Starting OverStarting Over by Annalise Blaze
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Hope Winters is a fiery red head starting her life over after a terrible marriage and divorce. She is a forty something mom of two grown girls, one in the military deployed overseas, one in college so she can now focus on herself. Hope has just opened her dream business with best friend Lilli catering home style cuisine to parties big and small. Little did she know an interview for a catering job would change her life.

Enter Rafe Lacroix, businessman millionaire who falls for Hope the second he lays eyes on her. He’s interviewing caterers for his sisters 25th anniversary party when Hope walks through his office door. Looking like the woman he’s always dreamed of.

The story had a brilliant heroine in my eyes. It had something not often touched on in this genre. An older woman who has gone through what a lot of us women have (childbirth, hormones, changing body etc.) getting a second chance at romance and also what I loved, passion. Rafe wakes up desires in her she thought died with her terrible marriage. It was refreshing not reading about the perfect size 2 heroine. Hope was someone we can all relate to, insecurities, body issues, trust issues after a failed marriage. Rafe is the knight in shining armor but also believably “real”.

I also enjoyed the premise of this story, the building of their romance and dealing with their pasts. Hope is afraid she is not enough for a man like Rafe especially after a twenty-year marriage of being told she wasn’t good enough, sexy enough or desirable enough to keep any man satisfied. This makes her want to push Rafe away (don’t worry I know it sounds like I’m revealing too many plot points but I’m not this is the basics only of the story). Rafe wants to give her the world and works hard to convince her of that. It takes a tragedy to make these two really confront their pasts and look at how deep their connection can be and if they can blend it into a happy life.

Now I’m sure your curious as why I only have it 4 stars after all my gushing. Unfortunately, there was a downside. The authors writing was sometimes very awkward and too formal to be believable. Also I felt some major points were not addressed and glossed over to give me the closure and full picture I like from a story. While Annabelle Blaze was on the absolute right track with delivering a fantastic love story she fell short in some of the execution. I can see though that she has great vision and I think her future works will be even better. I think you will enjoy this as something different than your normal boy meets girl romance.
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