Starting Over Paperback – 30 Nov 2009
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A delight to read. Full of laughter and tears. --Katie Fforde
~Nothing soothes the soul quite like a well-crafted romance. This novel revolutionises a genre familiar to Romantic Novelist Association members (such as Moorcroft) by subverting a great many romfic clichés. Sure there's plenty of conflict, and romantic stuff happens with a good heat level, but all the main characters are given equal weight: no objectification of besotted heroine by brooding hero .... This isn't just romance, this is literary Viagra.~ --The Woman Writer Magazine for The Society of Women Writers & Journalists
~Moorcroft writes a thoroughly engaging, utterly believable, occasionally moving, often funny tale; with just the right amount of sauciness where some over spice, Moorcroft gets the balance spot on. Chic lit can often be predictable, unrealistic in it's over romantic portrayal of the relationship between men and women and worse: entirely dependent on the rampant sex scenes. But with Moorcroft, or at least, with Starting Over, you get the sense that the blossoming relationship in all its little foibles, nuances and problems is the real core of the novel. Starting Over is pure self indulgence. And maybe it was just me, but don't worry if you shed a little tear at the end, we won't tell if you don't.~ --The Truth About Books - Honest Reviews about Real Books.
About the Author
Sue is an accomplished writer of novels and short stories, as well as a creative writing tutor. She's also the fiction judge at Writers Forum. Her previous novels include Family Matters, Uphill All the Way and A Place to Call Home. She is also the commissioning editor and a contributor to Loves Me, Loves Me Not, an anthology of short stories celebrating the Romantic Novelists Association's 50th anniversary. Sue's a regular guest on Liz Rhodes Chat Room at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. Sue's Choc Lit novels include: Starting Over (Nov 09), All That Mullarkey (June 10), Want to Know a Secret? (Nov 10) and Love & Freedom (June 11). Love & Freedom won the Festival of Romance Best Romantic Read Award 2011.
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Sue Moorcroft creates three dimensional and believable people, and while some of her minor caricatures were rather stereotyped, I liked the two main protagonists, and also a teenage boy who is badly bullied at school.
The ending takes a direction I wasn’t expecting, revealing more about Honor’s past and also her marriage, and then eventually leads to the expected and satisfactory conclusion.
Overall I liked this book, and am glad I read it; but don’t feel that I can recommend it to friends due to the ‘adult’ nature of so much of the language and some detailed bedroom scenes later in the book which don't suit the author's style and rather spoiled the flow of the otherwise enjoyable book. Three and a half stars would be fairer.
Read on my Kindle while travelling.
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.
I like Sue Moorcroft's books. Her writing style is easy and flows well. This is the third book of hers that I have read and enjoyed. Although her stories are formulaic and always involve a heroine who is running away from some crisis or drama, they are an enjoyable piece of escapism.