Summary from BN.com: Alice knows something about the freedom of reinvention-it makes those tough years in the past a little easier to bear. So when she meets Clayton, she understands why he wants to shrug off his old life. Their unlikely friendship seems stable-until Alice discovers Clayton has betrayed her in the worst possible way.
Take a voice-over artist and a television writer who is in hiding, place them in a house together and watch them keep trying to hide things from each other. Alice and Clayton are this such pair and from the beginning of the story, the reader knows that something is going to happen between the two of them.
Alice's story is very intriguing and quite sad at times. She reveals her dysfunctional childhood and the relationships she shared with her father and step-family. She pours out her heart and soul to Clayton and it's quite dastardly of him to use her feelings and emotions to benefit him. Of course he doesn't come across as a monster because for the most part he really is a nice guy. He's just been jaded and down in the dumps and is trying to crawl back out of the whole again. The best part of the story for me is at the end when Clatyon finally gets back revenge on those who had wronged him. Normally revenge is not thee best way to settle things but what happens here is hilarious and I will say, they had it coming for them especially when we find out the whole truth.
The story takes this familiar scenario: one party goes behind person's back but then falls in love with them, they think that they can still do the deed without the other finding out but of course it backfires. The couple splits angrily but then reunites later in the story and all is well. While this plot has been told many times, James puts an entirely different spin on it and makes it into a compelling story. She makes the characters believable and puts heart and soul into them. The reader sees both their flaws as well as the good that is in them. Supporting characters help to flesh out the main characters as well as we see how past events have shaped them to who they are today.
Part of the story's charm is the fact that it takes place in England. I don't know what it is about British authors but I find British chick lit to be far superior to American chick lit in many cases. This is one of them. James has an extensive backlist and I look forward to discovering more of her works.
The Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James is published by Sourcebooks Landmark (2011)
This ARC was provided by the publisher