The Queen of New Beginnings, Erica James

| 6 August , 2010 | Reply

Andrea Parks

Everyone\’s got a story. Who you tell it to and what they do with it is another story entirely&The Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James.

A minor celebrity, Clayton escapes London to avoid the public backlash from his shameful behaviour (related to his ex-wife and ex-writing partner\’s blossoming relationship). He is a scriptwriter who gained major success with a very popular sit-com with “Friends”-like stature. Now he is out of work, has writer\’s block, a broken heart, and no idea what to do next.

Enter playful Alice Shoemaker. She meets Clayton when she fills in as a housekeeper at Clayton\’s temporary home in the country – Cuckoo House. As it turns out, this is Alice\’s family home and while happy to finally have access to it, she has a somewhat haunted history of heartbreak here.

Clayton and Alice are intrigued by one another from their first meeting (of course they don\’t realize it at first and don\’t really like one another&). Both characters have equally compelling reasons for isolating themselves in the English countryside.

Alice eases into a friendship with Clayton that gives them both a much-needed feeling of security. She is able to tell the story of her life at Cuckoo House that helps her to reconcile her past with her stagnant present. Clayton too is able to unload some of his emotional baggage to Alice and begins to heal from his own personal horror story.

Once their history is shared, their love story takes over. The novel progresses nicely, with the expected (and unexpected) complications and triumphs that keep this genre ever-popular.

Clayton and Alice are genuine, likable characters and this story is peppered with great minor characters like Stacey, Clayton\’s ex, and George, the village\’s eccentric old lady and her randy rooster, Percy, among others.  There are some laughs to be had in this enjoyable story. As always, I love a happy ending!

Available now: Hachette RRP$32.99


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