Book Review: Sex, Doug, And a Rocky Road by Michele Bardsley

Sex, Doug, And a Rocky Road by Michele Bardsley is a contemporary romance that deals with divorce and finding a new beginning. Ellie Johnson has been reasonably content as a housewife and mother for fifteen years. After becoming suspicious of her husband Stan’s late nights she hires a detective to check up on him. The story opens with Ellie learning that Stan's late night activities include a buxom Australian named Rose. Feelings of betrayal, getting pulled over by an ex-boyfriend, divorce, and a custody battle lead Ellie on a personal mission to figure out where she goes from here.  Add in an alcoholic mother, a great friend with a seemingly endless supply of alcohol, and that ex boyfriend that would not mind renewing their relationship and Ellie will take readers on a ride of emotional ups and downs, including a few good laughs.

Sex, Doug, And a Rocky Road is not heavy on the romance, it is more about Ellie coming into her own. Her finding a path outside of being a housewife and mother that seems to do all the compromising to make a happy home. The soon to be ex-husband, Stan, is the very image of the controlling husband with no respect for Ellie, never mind her opinion or wants. I found myself getting tense and angry whenever he made an appearance, firmly reminding me of an ex of my own that I am glad to never have married. Doug, Ellie's ex boyfriend that makes an appearance on the scene when pulling over an inebriated Ellie, seems to be a sweet and witty man with a perfect mix of bad boy and hero. However, the romance take a backseat to the  adventures Ellie has drinking with her best friend Cindy, cleaning house, and moving forward.

I have read quite a few books from Michele Bardsley, and enjoyed them all. I liked Sex, Doug, And a Rocky Road, but not as much as I enjoyed her paranormal romances. I liked that Ellie had a journey to discover what really makes her happy, rather than what she felt like she should do. Many of us find ourselves in that trap, doing what we suspect we should to make everyone else happy rather than being happy. However, I do have some doubts that a woman with an alcoholic mother would take to recreational drinking in stressful times, especially when it did have such an impact on her own life. Although, a bottle of wine and some serious ice cream sound good to me.

Sex, Doug, And a Rocky Road is a read full of self discovery, wine, and good fun. The humor is well done, as it the devastation and realizations that Ellie goes Readers that enjoy Bardsley's style will find it here, but heavier on the character growth and lighter on the romance and fun.

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