The Queen of New Beginnings

The Queen of New Beginnings

Book - 2010
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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.
Publisher: London : Orion, c2010.
ISBN: 9781409101857
9781409101840
Branch Call Number: FICTION JAM
Characteristics: 374 p. ; 24 cm.

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s390325
May 04, 2017

I thought this was an intriguing, interesting story, I liked it enough to stay up half the night to finish it! I don't think the title fits the book- "New Beginnings" might be a bit closer to the substance of the story. Although there are some references to Alice moving frequently and changing jobs as a younger woman, that is not really what the book is about- it is about Alice dealing with the trauma of her childhood for the first time, falling in love with someone who betrays her trust, and Clayton's coming to grips with his career and personal issues. I'd say he has more of a "new beginning" than Alice does. Clayton comes off as a bit of a crank initially and it is hard to believe that he's supposed to be Alice's love interest, but after a while he becomes much more likeable. (Spoiler alert) While it's great that Alice's story breaks his writer's block, it is reprehensible that he writes about it and sells the story before he even tells her what he's doing. At least he finally does tell her... but I feel like his integrity takes another hit when he rips up the letter from Rufus and throws it out of the window, just when he and Alice are starting to talk to each other again. I don't think there is enough of an explanation for why Alice forgave him... I don't know if I would, at least not that quickly. I get it that George's stroke and insistence on watching the program brings them together, and that she feels that he accurately portrayed her father and (I assume) the other characters in her story. Perhaps she feels indebted that due to the tv program, she meets Isabel and her half-sister, and learns more about her father's final years and how much he loved her. I think there should be more apologizing and proof of trustworthiness before she lets him back into her life. I thought George was a great character, and the most interesting character in the book. I'm glad that Clayton and Bazza become friends again, but once again, if your best friend stole your girlfriend and broke up your collaborative writing partnership, I think it would take a lot more than one drunken confession and apology to regain trust in him. What they do to get revenge on Stacey is (I guess) supposed to be funny but I don't think it's morally right and makes me lose respect for the characters involved. They could have just had Bazza tell the public he was lying and it seems like that would have accomplished the same end, in a less dramatic way, especially once they start writing together again. I do like happy endings and to have all the ends tied up at the end of a story, but in this book I felt like it was too much, and too much to be believable! So Clayton gets vindicated publicly after being vilified, Stacy becomes friends with Isabel and feels like she has a family now that she's met Grace and found out more about her father and Isabel's relationship. And unsurprisingly Alice and Clayton are back together and he proposes. That in my opinion would have been fine for the happy ending wrap up, but then they have to add on Bob finding love, Alice inheriting George's house and money, and the re-appearance and defeat of Rufus and Natasha. Although I would say that Rufus not becoming a doctor was probably enough defeat in itself (I would think you still could even if you were paralyzed). Oh, and Isabel and Bazza getting together too; really over the top. I know this sounds cynical but this isn't a Disney movie where even the evil step-sisters are forgiven, so the excess of happy wrap-ups makes it surreal and unbelievable. Especially once you realize that since George left Alice the house and her money, she probably doesn't have to work again... so that puts her in a different category than the average chick lit reader. Nonetheless, I did enjoy this book and will probably read more from this author! : )

d
DutchieRenske
Dec 12, 2013

Nice book, I liked the story, a bit different than usual.

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