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Love for Beginners: A Novel (The Wildstone Series, 7) Hardcover – June 8, 2021
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USA TODAY BESTSELLER
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. Overwhelmed but grateful to be alive she starts over from scratch. Not as easy as it sounds, of course. But she’s never been a quitter, even if she wishes she could quit rehab, where her hot but evil physical therapist, Simon, puts her through the wringer.
Eager for a new beginning, Emma opens a doggy day care. Unfortunately, the only space she can afford is owned by her childhood nemesis Ali Pratt. But hey, she’s been through worse, right? She tries to roll with the punches, but a friend drops his grandpa off at the doggy day care in desperation then on top of that, she and Ali bring the term ‘frenemies’ to a whole new level. And then another grandparent shows up. And another.
In the midst of all that, Emma realizes she’s accidentally fallen for Evil PT. But the most horrifying thing of all is that Ali just might have turned into the best friend she’s ever had. And as Emma 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.
The Amazon Book Review
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"Love for Beginners is quintessential Shalvis, with humor and heat (whew, Emma and Simon give us heat), and a cast of characters you’ll hate to leave behind when you turn the last page. But even so, we promise you’ll finish this book feeling warm from the inside—and maybe the outside too: this is the summer’s perfect beach read." -- New York Times bestseller Christina Lauren
“Jill Shalvis has a unique talent making you want to spend time with her characters right off the bat.” -- New York Times bestseller Kristen Ashley
“Fall in love with Jill Shalvis! She’s my go-to read for humor and heart.” -- Susan Mallery, New York Times bestselling author
“Jill Shalvis’s books are funny, warm, charming and unforgettable.” -- RaeAnne Thayne, New York Times bestselling author
“Sisterhood takes center stage in this utterly absorbing novel. Jill Shalvis balances her trademark sunny optimism and humor with unforgettable real-life drama. A book to savor—and share.” -- Susan Wiggs, New York Times Bestselling Author
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning novels wherever books are sold and visit her website, jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
- Publisher : William Morrow (June 8, 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0063082241
- ISBN-13 : 978-0063082243
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.21 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,822,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on August 2, 2021
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Emma Hart is recovering from being hit by a car and spending time in a coma. She has had to relearn to walk and is slowly working her way back to a life. But while she was in the coma, her fiance was not there to support her. Instead, he decided to sleep with her best friend and roommate and got involved with her.
Emma is determined to find some sort of normal life despite all of the financial worries she has over paying her medical bills from the accident and another needed surgery for her leg. A surgery which insurance is denying. Plus she has to find a way to make a living that allows her to work within her limits.
She is given the chance to buy the local doggy daycare but she isn't quite able to swing the buy all on her own. But her evil nemesis from high school is the property manager of the place and turns out to be her savior. Ali Pratt has been working for her uncle's property management company and is looking for something of her own. And having the chance to be a partner gives her the chance to learn to be friends and interact with people.
Emma also realizes she has fallen in love with Simon her evil PT along the way. He is her landlord, the person who believes in her and the perfect man for her.
This book is a fun fast read. I didn't want to start this novel because I wanted to make sure that I could make it last. But sadly, when I pick up novels by Ms. Shalvis, I now need to make sure that I have my Lemon Oreos and a beverage of choice close by to nourish me as I speed read it. And then I cry because it is over.
I always love how well developed that storyline and characters are in Ms. Shalvis' books. You can tell she has fully researched the careers of her lead characters. Not many people get how hard PT is and the care that physical therapists provide. Or that they do want to help you live your life to the best you can with any physical limitations you may have.
Although this is book #7 in the Wildstone series, it can be read as a stand alone. These books can be read in any order as well. And to be honest, they are worth a read. Yes, all of them.
I did receive a copy of this novel in advance from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. I gladly accepted this advanced reader copy because I love Ms. Shalvis' fictional webs that she weaves.
I really enjoyed the ‘friendship’ that Emma and Allison found with each other. After being frenemies in high school, their ability to put the past behind them and work together was fabulous! Simon is dreamy and a force to be reckoned with for Emma’s PT and her heart. I loved how he treated her while being her physical therapist and how he drew back when he realized there was more to their relationship than just patient and therapist.
What a great addition to the Wildstone series. This book revolves around second chances, hope, and moving forward after a devastating accident. There are some tendrils of other issues, becoming a caregiver for a parent (Simon and his dad Dale), taking over the family business (Simon), breaking up then regretting it (Allison and Ryan), and survivors’ guilt (Emma). Add in the antics of the pets, I love Hog, and you have a great day of reading!
Jill Shalvis is an ‘auto-buy’ author for me. Love For Beginners was a totally enjoyable book. I look forward to the next book by Ms. Shalvis.
Emma Harris, our likable if somewhat generic heroine, used to be a people pleaser who cared what others thought, but when we meet her she's struggling to recover both physically and emotionally from a coma and totally rebuilding her life. Helping her to do that is Simon Armstrong, her physical therapist and love interest. If you like Jill Shalvis's other heroes, you'll like Simon---because, let's face it, all of her heroes are pretty much identical and described in the exact same ways! Like every Shalvis hero, Simon is strong, tough, brave, loyal, perceptive, extremely responsible and hardworking, and with a conveniently perfect body. And also like every Shalvis hero, his struggles revolve around guilt (generally over past events that he had little to no real reason to feel guilty about!) and how to fit romance into his busy life.
So, yeah, the author wasn't exactly breaking new ground with these characterizations, but the good news is that unlike some other Shalvis novels I've read, I really did buy into the idea that the hero and heroine had a connection beyond just lust. They bonded during the very hardest time of Emma's life, and the fact that they GET each other emotionally rather than just physically did come through a lot more clearly for me than it does in many other Shalvis novels.
Then there's Alison, the amusingly bitchy loner who's scared to be vulnerable and open herself up but is determined to change for the better when these shortcomings cost her the love of her life, a sociable extrovert named Ryan. Alison is Simon's cousin (and close friend) and also happens to be Emma's high school nemesis. She and Emma end up going into business together, running a pet sitting business that also becomes a de facto home to a few senior citizens. Needless to say, the animals and senior citizens steal every scene they're in and are enough to make the book worth buying!
This is likely an unpopular opinion, but for me Alison was the best part of the book---Emma was inspiring and likable, but not with an especially well-defined and clear personality in my opinion. Same goes for Simon. But Jill Shalvis has always excelled when it comes to writing prickly, sharp, seemingly well put together yet socially awkward "mean girls" with secretly loyal and loving hearts (Kinsey from Summer Deal, Aubrey from Once in a Lifetime, Elle from Accidentally on Purpose, etc.), so I found Alison and her determination to be a nicer, more open person both amusing and interesting. I love how she and Emma became genuine friends (though, like the book's romances, this was kind of unevenly paced!) Alison's ex, Ryan, was really underdeveloped, but I really related to how hard it is to break up with someone you love when you connect with so few other people on the planet. As mentioned above, Shalvis truly excels at writing about pets and the elderly, so I wish Alison and Emma had gone into business together earlier on in the book---not just so we could see their friendship develop more steadily, but because the scenes with dogs (and eventually a turtle!) and senior citizens that took place at their Paw Pals business were the highlights of the book!
As you can tell from this rambling review, I have such conflicted opinions on Shalvis's novels. The repetition drives me nuts---in this one, for example, we hear about a million times *exactly* why the heroine is scared to fully recover and why the hero is reluctant to let love into his life---and then towards the end of the novel these insights are somehow presented as newfound epiphanies rather than the exact same observations that everyone's been making since the story started! There's also the fact that Emma/Alison is almost identical to Brynn/Kinsey (The Summer Deal, from this same series) in their personalities and dynamics. And the pacing is off, with Emma/Simon going from 'we can't have anything other than just sex' to 'let's get married' VERY quickly and seemingly without even really dating. The relationships between Emma/Alison and Alison/Ryan were similarly unevenly paced.
Somehow, though, Shalvis's best books are always greater than the sum of their parts, and these individual critiques ultimately pale in comparison to how the overall book makes you feel---it's relatable, heartwarming, funny and even inspiring. I highlighted a ton of lines that were witty, insightful and/or inspirational. The good news for new readers is that Wildstone isn't even really a series---aside from every book mentioning the same bar, there are basically ZERO references to characters, couples and events from previous Wildstone novels. While those of us who have read the other Wildstone books may find that somewhat disappointing---after all, what's the point of a series if you can't quickly catch up for even a paragraph or so with characters we met in previous novels?!----the good news is that newcomers can read any of these standalones without missing a thing.
Overall, this is one of my top five Jill Shalvis novels despite its flaws and definitely worth buying!
Top reviews from other countries
This story sets an example for physical and emotional endurance.