I received an ARC of this from Headline Eternal in exchange for an honest review.
The Nitty Gritty
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Headline Eternal
Published: 8th June 2021
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥
Links to Buy: Amazon, Waterstones, Bookshop
Official Blurb (taken from Goodreads):
What would you change if you had to start your life – and love life – over again?
When Emma Harris wakes up from a coma she learns that her fiancé and her BFF have fallen in love, she’s lost her job, and the life she knew is gone.
Starting over is not going to be easy – especially with her hot but evil physical therapist, Simon, putting her through the wringer in rehab, and her childhood nemesis Ali back in her life and taking the term ‘frenemies’ to a whole new level.
But Emma has never been a quitter. And as she grows from the pain of her past and takes on her new path, she comes to realize that life isn’t what you’re given, it’s what you make of it.
So this story is about Emma, who has just come out of a year in rehab, after spending the two months previous in a coma. Her life is now a complete mess, her fiancé is having sex with her best friend, she struggles to get into her new apartment building on the second floor (stairs are her new nemesis), and no one will hire her because she’s been out of work for a year. She’s determined to start life as a new Emma 2.0 but life just keeps throwing obstacles at her.
Luckily in her corner is Simon, her PT and the one who found the apartment for her. He’s also one of the three POVs in the book and is dealing with his own problems. Mainly that he’s struggling between his responsibilities to his father, and his own wishes to quit the family business and be a full time PT. He’s also forming a strong attraction to Emma which goes against his professional instincts.
Our last POV is Allison, a woman who had a rough childhood and is now struggling to open herself up. She’s lost the man she loves because she was unwilling to make the effort with his family, and she desperately wants him back and decides that to do that, she needs to change and make friends! Unfortunately things aren’t quite that easy.
So we’re up to book seven in the Wildstone series and honestly this series is so good at melding the emotions and growth of several characters in one book. I love this more women’s fiction bent to Jill Shalvis’ books, she definitely excels at it and I’m eager to see more by her.
What I most enjoyed about this one was seeing how all their lives intertwined with one another and I adored seeing their relationships grow–especially the budding friendship between Allison and Emma. There was a lot of animosity to begin with but it was lovely seeing them grow closer and finally putting the past behind them.
I wasn’t as convinced by the romance which seemed a bit forced to me. Simon is pretty taken with Emma right from the start, and Emma is very taken…with his muscles. It also kind of weirded me out a little that he’s actually her PT and is pretty important to her recovery. I felt a relationship between them was a bit taboo, but then it’s pointed out in the book that he’s not her doctor, or psychiatrist so I think it might have just been a me problem haha. Also Simon was a little too perfect and patient at times for me 😂
I have to give a shout out to the doggy stars in this book! I cannot even begin to describe how much I loved Hog, the emotional support dog who really isn’t. I just wanted to give him a huge hug through the pages! He sounds like my sort of dog 😂
Overall if you’re looking for a sweet, emotional journey to recovery and a new life, Love for Beginners is a wonderful choice. There’s friendship, romance and a wonderful message that it’s never too late to start over and make your life better.