The Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James

My Rating: 4/5

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. He is like a duck out of water having previously lived his whole working life in London. Now he finds himself out in the sticks with just fields for company.

The initial meeting with Clayton and Alice is also quite funny and the author has written it incredibly well with just the right dose of humour. Her books in the past sometimes are meaningful and sometimes more the romantic type but with this one she seems to have hit the mark and got the balance just right.

We meet a few characters along the way which I can imagine fitting in perfectly in the village. We meet the crazy neighbour known as George. Her first meeting with Clayton sets the scene perfectly for just how eccentric the old lady is. We also meet Ronetta, Alice’s next door neighbour and friend along with her son Bob who has a soft spot for Alice.

The character Stacey is the perfect woman that we all love to hate. Selfish, money grabbing and very cold hearted. Although Bazza has done the dirty on Clayton you can’t help but root for him. I wouldn’t like to add spoilers but the way things end with Stacey was absolutely perfect!

The story is told with snatches of Alice’s past built in to explain the current state of play and it makes for fantastic reading. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought that it was a perfect mix of all that a reader wants. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t rate the book as a 5 star because there are other books that I have read very recently that in comparison are much better, but it was a great read all the same. I will continue to read Erica James and only hope that her books continue being this enjoyable. 

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