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The Queen of New Beginnings Paperback – Oct 13 2010
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'A captivating novel of love, deception and misunderstanding'―WOMAN & HOME on It's the Little Things
James is a great storyteller―WOMAN'S WEEKLY
An excellent, compulsive read―WOMAN'S REALM
A poignant story, written with humour and emotion―DAILY MAIL
A dramatically dark tale of the joy, pain and all-consuming passion of first love―COSMOPOLITAN
A captivating read: beautifully written and heartrendingly sad―DAILY TELEGRAPH
'Three friends - Dan, his wife Sally, and her best friend, Chloe - struggle to come to terms with the devastating effects on them of the Boxing Day Tsunami...How the three battle to cope with heartache and major decisions is tenderly and thoughtfully told in this touching tale'―GOOD BOOK GUIDE on It's the Little Things
'I did enjoy this book and by the time I was halfway through it I really couldn't put it down. It's a thoughtful look at how the big events in life threaten to drown us, but it's those little things which cause all the problems. The characters are people you can warm to...It is definitely recommended'―WWW.THEBOOKBAG.CO.UK on It's the Little Things
About the Author
With an insatiable appetite for other people's business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. She finds it the best way to write authentic characters for her novels, although her two grown-up sons claim they will never recover from a childhood spent in a perpetual state of embarrassment at their mother's compulsion.
The author of many bestselling novels, including GARDENS OF DELIGHT, which won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and her recent Sunday Times top ten bestsellers, SUMMER AT THE LAKE and THE DANDELION YEARS, Erica now divides her time between Suffolk and Lake Como in Italy, where she strikes up conversation with unsuspecting Italians.
Visit her website www.ericajames.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @theericajames
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The authors' writing style captured me instantly as I was drawn into this incredibly well crafted tale.
This book tells the story of its two main characters Alice Shoemaker and Clayton Miller. Clayton is a script writer whose career has hit rock bottom after his girlfriend leaves him for his ex-writing partner. In an attempt to lay low from some very bad publicity, Clayton's agent sends him to the moors of Derbyshire to hide out under an alias. This is where our two main characters meet as Alice, doing a favour for her neighbour, is hired as his cleaner. Alice is a voice-over artist who once held aspirations of becoming an actress. Shocked with Clayton's rough appearance and rude introduction she pretends to be Katya, a Latvian cleaner, who is equally rude in return.
Before long both have their real identities revealed and Alice reveals she grew up in the house that Clayton is hiding out in. This gets Clayton and Alice talking and they begin to share things about each other, things they haven't shared with anyone else before. And this is when the trouble starts...
The thing that keeps you enchanted with this book from beginning to end is the amazing characters the author has created. Alice and Clayton are well rounded with faults and flaws and you are given an amazing insight into their pasts, revealing how they came to be the people they are. Added to this is a strong cast of supporting characters, each of whom feels like a real person and not simply another background character in a book.
After beginning the book with wariness, I cannot believe just how much I loved this book! The author tells her story with a natural rhythm and her descriptions easily allow you to picture scenes. If I had to compare her style to another author, I would say she is similar to Katie Fforde with her lovable charismatic characters and quirkiness that only the English can pull off.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. This one is definitely a keeper and I am now going to eagerly hunt down the other books this author has written.
Alice's story is very intriguing and quite sad at times. She reveals her dysfunctional childhood and the relationships she shared with her father and step-family. She pours out her heart and soul to Clayton and it's quite dastardly of him to use her feelings and emotions to benefit him. Of course he doesn't come across as a monster because for the most part he really is a nice guy. He's just been jaded and down in the dumps and is trying to crawl back out of the whole again. The best part of the story for me is at the end when Clatyon finally gets back revenge on those who had wronged him. Normally revenge is not thee best way to settle things but what happens here is hilarious and I will say, they had it coming for them especially when we find out the whole truth.
The story takes this familiar scenario: one party goes behind person's back but then falls in love with them, they think that they can still do the deed without the other finding out but of course it backfires. The couple splits angrily but then reunites later in the story and all is well. While this plot has been told many times, James puts an entirely different spin on it and makes it into a compelling story. She makes the characters believable and puts heart and soul into them. The reader sees both their flaws as well as the good that is in them. Supporting characters help to flesh out the main characters as well as we see how past events have shaped them to who they are today.
Part of the story's charm is the fact that it takes place in England. I don't know what it is about British authors but I find British chick lit to be far superior to American chick lit in many cases. This is one of them. James has an extensive backlist and I look forward to discovering more of her works.
His agent Glen told Clayton to relocate temporarily in the countryside at the Cuckoo House. There he and Alice Shoemaker meet when she arrives as the housekeeper. The house is actually her family abode and though she suffered broken hearts here, she relishes being able to come home. The pair dislikes one another from the onset yet also feels a fascination. They forge a friendship as each tells the other why he and she rusticate in the country. As they start to trust and rely on one another for emotional relief, they begin to fall in love; but both fears that feeling will lead to a fresh heartbreak with no one around to help them weather the storm.
Although the story line is linear as the plot goes as expected, the cast (London and the villagers) is superb. The support characters enhance the look at the lead pair while Clayton and Alice are nice people who each fears love having recent heartbreaks. The strong characterizations make for a tender second chance at love tale if the lead duet can take that leap of faith and trust in their respective hearts.
The only redeeming quality about this book was the character of George. She is an overbearing, brash, eccentric old lady, who had me laughing in just about every scene she was in. It was a shame that such a great character was wasted on a book like this.
I finished the book, but I hate to say it was really only because I am OCD about leaving no book unfinished once started. Unless it is just written horrendously, I WILL finish it.
This is the first book by Erica James that I have picked up, so I can't say that I will never try another one. She writes beautifully - this just wasn't the story for me.
Overall, I would recommend this book if you just want a simple, easy read to distract you for a couple of hours if you have nothing else to do.
This is the story of Alice, a voice-over artist, and Clayton, a screenwriter. Alice is good, but has come to terms with the fact that she will never be a big name actress. Clayton was once on of the best comedy writers around, but has recently hit the skids and is hiding out from a tabloid scandal. He's got writer's block and is desperate to find something to write about again. Alice has finally come back to her hometown, but is still unsure about facing her family ghosts. Her childhood was very troubling and she basically cut herself off from her family for a number of years.
One of the things I really liked about this story was that both of the main characters were flawed. It wasn't that they weren't good people, but they each had history and faults that stood in their way. Their pain and loneliness bring them together, their fears and baggage tear them apart. Healing comes slowly to these deeply troubled people. This made the characters very human.
I also liked how all the loose ends were tied up, but people's basic moral character didn't really change. This story starts a bit slow and simmers along steadily. At first you are wondering how anyone could like these people, but as more things happen you begin to understand. Not fast paced, so if you need that in a story this may not be for you. A very satisfying read.