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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Starting Over by Charmaine Gordon

Starting Over by Charmaine Gordon
Publisher: Vanilla Heart Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (240 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Each morning, Emily Kendrick runs on the hard-packed sand of St. Augustine Beach. She runs to clear her mind and heal her heart. From the widow’s walk of the house perched high on the dunes, a man trains his binoculars on Emily…

One early morning run, he sees tears spill down Emily’s tanned face. She stumbles and falls, crumpling into a heap in the sand. . .and doesn’t get up. A lone runner reaches Emily’s side. Her watcher slams his binoculars onto the railing as he throws his coffee cup against the steel and Plexiglas windscreen…

Some days Emily Kendrick’s mind is a twisting kaleidoscope of shifting memories as she struggles to keep grief at bay after the death of her husband of thirty years. She runs on the beach to ease her mind and body. There she meets Pat Corwin who changes the directions of her life and, unknown to her, is secretly watched by another man whose warped mind dreams of possessing her.

Pat, a lawyer with mysteries surrounding much of his past, stirs a spark of life in Emily that gives her courage to be someone she’s never been before. He brings joy, fun, and love into her life, different from that which she shared with her late husband.

Input from family, friends, and the predatory Clifford Lansdale makes Starting Over thought provoking as well as captivating. It is a story with humor and complications, but most of all it is a story of a woman learning to be independent for the first time as she picks up the pieces of her past and embraces a new way of life only to have more shattering woes befall her.

The reader shares a poignant, vicarious experience with Emily that is realistic and heartbreaking at times, but joyful and full of hope at other times. How Emily handles the stages of grief is evocative. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, Emily absorbs the blows of life, accepts the inevitable, and survives to thrive.

The secondary characters are remarkable in so many ways. They add subplots and a wealth of emotions to the main story that helps the reader realize that Emily is not living in a vacuum without support and, of course, a few adversaries.

Charmaine Gordon does much more than just tell a delightful story with romance and sizzling love scenes. She also gives the reader a peek at how grief influences a surviving partner and how that person copes. Starting Over is a celebration of life.