Brief Book Review: 'Starting Over' by Sue Moorcroft ~ 5 Stars!
One of the main things that I love so much about Sue Moorcroft's storytelling, is how realistic it is. We all love a good suspense or paranormal novel every now and then, but there's always something so beautiful about reading a book where you can really connect to the people, the place and the situations.
Tess is a wonderful, broken character that from the first chapter we want more than anything to see fixed. Life, (and prick of an ex-fiance Olly,) has dealt her a hard blow and left her with a deep fear of letting people into her heart, in the worry that she'll lose them.
'I’ll dump all this crap in the kitchen, shall I?’
For the first time she smiled, and it lit her face like a sunbeam on a stormy day. ‘You’re a regular Sir Galahad.’
Miles "Ratty" Rattenbury, is not what you'd call the most conventional of knights in shining armour. A car enthusiast and owner of the local garage, the relationship between Ratty and Tess gets off to a stuttering start, and whilst I have a tendency to eagerly hope and pray for the long-awaited moment where the hero and heroine both confess their undying love to each other, I was more than content with the realistic pace of their developing relationship. Tess had been hurt badly leaving her with very deep trust issues, and Ratty had not been the most committed of gents in his past relationships, so a rushed 'opposites attract' romance would have been very out of character. Instead, Moorcroft gives us a beautiful journey where Tess and Ratty move from a tentative friendship to a beautiful all consuming love which grows stronger and is endangered by Tess' fears of relationship failure and abandonment. Reading the last few chapters was a huge emotional rollercoaster, as you begin to question whether love really can conquer all.
'Starting Over' is beautifully written and, despite being a love story at heart, also gives a clear depiction of the atmosphere of Village life in 'Middledip'. As anyone who lives in a close-knit Village community would know, there are the bossy mothers who strive for perfection and are the lead of the village planning committee, the childhood sweethearts who married and had children, and the old lady you'd wave to when you passed her house. In 'Starting Over', we are shown a range of characters for whom the village of Middledip is their life, and this was one of the reasons that I loved this book so much. Under the romance, pain of the past and the hope for the future, a huge part of Tess' development is how she finds herself fitting in with Village life, and although in many situations it would be easiest for her to run away and start a new life somewhere else, she is always drawn back to her cottage 'Honeybun', unable to separate herself from her home permanently.
In short, 'Starting Over' was a beautifully honest and realistic story that had me laughing out loud and crying in despair in equal measure. 5 stars and a definite recommended read.