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The Queen of New Beginnings Hardcover – 4 Feb 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (4 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409101843
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409101840
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 416,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More 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.

Product Description

Review

You know you have made it as a storyteller writer when readers simply cannot put your book down ... Erica James has this page-turning ability in abundance ... I wouldn't have thought this writer could get any better but she has! (WELSH COUNTRY)

Book Description

If you've ever dreamt of starting over, then this sparkling bestseller from Erica James is just what you need...

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Best Crime Books TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Clayton Miller has lost everything. He was one of the country's best selling comedy script writers. His writing partner and best friend Bazza drops a bombshell and leaves not only the partnership but takes Claytons long term girlfriend Stacey with him. Clayton is on the edge and when the press start hounding him, his agent decides that a break out in the sticks where nobody knows him will do him good until the media hype dies down. Clayton moves into a house through rented by one of his agents friends. When he arrives he doesn't expect to see anybody, so when a cleaning lady turns up from the agency he is shocked. Alice Shoemaker is the cleaner, except what Clayton doesn't realise is that she is actually a Voiceover artist and is doing this job to help out a friend. Alice quickly realises that this rude and obnoxious man is acting suspiciously. Clayton in turn is also realising that Alice is not quite telling the truth. Over time the two of them form a friendship but what they don't realise is the extent of the deception that both of them are guilty of.

I have read each and every one of Erica James' books. I have always enjoyed them and rated them at least 4 out of 5, except for her last book `It's the little things'. I was disappointed to a certain extent and only gave it 3 out of 5, so I was hopeful that this book would be an improvement on her last as I have always enjoyed her books. Thankfully this one is a definite improvement.

The story is pretty quick to gather momentum and I fell for the characters almost immediately, which is always a positive in my eyes. Clayton is a great character and although the beginning of the story introduces him to us as a bitter and grumpy man you can't help but feel for him.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Sept. 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I find Erica James' books something of a mixed bunch. I have thoroughly enjoyed many of them but some I've found virtually impossible to read. This book, however, I did enjoy. Alice lives in a small village in Derbyshire and provides voiceovers for advertisements and reads audio books for a living. She enjoys her job and is happy with her life though she rarely talks about her past. But that is about to change when she is asked to clean the house of a newcomer to the village as a favour to her neighbour who runs a cleaning agency.

Ralph Shannon has his own secrets and is trying to build a new life for himself and get rid of his long standing writers' block. He is hiding under an alias to escape from the bad publicity attached to his previous messy private life and some ill considered actions he took when under stress which attracted nationwide publicity. Alice and `Ralph' strike up an uneasy friendship but their many secrets will need to be told before either can build a new relationship.

The plot is complex with many memorable characters both past and present. I liked Alice and the elderly eccentric lady in the village known as George and I was less keen on `Ralph' though he is the sort of character who grows on you as you read the book. There are some very funny scenes - especially towards the end and the finale is just perfect. Village life is well portrayed and I liked the interactions between all the characters. Maybe Alice's previous life did not need to be portrayed in such detail and I found it a little tedious reading this section of the book but the rest of the story more than made up for it.

My only quibble is in the formatting of the e-book which leaves very large gaps between paragraphs especially in sections of dialogue.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By LEP VINE VOICE on 11 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very enjoyable read and in one place laugh out loud funny (Clayton hiring what he thinks are garden gnome sized cute toy animals, for Stacey and Bazza's garden, as way of an apology).

I wont do a detailed synopsis because the previous reviewer has already done one. As the grumpiness and irritation dies down on the part of Clayton and Alice, she agrees to tell him the story of her childhood (up until the age of 18) in Cuckoo House, in return for his story of what really happened between him, Bazza and Stacey. That is really the main hinge of the story, plus what happens next when Clayton unlocks his writer's block.

I really enjoyed it and it flows well, holding you to the developing story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Rucroft VINE VOICE on 14 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
In this book we are introduced to two characters, Alice and Clayton. Throughout the book we learn of their two stories (I can't really say what they are, or it would spoil the book) but both had me racing through, to get the next 'installment'.
In Alice's story we go back to the 1990's and in Clayton's we go back just a month, or so. How they influence each other's futures is the thing that you don't see coming, but is so cleverly done. I zipped through this book and found it very hard to put down. Lots of things happened, but they all 'fitted' perfectly and added so much to the story. The cover is also beautiful.
It lost half a star because when we went back in Alice's story, it didn't feel like it had been 'set' right. We are told that Alice listens to Take That on her CD player, so that means it's 1990's, but it felt more like 1930's/1940's. This detracted a little bit from the story for me.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. It's my first Erica James, but it won't be my last.
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