Starting Over (ARC review) – Visiting old friends

The following review is part of my being in the author’s review team, which ensures that you can read it before the book comes out.

Sometimes, I simply want to forget that there is such a thing as life, as work, as war, as disease, and drown myself in a good book that has no other things than simple things. So receiving the latest Cherry Blossom Point as an ARC is a total blessing.

Because for a day, I can simply forget about life, about work, about war, about disease, and drown myself in a good book that has no other things than simple things. (Yes, the repeat is intentional.)

But wait. “Simple things” does not mean that there is nothing in the book or in the story. It only has no mystery, no hard-packed action, nothing but… peace and life. The perfect escape. The good thing? Even if you haven’t read any of the previous books, you won’t feel lost for a second. (Although I do recommend the previous four because I love them and the characters to bits.)

What the book is about

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Starting Over

Series: Cherry Blossom Point, book 5

Author: Christine Gael

Date published: 23 March, 2022

Pages: 201


After a terrible skiing accident leaves Sadie’s son Wyatt struggling to walk, she puts everything else aside to care for him. She knows she needs to let the experts do their jobs, but mother knows best. And when Wyatt’s new physical therapist takes a tough love approach, she nearly loses it. Pushing the boy past his breaking point isn’t the path to healing, no matter what too-handsome-for-his-own-good Trent seems to think. He might be bigger and stronger, but her son, her rules. If he doesn’t like it, he knows where the door is…

It’s been a rough year, but Gemma Davis is finally falling into a routine with her newborn and coming to grips with the death of her husband. She has to admit, she couldn’t have done either without Patrick Ives. He’s not only been a shoulder for her to lean on, he’s also been a shoulder for baby Cara to spit up on and a confidant for her older son, Liam. But both she and Patrick have taken chances on love in the past, and both of them wound up in a world of hurt for their troubles. Is it too soon to open her heart and home to another man, or is he exactly what the little family needs right now?

Lena Merrill thought she never wanted kids…until now. But she and Owen haven’t been together that long, and her biological clock is ticking. It’s now or never…she needs to go for broke or put this dream to rest for good.

Like visiting old friends

Every time I open a new book from this series, I feel like knocking on my Kindle so they would open the door to me. Because to be frank, reading any book from it is like visiting old friends. Even the first? Yes. Because I already knew Nikki and her half-sister Anna from Bluebird Bay, of which Cherry Blossom Point is a spinoff.

If you are a first time reader, it will be meeting new, great people. If you are a returning reader, you know how I feel.

Through the books, I have seen the Merrills evolve from angry, unsure, dejected middle-aged people to people who have hope and have learnt how to make the best of their lives in the best way they can. Like many of us, in other words.

I had a moment, when I read Starting Over, when I simply read a scene and fist-pumped Gayle with a felt “Way to go, woman!”, or when I burst into tears because of Lena, or because of Jo’s pup. And wept for Gemma. Because what they live, what they feel, is many of our realities.

That is why I love this series and these characters so much. They’re like old friends, with their struggles, their little or big victories, their heartaches, their doubts, everything.

Score a million for Christine Gael and her knack of writing reality in such a beautiful way.

Falling for the PT

The main part of the book is Sadie falling for Trent, he son Wyatt’s physical therapist. She fought tooth and nail against the attraction she felt for this laid-back, amazing-looking man, because he is, after all, responsible (and paid) for bringing her son back in shape after his terrible skiing accident.

However, there is this chemistry between them which, many years after she and Jack Merrill divorced, makes her feel like a woman again, and not just like a mother and a business owner.

Can she take the plunge and put herself first for once?

Baby lust, family woes

Then there are Lena Merrill and Gemma McKenna, who both struggle with issues of their own.

For the former, it is a massive case of baby lust, when her sister-in-law gave birth to a perfect little baby girl. But at 48, can she still fulfil that dream? And would Owen want a family of his own?

For the latter, it is dealing with being a single mum and realising that she is developing strong and not-so-friendly feelings for her neighbour, Patrick, and his hurricane of a daughter, Zoe. However, there is yet another hurdle thrown Gemma’s way, one that I am looking forward to the next book to find out how and if it will get resolved.

My verdict

I admit: two months will be a long time for me to wait for my next visit to Cherry Blossom Point, but that is when the next book, False Start, is scheduled to come out. Yes, that’s how much I love this series and the characters, and this book is more than worthy of a

Peaceful five stars!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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