Thursday, 7 February 2019

Release Day Review: The Year of Starting Over by Karen King

The Year of Starting Over by Karen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was drawn to this novel because it screamed to my inner wanderlust and definitely satisfied my thirst for escapism.

Stuck in a dead-end job to supplement her work as an artist, Holly is living with her boyfriend Scott. The problem is, Holly wants her happy-ever-after and Scott doesn't appear to share her enthusiasm for making their relationship permanent. Treated like a doormat, she decides to leave him, moves out and plans a trip with money she's inherited from Pops. With determination and an action plan, she heads to Andalusia to help and work with friends she met at college. Only, the change of scenery acts as a catalyst for Holly to finally realise her dreams.

Mathias is moody, prickly and handsome … when a British tourist driving a yellow Mini on the narrow mountainous road nearly resulting in an accident, he's angry at her lack of road sense. So when the dog he's caring for ends up outside the neighbouring finca he's not happy to see the gorgeous woman driver fussing the animal. However, as time progresses he overcomes his reservations and gets to know this British woman and in doing so, heals the rift within his family too.

I read this in one sitting as I couldn't put it down. The narrative flows effortlessly and I enjoyed the contrast between Northern England and Southern Spain. Seeing Holly embrace her new surroundings and consciously thinking about how she can kick-start her career and life is inspiring. She may have been afraid of heights during the drive up to Las Mariposas but it's soon crossed off her travelling to-do list as a fear to conquer.

The frenemy to lovers romance between Holly and Matias is a slow burn. It takes time to build trust but once they become friends, I liked how the author slowly built up the chemistry and sexual tension between them. With a wonderful picture in my mind of the Beautiful Spanish backdrop, all isn't plain sailing for the protagonists as all decisions are not clear cut on their rocky road to falling in love. With a friendly collection of secondary characters to help set the scene, the overall effect is charming.

This is definitely a novel which resonated with me and even a couple of weeks after I finished reading it, it remains fresh in my mind. It's the first time I've read a novel by Ms King and look forward to picking another one soon.

***arc generously received courtesy of the publisher Bookouture***

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