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The Queen of New Beginnings

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A sparkling new tale from the author of A Breath of Fresh Air, for anyone who has ever dreamt of starting over   Alice Shoemaker habitually goes to great lengths to avoid telling the truth about herself and her past. After agreeing to help out a friend by shopping and cleaning for the unknown man staying at Cuckoo House, she soon becomes suspicious that her strange and obnox A sparkling new tale from the author of A Breath of Fresh Air, for anyone who has ever dreamt of starting over   Alice Shoemaker habitually goes to great lengths to avoid telling the truth about herself and her past. After agreeing to help out a friend by shopping and cleaning for the unknown man staying at Cuckoo House, she soon becomes suspicious that her strange and obnoxiously rude client has something to hide. Clayton Miller's life is a mess. His career as one of the country's best comedy scriptwriters has stalled, and his long-term girlfriend has left him for his ex-best friend and ex-writing partner. Just when he thinks his life couldn't get any worse, he commits a spectacularly public fall from grace, and with the press hounding him, his agent banishes him to the middle of nowhere until the dust has settled. When Alice and Clayton discover the truth about each other they form an unlikely friendship—until Alice discovers Clayton has betrayed her in the worst possible way.


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A sparkling new tale from the author of A Breath of Fresh Air, for anyone who has ever dreamt of starting over   Alice Shoemaker habitually goes to great lengths to avoid telling the truth about herself and her past. After agreeing to help out a friend by shopping and cleaning for the unknown man staying at Cuckoo House, she soon becomes suspicious that her strange and obnox A sparkling new tale from the author of A Breath of Fresh Air, for anyone who has ever dreamt of starting over   Alice Shoemaker habitually goes to great lengths to avoid telling the truth about herself and her past. After agreeing to help out a friend by shopping and cleaning for the unknown man staying at Cuckoo House, she soon becomes suspicious that her strange and obnoxiously rude client has something to hide. Clayton Miller's life is a mess. His career as one of the country's best comedy scriptwriters has stalled, and his long-term girlfriend has left him for his ex-best friend and ex-writing partner. Just when he thinks his life couldn't get any worse, he commits a spectacularly public fall from grace, and with the press hounding him, his agent banishes him to the middle of nowhere until the dust has settled. When Alice and Clayton discover the truth about each other they form an unlikely friendship—until Alice discovers Clayton has betrayed her in the worst possible way.

30 review for The Queen of New Beginnings

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ronnie

    (DNF) Rarely happens. Seriously. I was browsing for a good buy in a bookstore somewhere abroad when I spotted this beautiful cover. Flipping it, I enjoyed the sypnosis and decided to buy the book. Unfortunately, I didn't even manage to get to page 3 and had to drop the book altogether. It looked intriguing but the first two pages of chapter one threw me off- not in a good way. For starters, the writing style didn't appeal to me and usually I'm flexible with this area, yet somehow while reading the (DNF) Rarely happens. Seriously. I was browsing for a good buy in a bookstore somewhere abroad when I spotted this beautiful cover. Flipping it, I enjoyed the sypnosis and decided to buy the book. Unfortunately, I didn't even manage to get to page 3 and had to drop the book altogether. It looked intriguing but the first two pages of chapter one threw me off- not in a good way. For starters, the writing style didn't appeal to me and usually I'm flexible with this area, yet somehow while reading the book- it certainly caught my attention. Also, I felt there were too unnecessary punctuation, even as early in the beginning of the book. This rarely happens to me because I tend to be patient with stories- and I'm afraid this might be the first book I have dropped. I feel like I'm being an ass because I really wanted to like this book! It may sound unfair that I could easily conclude such a rash decision but I don't know, this book may be just NOT for me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Elsborg

    I have a confession. I bought 5 of Ms James' books in a pack because they were cheap. I knew she was popular, I hadn't read her and thought I'd give her a try. I've read 4 out of the 5. Three I didn't like, one of them I couldn't finish. I can see she's a very good writer but they're not my kind of books so this is a very personal review. I'm sure she deserves her success!! But this book - the Queen of New Beginnings, I liked! I think the difference between this book and the others I read was th I have a confession. I bought 5 of Ms James' books in a pack because they were cheap. I knew she was popular, I hadn't read her and thought I'd give her a try. I've read 4 out of the 5. Three I didn't like, one of them I couldn't finish. I can see she's a very good writer but they're not my kind of books so this is a very personal review. I'm sure she deserves her success!! But this book - the Queen of New Beginnings, I liked! I think the difference between this book and the others I read was the amount of attention Ms James gave to the male hero who was funny and very likeable. The plot premise of the 'betrayal' wasn't a new one - but then what is?? - it reminded me of Snap Happy by Fiona Walker where the female is the comedienne and betrays the hero. I wish I could put my finger on what it is that hasn't worked for me in the other books. The plots are fine so it must be an inability to relate to the characters. In this book - I absolutely did and I now have hope for the last book of the five.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Oh, i don't care.. i liked this book! It's not deep and thought provoking, there are no thrills or horrors or anything to make your mind work a little harder than usual, it was just enjoyable, simple and fun.. what's wrong with that? :) The main characters 'Alice' and 'Clayton' were likable and interesting, the story itself was quite fascinating once it got going a little, I don't like reading about shopaholics or other superficial stuff like that, i like these kind of reads to have at least a li Oh, i don't care.. i liked this book! It's not deep and thought provoking, there are no thrills or horrors or anything to make your mind work a little harder than usual, it was just enjoyable, simple and fun.. what's wrong with that? :) The main characters 'Alice' and 'Clayton' were likable and interesting, the story itself was quite fascinating once it got going a little, I don't like reading about shopaholics or other superficial stuff like that, i like these kind of reads to have at least a little substance, and Erica James always hits the mark, not silly or petty but not difficult to read either. I am a big fan of Erica James, out of all the books from the 'chick lit' genre, her's are the only ones that i enjoy, and enjoy them i shall!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melinda Elizabeth

    It was a bit long in the tooth and was a little dull on occasion, you want to keep your chick lit punchy and fast paced for the most part, and because of the lags in the story, only three stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Fyreball

    I've been on an alpha male kick lately (all Kristen Ashley, all the time) but decided to read some of my backlog before picking up another one (err, OK, I actually finished all of KA's books and felt guilty about the books I'd been buying from Amazon's Kindle Daily Deals...). First up, was Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James. At first, I was off to a slow start because it wasn't clear to me how the book was laid out. We meet Clayton (H) and then Alice (h) but then we dive deep into Alice's fa I've been on an alpha male kick lately (all Kristen Ashley, all the time) but decided to read some of my backlog before picking up another one (err, OK, I actually finished all of KA's books and felt guilty about the books I'd been buying from Amazon's Kindle Daily Deals...). First up, was Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James. At first, I was off to a slow start because it wasn't clear to me how the book was laid out. We meet Clayton (H) and then Alice (h) but then we dive deep into Alice's family history - what? Oh, right, because her family story is integral to the romance between Clayton & Alice, now I get it. Another reason I was off to a slow start is that Clayton is more Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones Diary than anything close to an alpha male. Given I'd been on a steady diet of alphas, this just didn't work for me. However, I stuck with it and am glad I did. Once Clayton got over his pity party and cleaned himself up, he revealed some appealing traits. The story got juicy as Alice's history revealed itself and then Clayton's backstory brought more intrigue. It all wrapped up rather neatly, with some satisfying developments for Clayton & Alice and their friends. In some ways, this book could have been titled 3 Weddings and a Funeral (I never should have brought up Hugh Grant...). I'm not sure I'll reread QoNB, but that's probably more a pronouncement on my taste for alpha male heroes and sexiness than the book. It was tightly written, well edited and satisfying on several levels. There is the plot and then several subplots and some decent relationship/chick lit developments. There is also no sizzling sex and what little action there is happens off camera, just like a soap opera. Rats! Between the slow start and the lack of both sizzle and bacon I give it four stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    *NOTE - I am not giving this book a low rating because it sucks - as I would not know, I did not get past chapter 5. I rated this book low for MY taste. I tried the keep reading but it sparked me in so many ways as your typical, predictable, angry-lady-sad-guy who will prob like each other in the end. I started reading the book because I thought it might be a good 'chick' read for me to wiz through until I chose my next book. It ended up not being the case. I am sure the author is a great writer an *NOTE - I am not giving this book a low rating because it sucks - as I would not know, I did not get past chapter 5. I rated this book low for MY taste. I tried the keep reading but it sparked me in so many ways as your typical, predictable, angry-lady-sad-guy who will prob like each other in the end. I started reading the book because I thought it might be a good 'chick' read for me to wiz through until I chose my next book. It ended up not being the case. I am sure the author is a great writer and tons of people like it - I just happen to be one of those 'other' type of people who prefer weird, harsh, blunt, rude and all the types of books that don't usually make the best seller list.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Helena

    This was the first book by Ms James I have ever read. I enjoyed it enough to try more. Both Alice and Clayton are plausible characters and are well developed. The dialogue is extremely funny at times and I really laughed out loud! Storyline predictable though. I loved George!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lorna Gilder

    An interesting easy read about the life of Alice who grew up with dysfunctional parents. As an adult she meets a writer who she shares her story with and it leads to more than she expects. An enjoyable read with good characters.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Brown

    I gave up on this book. It might be just because I'm having trouble finding a big chunk of time to read and keep losing interest. I started reading another book while getting a foot massage and will stick to it. I might come back to this one, but for now I'm putting it on my gave up on bookshelf. I need something that grabs and keeps my attention right now. So glad I went back to this one to finish! I would give it 4 stars if it didn't take me awhile to get into the book. When I picked it up agai I gave up on this book. It might be just because I'm having trouble finding a big chunk of time to read and keep losing interest. I started reading another book while getting a foot massage and will stick to it. I might come back to this one, but for now I'm putting it on my gave up on bookshelf. I need something that grabs and keeps my attention right now. So glad I went back to this one to finish! I would give it 4 stars if it didn't take me awhile to get into the book. When I picked it up again it took me a bit to remember what had happened in the first couple of chapters (i was only 20% through the book), but it all came back to me and I really liked it. I read it in two days. It was somewhat predictable, but a good, fun read. I really give it 3 1/2 stars, but you can't give 1/2 ratings on goodreads!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay♫SingerOfStories♫

    2.5 stars that I will round up to 3. I wanted to like this book BUT it seemed to drag on and on for me. In the first half, I hated that we were in present tense in Alice's POV, then present Clayton POV, then Alice telling about her past for several chapters, then present Alice, then past Alice, then present Clayton, past Clayton, present Alice....are you dizzy yet? There was so much jumping and it was not clearly established which POV and which time period we were in, I just got bored. I liked t 2.5 stars that I will round up to 3. I wanted to like this book BUT it seemed to drag on and on for me. In the first half, I hated that we were in present tense in Alice's POV, then present Clayton POV, then Alice telling about her past for several chapters, then present Alice, then past Alice, then present Clayton, past Clayton, present Alice....are you dizzy yet? There was so much jumping and it was not clearly established which POV and which time period we were in, I just got bored. I liked the basic story line of it, and the latter half was pretty decent. Definitely a book that wraps up all of its ends in a neat little bow, which made for a redeeming quality. The book had a lot of British-English which I sometimes had trouble with, but there was also a fair amount of humor that I enjoyed. Overall an okay read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Reading the blurb on the back, I rolled my eyes thinking how familiar this sounded for a Chick Lit book. I rarely read Chick Lit, but I had two options I could open it up and start reading, or I could give it back to the friend who lent it to me, smiling faintly about not having time. I took my friend's recommendation and opened the book. Hours later the book is still open and I am avidly reading. The book is full of suspense and surprises. It is impossible to put down once started. Very well wr Reading the blurb on the back, I rolled my eyes thinking how familiar this sounded for a Chick Lit book. I rarely read Chick Lit, but I had two options I could open it up and start reading, or I could give it back to the friend who lent it to me, smiling faintly about not having time. I took my friend's recommendation and opened the book. Hours later the book is still open and I am avidly reading. The book is full of suspense and surprises. It is impossible to put down once started. Very well written, leaving the reader wanting more and more right until the end. The book ends with a satisfying finish and although this may be classed as a generic Chick Lit book, there is an addictive element to it. My advice for those who consider reading it is to clear their schedule first.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    An easy read. A little contrived. Some great one-liners, and comedic writing. The characters were easy enough to understand, like or dislike. I find the whole 'beautiful but doesn't know it' theme rather tiresome on books nowadays. I swear E.L. James has read this book and based some of her character Anna on the main character of Alice in QONB. The fact that she had a habit of putting her finger to her lip, that causes stirrings in the older male character (who is naturally flawed in some way), An easy read. A little contrived. Some great one-liners, and comedic writing. The characters were easy enough to understand, like or dislike. I find the whole 'beautiful but doesn't know it' theme rather tiresome on books nowadays. I swear E.L. James has read this book and based some of her character Anna on the main character of Alice in QONB. The fact that she had a habit of putting her finger to her lip, that causes stirrings in the older male character (who is naturally flawed in some way), was a bit too familiar for me for it not to have been stolen by James. For an uncomplicated, but not exactly straightforward romance novel, this makes a perfect addition to holiday reading. It also won't have you crying into your cocktails either.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicola Clough

    An excellent story from start to end and has you wanting to know what happens next. There are many twists and turns to the characters lives and can they find true love it not. Alice was brought up in cuckoo house but her past she has never got over and when she has grown up and moved back to the area she goes to clean at cuckoo house as a favour to a friend and there she meet Clayton who is hiding as he's been accused of things so has decided to run away. Alice ends up telling Clayton her life s An excellent story from start to end and has you wanting to know what happens next. There are many twists and turns to the characters lives and can they find true love it not. Alice was brought up in cuckoo house but her past she has never got over and when she has grown up and moved back to the area she goes to clean at cuckoo house as a favour to a friend and there she meet Clayton who is hiding as he's been accused of things so has decided to run away. Alice ends up telling Clayton her life story and his writers block comes to an end and can they both be happy with what happens next and can their past be put behind them both so they can move forward well worth reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Neenee

    Another nice chick-lit for a slow paced weekend. Enough plot twists to keep my attention. Could relate with all the characters - my favourite was their old quirky neighbour. I like everywhere she's in. Major flaw for me is the inconsistent tone in the book. The book opens with something light and funny, becomes quite bleak in the middle, then back to sunny and happy in the end. Too much contrasts that sometimes it felt like it was written by two different people. Another nice chick-lit for a slow paced weekend. Enough plot twists to keep my attention. Could relate with all the characters - my favourite was their old quirky neighbour. I like everywhere she's in. Major flaw for me is the inconsistent tone in the book. The book opens with something light and funny, becomes quite bleak in the middle, then back to sunny and happy in the end. Too much contrasts that sometimes it felt like it was written by two different people.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Angela Oliver

    Fun, with engaging characters and an entertaining plot. Nothing remarkable or earth-shattering, just a tasty little feel-good novel. No real surprises, but an enjoyable enough "chocolate" book. James has a nice writing style, up there with Marian Keyes and Jane Green, although she lacks the greater depth of Keyes. Fun, with engaging characters and an entertaining plot. Nothing remarkable or earth-shattering, just a tasty little feel-good novel. No real surprises, but an enjoyable enough "chocolate" book. James has a nice writing style, up there with Marian Keyes and Jane Green, although she lacks the greater depth of Keyes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    I really really loved this book, couldn't put it down once I was a few chapters in. Loved all of the characters. My first read of an Erica James novel but I will definitely be taking a look at her other stuff now. A lot to live up to. I really really loved this book, couldn't put it down once I was a few chapters in. Loved all of the characters. My first read of an Erica James novel but I will definitely be taking a look at her other stuff now. A lot to live up to.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sky

    I finished this in a day because the story intrigued me. The first chapters got me reading on and on. But the remaining ones bore me. The story was well written. It had potential at the start. But I think the characters' development and conflicts were handled quite poorly. I finished this in a day because the story intrigued me. The first chapters got me reading on and on. But the remaining ones bore me. The story was well written. It had potential at the start. But I think the characters' development and conflicts were handled quite poorly.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bex

    I tend to enjoy Erica James books - and this one didn’t disappoint either ... Characters a little larger than life but very believable as so ... nicely structured to bounce back between past and present... nice kind of reading when you’ve really gone beyond standard chick lit!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennie Rake

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Enjoyed this story, although I found it odd that in Alice telling about her earlier life by, the chapter(s) were written in the 3rd person. In telling the other main character about that part of her life you would expect it to be told in the first person. The style and content would also be a bit different when retold. (When her father was discovered seducing a young woman on the hearth rug!) That bit didn't work for me. However, despite quite a lot of cliques in the writing (I try to keep them o Enjoyed this story, although I found it odd that in Alice telling about her earlier life by, the chapter(s) were written in the 3rd person. In telling the other main character about that part of her life you would expect it to be told in the first person. The style and content would also be a bit different when retold. (When her father was discovered seducing a young woman on the hearth rug!) That bit didn't work for me. However, despite quite a lot of cliques in the writing (I try to keep them out of my work) I enjoyed it. The ending was predictable, but I like a happy ending, so I was satisfied that the baddies got what they deserved and the goodies survived and triumphed.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    This had such potential as a novel about the healing power of love. At the very least, the story of Alice, Clayton, George and Isabel would have made a pleasant summer read, but any interest in these characters and their struggles was ruined for me by the ghastly Stacy and Bazza, whose inclusion in the plot, like hiss-boo villains in a pantomime, rendered it over the top and childish. Disappointing, as I've read a couple of other books by this author and enjoyed them. This had such potential as a novel about the healing power of love. At the very least, the story of Alice, Clayton, George and Isabel would have made a pleasant summer read, but any interest in these characters and their struggles was ruined for me by the ghastly Stacy and Bazza, whose inclusion in the plot, like hiss-boo villains in a pantomime, rendered it over the top and childish. Disappointing, as I've read a couple of other books by this author and enjoyed them.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brandi Six

    So I have a confession I only made it to about chapter 10 at this book but that took me two weeks to get to and I usually finish a book in 2 or 3 days. I just could not get into this book I really wanted to read it such, but I just struggled and struggled with it and ended up giving up.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Linda Louch

    The quote at the beginning of this book 'All families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way truly' comes alive in the complex story of interesting characters. I really enjoyed this happy, sad and colourful book. The quote at the beginning of this book 'All families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way truly' comes alive in the complex story of interesting characters. I really enjoyed this happy, sad and colourful book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    A little predictable in places and it felt a bit like the reintroduction of Rufus and Natasha towards the end wasn’t really warranted or maybe the way it turned out was rushed. I am, however really enjoying Erica James’ novels at the moment.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Louise Witts

    Really enjoyed the first half but the second half was a bit waffly & overlong.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Din

    A very slow read. I thought it would get more exciting but the story never seemed to take off. The characters were difficult to connect with. Disappointed with the story.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Liz Craig

    Cleverly written, a joy to read. Multiple charming, endearing characters. Loved this one!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Good

    Predictable story with good dialogue.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Loved it! Quirky characters with lots of depth, hysterically funny at times - poignant in others, a really good book. My first read by this author, but not my last!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon Thompson

    Good story, good writer, bad editing. The publishers needs to tighten it up. But again, the writer and story are great!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pippa

    I loved this book. I am no good at analyzing stories, I either like them or I don't. I found this story entertaining and a lot of fun. It was very easy to visualise the characters. I loved this book. I am no good at analyzing stories, I either like them or I don't. I found this story entertaining and a lot of fun. It was very easy to visualise the characters.

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