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The Queen of New Beginnings

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  2,197 ratings  ·  212 reviews
A sparkling new tale from the author of A Breath of Fresh Air, for anyone who has ever dreamt of starting over
Alice Shoemaker habitually goes to great lengths to avoid telling the truth about herself and her past. After agreeing to help out a friend by shopping and cleaning for the unknown man staying at Cuckoo House, she soon becomes suspicious that her strange and obnox
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Orion Publishing (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  2,197 ratings  ·  212 reviews

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(DNF) Rarely happens. Seriously.

I was browsing for a good buy in a bookstore somewhere abroad when I spotted this beautiful cover. Flipping it, I enjoyed the sypnosis and decided to buy the book. Unfortunately, I didn't even manage to get to page 3 and had to drop the book altogether.

It looked intriguing but the first two pages of chapter one threw me off- not in a good way. For starters, the writing style didn't appeal to me and usually I'm flexible with this area, yet somehow while reading the
Barbara Elsborg
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have a confession. I bought 5 of Ms James' books in a pack because they were cheap. I knew she was popular, I hadn't read her and thought I'd give her a try. I've read 4 out of the 5. Three I didn't like, one of them I couldn't finish. I can see she's a very good writer but they're not my kind of books so this is a very personal review. I'm sure she deserves her success!! But this book - the Queen of New Beginnings, I liked! I think the difference between this book and the others I read was th ...more
Aug 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Oh, i don't care.. i liked this book! It's not deep and thought provoking, there are no thrills or horrors or anything to make your mind work a little harder than usual, it was just enjoyable, simple and fun.. what's wrong with that? :)
The main characters 'Alice' and 'Clayton' were likable and interesting, the story itself was quite fascinating once it got going a little, I don't like reading about shopaholics or other superficial stuff like that, i like these kind of reads to have at least a li
Melinda Elizabeth
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it
It was a bit long in the tooth and was a little dull on occasion, you want to keep your chick lit punchy and fast paced for the most part, and because of the lags in the story, only three stars.
I've been on an alpha male kick lately (all Kristen Ashley, all the time) but decided to read some of my backlog before picking up another one (err, OK, I actually finished all of KA's books and felt guilty about the books I'd been buying from Amazon's Kindle Daily Deals...). First up, was Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James.

At first, I was off to a slow start because it wasn't clear to me how the book was laid out. We meet Clayton (H) and then Alice (h) but then we dive deep into Alice's fa
May 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
*NOTE - I am not giving this book a low rating because it sucks - as I would not know, I did not get past chapter 5.

I rated this book low for MY taste. I tried the keep reading but it sparked me in so many ways as your typical, predictable, angry-lady-sad-guy who will prob like each other in the end.

I started reading the book because I thought it might be a good 'chick' read for me to wiz through until I chose my next book. It ended up not being the case.

I am sure the author is a great writer an
Feb 19, 2013 rated it liked it
This was the first book by Ms James I have ever read. I enjoyed it enough to try more.

Both Alice and Clayton are plausible characters and are well developed. The dialogue is extremely funny at times and I really laughed out loud! Storyline predictable though.

I loved George!

Lorna Gilder
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting easy read about the life of Alice who grew up with dysfunctional parents. As an adult she meets a writer who she shares her story with and it leads to more than she expects. An enjoyable read with good characters.
Jennifer Brown
I gave up on this book. It might be just because I'm having trouble finding a big chunk of time to read and keep losing interest. I started reading another book while getting a foot massage and will stick to it. I might come back to this one, but for now I'm putting it on my gave up on bookshelf. I need something that grabs and keeps my attention right now.

So glad I went back to this one to finish! I would give it 4 stars if it didn't take me awhile to get into the book. When I picked it up agai
2.5 stars that I will round up to 3. I wanted to like this book BUT it seemed to drag on and on for me. In the first half, I hated that we were in present tense in Alice's POV, then present Clayton POV, then Alice telling about her past for several chapters, then present Alice, then past Alice, then present Clayton, past Clayton, present Alice....are you dizzy yet? There was so much jumping and it was not clearly established which POV and which time period we were in, I just got bored. I liked t ...more
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reading the blurb on the back, I rolled my eyes thinking how familiar this sounded for a Chick Lit book. I rarely read Chick Lit, but I had two options I could open it up and start reading, or I could give it back to the friend who lent it to me, smiling faintly about not having time.

I took my friend's recommendation and opened the book. Hours later the book is still open and I am avidly reading. The book is full of suspense and surprises. It is impossible to put down once started. Very well wr
Sep 01, 2012 rated it liked it
An easy read. A little contrived. Some great one-liners, and comedic writing. The characters were easy enough to understand, like or dislike. I find the whole 'beautiful but doesn't know it' theme rather tiresome on books nowadays.

I swear E.L. James has read this book and based some of her character Anna on the main character of Alice in QONB. The fact that she had a habit of putting her finger to her lip, that causes stirrings in the older male character (who is naturally flawed in some way),
Nicola Clough
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excellent story from start to end and has you wanting to know what happens next. There are many twists and turns to the characters lives and can they find true love it not. Alice was brought up in cuckoo house but her past she has never got over and when she has grown up and moved back to the area she goes to clean at cuckoo house as a favour to a friend and there she meet Clayton who is hiding as he's been accused of things so has decided to run away. Alice ends up telling Clayton her life s ...more
Jul 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Another nice chick-lit for a slow paced weekend.

Enough plot twists to keep my attention. Could relate with all the characters - my favourite was their old quirky neighbour. I like everywhere she's in.

Major flaw for me is the inconsistent tone in the book. The book opens with something light and funny, becomes quite bleak in the middle, then back to sunny and happy in the end. Too much contrasts that sometimes it felt like it was written by two different people.
Angela Oliver
Fun, with engaging characters and an entertaining plot. Nothing remarkable or earth-shattering, just a tasty little feel-good novel. No real surprises, but an enjoyable enough "chocolate" book. James has a nice writing style, up there with Marian Keyes and Jane Green, although she lacks the greater depth of Keyes. ...more
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really really loved this book, couldn't put it down once I was a few chapters in. Loved all of the characters. My first read of an Erica James novel but I will definitely be taking a look at her other stuff now. A lot to live up to. ...more
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I finished this in a day because the story intrigued me. The first chapters got me reading on and on. But the remaining ones bore me. The story was well written. It had potential at the start. But I think the characters' development and conflicts were handled quite poorly. ...more
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tend to enjoy Erica James books - and this one didn’t disappoint either ... Characters a little larger than life but very believable as so ... nicely structured to bounce back between past and present... nice kind of reading when you’ve really gone beyond standard chick lit!!
Jennie Rake
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
This had such potential as a novel about the healing power of love. At the very least, the story of Alice, Clayton, George and Isabel would have made a pleasant summer read, but any interest in these characters and their struggles was ruined for me by the ghastly Stacy and Bazza, whose inclusion in the plot, like hiss-boo villains in a pantomime, rendered it over the top and childish. Disappointing, as I've read a couple of other books by this author and enjoyed them. ...more
Brandi Six
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
So I have a confession I only made it to about chapter 10 at this book but that took me two weeks to get to and I usually finish a book in 2 or 3 days. I just could not get into this book I really wanted to read it such, but I just struggled and struggled with it and ended up giving up.
Linda Louch
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
The quote at the beginning of this book 'All families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way truly' comes alive in the complex story of interesting characters. I really enjoyed this happy, sad and colourful book. ...more
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little predictable in places and it felt a bit like the reintroduction of Rufus and Natasha towards the end wasn’t really warranted or maybe the way it turned out was rushed. I am, however really enjoying Erica James’ novels at the moment.
Louise Witts
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Really enjoyed the first half but the second half was a bit waffly & overlong.
May 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
A very slow read. I thought it would get more exciting but the story never seemed to take off. The characters were difficult to connect with. Disappointed with the story.
Liz Craig
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
Cleverly written, a joy to read. Multiple charming, endearing characters. Loved this one!
Michelle Good
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Predictable story with good dialogue.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!

Quirky characters with lots of depth, hysterically funny at times - poignant in others, a really good book. My first read by this author, but not my last!
Rhiannon Thompson
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Good story, good writer, bad editing. The publishers needs to tighten it up. But again, the writer and story are great!
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I am no good at analyzing stories, I either like them or I don't. I found this story entertaining and a lot of fun. It was very easy to visualise the characters. ...more
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With an insatiable appetite for other people's business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. She finds it the best way to write authentic characters for her novels, although her two grown-up sons claim they will never recover from a childhood spent in a perpetual state of embarrassment at their mother's compulsion.


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