Rough Around The Edges by Crystal ChardRough Around The Edges by Crystal Chard is a quirky romance that highlights the importance of chasing your dreams, taking a chance on love and learning the art of forgiveness.

Roxanne Mackenzie cannot believe how far she has strayed from following her dream of becoming a writer and she is downright embarrassed with the way she’s been living her life so far. People are fond of saying that everything happens for a reason but Roxanne just can’t understand what are the reasons for her mum’s illness and the downward spiral her life had taken after she moved to London.

After meeting Josie Calhoun—the woman who is perfect in every sense of the word; Roxy begins to question every poor decision she has ever made.

Josie lives an open and honest life and she can’t stand it when someone dear to her heart lies to her.

Will Roxanne’s shocking secret bring an end to her promising relationship with Josie?

The Characters

Roxanne ‘Roxy’ Mackenzie is in survival mode. She despises her job but it pays the rent, puts food on her table and it covers some of her mum’s medical expenses. My heart really went out to Roxy because she felt as though she had to give up on her dreams of being a writer and stay in a job she hated in order for her to be able to take care of her mum. Even though I wasn’t pleased about the amount of lies Roxy told, I must admit that I truly admire her resilience and her fun-loving personality in the face of so many personal challenges. I’m still holding out hope that one day I’ll be able to go through my kindle so that I could meet up with Roxy and Clara because I know that we would have an awesome girls’ night out!

Josie Calhoun is a psychology professor and she loves anything written by Rumi. Josie stole a huge chunk of my heart with the way she expressed her love for Rumi’s poems and I also adored the fact that she is a huge fan of the great outdoors. She is definitely a one-in-a-million kind of lady because she is always willing to be a safe haven for those in need and she doesn’t look out for anything in return. If Josie was a real woman, I would be first in line to date her and my U-Haul would be fully packed, gassed up and ready to go!

The Writing Style

I can’t believe this is a debut novel because Crystal Chard has done a fabulous job of giving me flawed, relatable and lovable characters and beautiful descriptions of London and the Welsh landscape. Even though the story was told from Roxanne’s point of view, I did not feel as though the story was one-sided at all because I was able to understand what Josie was going through and her lovely personality came through loud and clear. This author has definitely earned a coffee cup honor from me because this story flowed effortlessly without any forced drama or lags in the storyline.

The Pros

I’m a huge sucker for romance novels that make me laugh out loudly in public spaces and this story did not disappoint. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost spat out my tea or choked on my chocolate biscuits while I was reading this story because there were so many humorous moments between Roxanne and her mum and Clara. I also had a hard time with sneaking a read during my online work hours because my one-hour lunch break would turn into a two-hour book binge! Last but certainly not least, I just love the way the author used Rumi’s priceless poems throughout the story because he is one of my favorite poets and I am so happy that Josie happens to be a fan of his work as well.

The Cons

I have serious issues with people who tell lies and I was really bothered by the fact that Roxanne had told a lot of lies to her family members, close friends and Josie.

aprils favourite booksThe Conclusion

This story is so much more than a humorous romance because it has a lot of priceless life lessons embedded within it. Once you’ve made the decision to devour this gem of a book, just make sure that you have a clear schedule, a cozy reading nook and your favorite treats are nearby because you wouldn’t want to stop reading or laughing after you get past the first page!

Excerpt from Rough Around The Edges by Crystal Chard

“Oh. Erm. Sorry, I didn’t mean to barge in. You don’t usually have visitors at this time. Ignore me, I’ll pop back later.” The figure turned and began to head back out the door.

“No, wait. It’s fine,” I called after her, “It’s just a flying visit, don’t let me interrupt you, do what you have to do.” I beckoned the visitor back, expecting to see a nurse, but as she stepped into the room, the nice clothes and absence of a nurse’s uniform was evident. The girl – correction – woman walked towards me in two long strides and held out her hand. “Hi, I’m Josie Calhoun. I’m sorry for barging in. I read to Susan a couple of times a week, and she’s usually alone at this time.” She took my hand and shook it with assurance.

I turned to face Mum and narrowed my eyes at the revelation. “News to me.” I struggled to keep the accusation from my tone.

Mum became fascinated by her glass of water. I shifted my attention back to this Josie Calhoun.

“Did you just say you read to my mum?” I didn’t give her time to answer. “What type of thing do you read?”

Josie hesitated and looked at Mum, who shrugged and remained unusually quiet. Josie turned back to me. “Poetry mostly, sometimes stories too, anything I come across during the week really that I think she might appreciate. Haven’t told me to piss off yet have you, Susan?” Her affectionate smile revealed two perfectly formed dimples.

“Poetry, huh?” I raised my brows at Mum before remembering my manners and turning back to Josie.

“Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude. I’ve just not heard about any of this, and if you know my mother dearest, you’ll know it’s unheard of for her to not share. I’m Roxy by the way, I probably should have already said that.”

Josie feigned shock. “Huh? Your mother? Susan, you never told me you have a daughter. I’m sorry, Roxy, but I’m afraid I’ve not heard a thing about you.” A smile tugged at her lips.

“Oh, really?” I found her little dig kind of amusing.

“No, not really. She literally hasn’t shut up about you since the day I met her. I feel like I’ve known you for years. It’s nice to finally meet you.” Josie’s eyes crinkled at the corners as they held on to mine.

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Bits and Bobs

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Note: I received a free review copy of Rough Around The Edges by Crystal Chard. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site.

About the author

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My name is April Adams and I am an accountant at a civil service office. Even though I read a wide variety of lesbian fiction, I enjoy mystery and thriller books the most because I love the state of suspense the stories have me in until the end and I find out “who’s done it.”