Karen King returns to the blog with another lovely contemporary woman’s fiction title, full of growth, laughter and love in
The Year of Starting Over
Having read Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel by King and loving the nuanced characters, opportunities for self-discovery and growth, I wondered if she could create a similar magic with new characters and an entirely new setting. I needn’t have worried though, the character of Holly was everything that one could hope for: and her opportunities and ability to share her own growth and happiness with those around her was enchanting.
Having spent a few years in a relationship that was wholly one-sided, and ignoring her own desires, comfort and even the basic respect one should be able to expect from her partner, she’s had enough. She’s always felt that Scott was with her because she’s compromised everything, and ignored his immaturity and selfishness. But when he expects her to collect him at the airport after a ‘last minute’ jaunt to Amsterdam, she’d had enough. It wasn’t bad enough that she was sstill grieving from the loss of her grandfather, but feeling as if she was drifting without any real purpose. Her best friend suggested a list of ‘what you want to do’, and giving herself a timeframe to accomplish them – and with a bequest due from her grandfather’s estate, nowhere to live after leaving her partner, and no real ‘ties’ to anything in England, she takes an offer from a friend who relocated to the Andalusian region in Spain to help them renovate their house and outbuildings before starting their artist’s retreat in a few months.
From the moment she arrived, Holly has been spreading her wings: learning Spanish, painting and varnishing, expanding her own designs to create her own fabrics, meeting the neighbors little dog and meeting the neighbor, Matias. Well, they both got the wrong end of the stick – Matias thinking Holly is simply like all of the other women he knows – grasping and wealth obsessed. He’s renovating his aunt’s cottage for resale as she’s moved into an apartment in town, and he’s splitting his time between that and his gym – a gym he’s opened in lieu of (and to the consternation of) his parents – his father wanting him to join the family firm of attorneys. Matias doesn’t want to solely practice law however, after a serious accident left him depressed and it was the physical trainers who got him back to health and happiness – challenging him when nothing else did. The rift between he and his father bothers them both, and he’s not quite sure how to remedy it. But, Holly has a lightness and way about her that makes him want to help her – spending time with her is something he looks forward to, and enjoys despite his repeatedly stating he wants no relationship.
Slowly but surely King takes us through Holly’s steps to completing her list – a huge step requiring a ton of bravery that didn’t really occur to her – and we get to revel in the delights as she comes to fully grasp and grab at her own life and confidence with both hands. Not only the designs, but the little town, the vistas and even the weather come alive, and everyone seems to bloom and blossom in the story. From the success of Holly’s designs to her growing connection with Matias and the retreat having many satisfied customers – there is growth for everyone here and it will leave readers with a touch of jealousy in wanting to have the opportunity to do what Holly did, but smiles and everything feels very possible and plausible. A lovely read that is just the ticket for days when the winter days too long.
Title: The Year of Starting Over
Author: Karen King
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Friendship, Romantic Elements, Setting: Spain
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 7 February, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
What if instead of changing boyfriends, you changed… everything?
When Holly discovers Scott has decided to take a spur-of-the-moment holiday (and hasn’t invited her), she knows something has to change.
All she had ever wanted was to have a wonderful, loving relationship like her beloved grandparents Nanna and Pops. But that is clearly never happening for her, and definitely not with Scott. So when Pops leave her some money to ‘make her dreams come true’, she decides she’s going to change her life.
Holly is going to end the relationship with Scott which is clearly going nowhere, and instead take a year for herself to go… somewhere. Anywhere. To have a proper adventure. She’s going to find out who she really is, and what she’s good at. To brave things she could never experience from the safety of her own sofa…
Cramming her belongings into her little yellow Mini, Holly drives on to a ferry bound to Spain. And her year of changing everything.
Even when she meets a man called Matias who drives her crazy but sets her heart racing, she knows she can’t be distracted. Because this year – for Holly – there are more important things in life than love. And she won’t let yet another bad relationship ruin everything… will she?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.