Review of This Used to Be Easier by Katia Rose
I’ve been following this author on social media since I read Catch and Cradle, and then her novella Stop and Stare. Ms. Rose writes mostly m/f romances but This Used to Be Easier is her third f/f book.
Meg Doyle just graduated and was about to go to Europe for an internship when it got canceled last minute. Now she has to return to her small hometown to live with her parents to figure out what to do in the future. To make matters worse, at every turn she meets Connie Shipley, her former high school sweetheart, the girl who broke her heart…
This is a new adult, small-town, second chance rom-com between two former best friends who lost contact with each other after Meg left for college in Montreal. The small-town backdrop sets the overall tone of the story where typically everyone minds their neighbours’ business and people tend to be more conservative and judgemental about other people’s lives. Not the best of environments for Meg, an openly lesbian or for Connie, a closeted one.
I loved the character development in this novel, for both the main and secondary characters. Talking about the latter, my favourites were Pat the Pervert, and Meg’s mum who tries to bond with her daughter by asking the most inappropriate and, at the same time, hilarious questions. Both Meg and Connie are absolutely sweethearts and the reader has the feeling early on that they belong to each other. It’s very easy to root for them.
There is an interesting counterpoint between Meg and Connie’s relationships with their respective parents. Even though Meg’s mother has a clear issue with boundaries, and her dad tends to be reserved, Meg feels that she is accepted and loved. Connie’s parents, meanwhile, have rigid expectations for her and a set of strict conservative rules. This is the cause of Connie’s high level of anxiety and panic attacks. I liked the way Connie’s mental illness was dealt with in the story and it helped me empathise with her past life choices and root for her journey of self-discovery and independence.
I won’t say much to avoid spoilers but I loved the author’s take on the small town vs. big city trope which sets this book apart from most. I also loved the message of tolerance towards diversity and the thoughtfulness for mental health issues without losing the overall romantic comedy tone. If you are looking for an entertaining, romantic, and sometimes deep new adult Rom-com, this one is for you. 4.5 stars.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.