice for Bernie: ‘Start living your life for you’. Twisted, selfish love. Young Stevie with her career first mentality seemed more selfless and mature than the other two characters. So yes, I found this a little frustrating.
The book is otherwise well written with some great secondary characters. I really liked the premise of the psychic and the deaf characters, creating room for a non-typical profession such as an ASL interpreter. Improv performer was nice as well as was the inclusion of a prominent show such as SNL. We can all immediately recognize how big this opportunity was for Stevie’s character…and why the only path was for Bernie to move and leave her family behind, but I digress.
Overall an age gap romance with an interesting premise and a predictable plot. 3.5 stars
ARC generously provided to me by BSB via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.