Also by this author: About That Kiss, The Good Luck Sister
Also in this series: The Good Luck Sister, Rainy Day Friends
Series: Wildstone #7
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on June 8, 2021
Genres: Women's Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Tropes: Smalltown Romance, Accident, Coma
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Narrator: Erin Mallon
Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis continues her Wildstone series with the moving story of a young woman who has to start her life—and her 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 decides to start 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.
Desperate for a new start, 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 because he can’t find senior care. 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 her 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 learn that life isn’t what you’re given, it’s what you make of it.
You know what? I know, I’ve said it before but Jill Shalvis is an automatic winner for me. She delivers without fail. I read another book recently that had a heroine who was in a coma and her fiancé and best friend fell in love with one another while the heroine was unconscious. Quite the coincidence, I was hoping that the stories wouldn’t be too similar. Thankfully they weren’t.
I need to point out again that these are categorized as women’s fiction but have strong romance elements. To me they are contemporary romance with an additional female voice. But in every book we meet strong women who let fate take control of their lives, no, they are the captains of their…uh…life/ship.
This time we meet frenemies Emma and Alison and Alison’s cousin Simon. After an almost fatal accident Emma is slowly returning to a somewhat normal life with the help of her physical therapist, Simon. While her body is healing, her mind takes a bit more work – Emma struggles with a severe case of survivor’s guilt and with that comes an inability to accept that she’s worthy of being loved. Simon, who loves his job as much as he hates feeling trapped after becoming his father’s caretaker when his dad had a stroke, has a similar issue. He’s so busy with all aspects of his life that he doesn’t think there is room enough for a woman. Especially for someone like Emma, who he is falling for a little more every day. He admires her strength, her resilience and stubbornness, that she doesn’t give up and how she soldiers on despite some setbacks. Likewise, Emma can’t help falling in love with Simon’s dedication to his family, his kindness and the mix of gentleness and bossiness.
And then there is Alison. You can see from the start that these two could be great friends. Alison is a super-introvert and hides behind a tough exterior. But if you look closer you see that she’s all gooey inside, a soft soul that can be easily hurt. I loved how Emma and Alison got rid of their baggage and made room for friendship. They were more similar than they cared to admit in the beginning.
You know what you need?”
“A plan,” Emma said. “A plan to win him over with your smartassy, bitchy brilliance.”
Alison was speechless for a full minute. Her throat actually felt tight.
“What?” Emma asked.
“That’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”
Alison’s boyfriend broke up recently with her and it was plain as day that both of them weren’t happy about it. Over the course of the story Alison it becomes clearer that Alison isn’t the only guilty party and I was glad to see that Ryan learned from his mistakes as well.
I love the strength of these women and this author knows how to write good guys who are also a little bit alpha that makes them so sexy.
“You’re one of my very favorite people, Emma.”
Shalvis’s stories can get a little angsty but her sense of humor is present at all times. And as per usual, it wouldn’t be a Jill Shalvis book if there weren’t dogs and geriatric family members providing some comic relief. Hog, an emotional support dog who needed an emotional support hooman was such a cutie. I love how these animals all have their individual personality traits. I also adored the family dynamics between Alison, Simon and Dale. They were such a tight-knit bunch.
Jill Shalvis really has struck gold with this series. The books in the Wildstone series are special and LOVE FOR BEGINNERS is just another wonderful addition to it. All the books in this series can be enjoyed as complete standalones.
“Have you ever loved someone so much that when they smile at you, your heart stops? Because that’s how it is with you, Emma, from the first day I met you.”