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The Queen of New Beginnings

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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 obnoxiously rude client has something to hide. Clayton Miller's life is a mess. His career as one of the country's best comedy scriptwriters has stalled, and his long-term girlfriend has left him for his ex-best friend and ex-writing partner. Just when he thinks his life couldn't get any worse, he commits a spectacularly public fall from grace, and with the press hounding him, his agent banishes him to the middle of nowhere until the dust has settled. When Alice and Clayton discover the truth about each other they form an unlikely friendship—until Alice discovers Clayton has betrayed her in the worst possible way.

374 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2010

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About the author

Erica James

65 books848 followers
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.

The author of nineteen bestselling novels, and the winner of the 2006 Romantic Novel of the Year Award, Erica divides her time between Suffolk and Lake Como in Italy.



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5 stars
541 (21%)
4 stars
1,015 (40%)
3 stars
759 (30%)
2 stars
154 (6%)
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44 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 231 reviews
Profile Image for Ronnie~.
75 reviews8 followers
September 11, 2018
(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 book- it certainly caught my attention. Also, I felt there were too unnecessary punctuation, even as early in the beginning of the book. This rarely happens to me because I tend to be patient with stories- and I'm afraid this might be the first book I have dropped. I feel like I'm being an ass because I really wanted to like this book!

It may sound unfair that I could easily conclude such a rash decision but I don't know, this book may be just NOT for me.
Profile Image for Barbara Elsborg.
Author 84 books1,616 followers
March 23, 2012
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 the amount of attention Ms James gave to the male hero who was funny and very likeable. The plot premise of the 'betrayal' wasn't a new one - but then what is?? - it reminded me of Snap Happy by Fiona Walker where the female is the comedienne and betrays the hero.
I wish I could put my finger on what it is that hasn't worked for me in the other books. The plots are fine so it must be an inability to relate to the characters. In this book - I absolutely did and I now have hope for the last book of the five.
Profile Image for Ugnė | pilna_lentyna.
193 reviews105 followers
November 10, 2020
Niekada ankščiau negirdėjau apie šią autorę. Pasirodo, @sofoklis jau yra išleidę tris jos knygas. Visos lengvo turinio, jausmingos ir tinkančios tada, kai norisi romantiškos ir gyvenimiškos istorijos su laiminga pabaiga. ⠀

Nauja pažintis su autore, nauja pradžia veikėjų gyvenime. Beliko išsiaiškinti, ar James sugebėjo parašyti kažką naujo ir įtraukiančio.⠀

Alisa dirba vaikiškų knygelių įgarsintoja. Kartais papildomų pajamų gauna padėdama draugei, kuri turi valymo įmonę. Šį kartą pagalbos reikia Gegutės sodyboje, kur neseniai įsikūrė vyriškis iš Londono. Įdomus sutapimas - tai Alisos vaikystės namai, saugantys jos praeities istoriją, kurios moteris nenori prisiminti. Šiek tiek dvejodama, Alisa nuvyksta į sodybą ir ten susipažysta su rašytoju Kleitonu Mileriu. Jų pažintis prasideda neitin vykusiai, bet laikui bėgant antipatija vienas kitam išnyksta ir pora vienas kitam papasakoja skaudžias savo gyvenimo istorijas. Įkvėptas Alisos istorijos, Kleitonas ima rašyti scenarijų, pagal kurį vėliau statomas filmas. Ties šia klaida (?), įvykiai pradeda ristis žemyn, lyg sniego kamuolys, išjudindami daug metų pamirštus įvykius ir keisdami veikėjų gyvenimus 180° kampu.⠀

Istorija gana paprasta, kažkur girdėta, bet tikrai neprasta. Dramos, praeities klaidos, greitai įsiplieskę jausmai, išdavystės - visko čia buvo užtektinai. Nuo banalios, Telemundo presenta lygio istorijos knygą gelbėjo autorės humoro jausmas ir gerai sukurti personažai. Ypač senutė Džordž ❤ Keisti, ekscentiški ir sarkastiški senukai knygos toli gražu ne naujiena, bet man visada labai patinka! ⠀

Skaitant knygą, įsivaizdavau ją kaip romantinę komediją. Tą, kurią norisi žiūrėti per televizorių, apsikabinus dėžę ledų. Tokią, kai žinai, jog laukia graži ir laiminga pabaiga, bet vistiek jaudiniesi, kai reikalai pasisuka, ne taip, kaip nori.
Profile Image for Rasa|Knygų princesė.
295 reviews55 followers
March 7, 2021
Labai džiaugiuosi knygos savaitgaliui pasirinkimu. Na, pati istorija nebuvo kaip nors labai paliečianti, bet tikrai gerai sugalvota. Bet labiausiai patiko veikėjai - ne tik nusaldinti gražuoliukai, bet žmogiški, su savais keistumais ir klaidomis.

Nuošalioje Gegutės sodyboje susitinka du žmonės: Kleitonas slepiasi nuo žiniasklaidos dėmesio dėl dabarties klaidų. Jis garsus scenaristas, kūręs komedijas. Alisa žavi įgarsintoja, laisvalaikiu valanti namus gauna pasiūlymą padirbėti Gegutės viloje. Tai ne paprasta sodyba kaimynystėje, o Alisos vaikystės namai su skaudžiomis praeities istorijomis, kurias ji pirmą kartą pasakoja Kleitonui. Kas iš to išeis, sužinosite perskaitę šią smagią, kiek romantišką istoriją.

Šios istorijos stiprybė, kad nėra visur brukamo saldumo. Ne viena komiška situacija ir patys veikėjai su puikiu humoro jausmu. Ypač Alisa - ji moka persikūnyti į bet kokį asmenį. Išskirtinė ir man labiausiai patikusi veikėja yra senutė Džordž, kuri pridėjo istorijai savito šarmo.

Šalia neielinės Alisos vaikystės istorijos ir dabartyje besirutuliojančios meilės istorijos, rašytoja nagrinėja ne mažiau svarbią poveikio žiniasklaida temą. Siautįjant socialiniams tinklams, melagienoms, tai labai akuali tema. Pasirodo užkūrus gerą žiniasklaidos kampaniją, galima nemenkai apkartinti gyvenimą. Tačiau reikia būti atsargiam, kad tai neatsisuktų prieš tave patį.

Puikiai praleidau laiką skaitydama šį romaną. O pasirodo, kad tai jau trečioji lietuviškai išleista Erica James knyga lietuviškai. Bus įdomu perskaityti ir kitas šios rašytojos knygas.
Profile Image for Gabrielė|Kartu su knyga.
491 reviews249 followers
October 29, 2020
Iki dabar nebuvo tekę skaityti šios autorės knygų, bet pasitaikius galimybei nusprendžiau pabandyti susipažinti 🙂 Pasirodė, jog jos knygos turėtų būti paprastos, bet toli gražu ne banalios. Manau, jog galiu teigti - pažintis buvo vykusi. Tikrai norėsiu perskaityti ir kitas Ericos knygas.

Alisa Šumeiker vengia galvoti bei kalbėti apie savo praeitį. Tačiau nori ji to, ar ne mintys vis nuklysta prie tėčio.. To, kurio tarp gyvųjų jau nebėra.
Alisa iš draugės Ronetos gauna pasiūlymą padirbėti papildomai. Ji sutinka net nedvejodama. Darbas nebus sudėtingas. Jai tereikės sutvarkyti kambarius bei palaikyti švarą. Tik viena maža smulkmena.. Viskas vyksta ten, kur kadaise buvo merginos gimtieji namai.. Prabėgo daugybė metų ir Alisa tikisi, jog su šia užduotimi ji susidoros visai nesunkiai.
Šiuo metu Alisos vaikystės namuose šeimininkauja Kleitonas Mileris. Jis - gana žymus komedijų scenaristas. Dabar jo paties gyvenime tikra sumaištis ir vyras ieško ramaus bei atokaus kampelio savo mintims bei jausmams susidėlioti..
Netikėtai Kleitonas bei Alisa susidraugauja. Pajutę abipusę simpatiją vienas su kitu pasidalina savo gyvenimo istorijomis. Jie abu net nenumano, kur tai nuves..

Pirmiausiai man labai patiko tai, kaip ši istorija buvo parašyta. Labai lengvu stiliumi, tad buvo paprasta bei smagu skaityti. Taip pat aplodismentai autorei už jos humoro jausmą bei pasirinktus veikėjus. Man labai patiko Alisos bei Kleitono personažai. Pati istorija buvo tikrai įdomi ir pažvelgus giliau, galima pastebėti, jog autorė palietė ir tokias temas kaip išdavystė, atleidimas bei netektis. Ši knyga pasirodė paprasta, bet tuo pačiu ir neprasta. Erica kaip autorė tikrai mane sudomino. Norėsiu perskaityti ir kitas jos knygas ✨📚
O šią rekomenduočiau skaityti šiais rudens tamsiais vakarais, kuomet norisi šiltos bei įtraukiančios istorijos.
Profile Image for Dorian Jandreau.
Author 12 books63 followers
December 29, 2021
Kleitonas- komedijų rašytojas. Dėl įvykusio skandalo pasislėpęs Gegutės sodyboje ir apsimetęs kitu vardu susipažįsta su Alisa, kuri irgi apsimetusi kitu asmeniu dėl to, kad... Gegutės sodyba- jos buvę namai. Galop jie atskleidžia vienas kitam savo istorijas... ir pamilsta vienas kitą. Tačiau Kleitonas ima rašyti naują scenarijų pagal Alisos gyvenimą, kas Alisą labai supykdo...

Dėkoju leidyklai „Sofoklis“ už padovanotą knygą.

Knyga lengvai skaitėsi, skyriai neilgi- jų daug. Trumpam laikui buvau numetęs knygą į šoną, nes pasiekus vidurį kažkodėl tapo sunkiau skaityti: gal pritrūko kažkokio veiksmo, gal nusibodo (nes Alisos pasakojimas man buvo knygos „vinis“- labai patiko), o gal šiaip norėjosi pailsėti nuo knygos. Negaliu teigti, jog knyga ne mano skonio- dar ir kaip, bet trupučiuką kažko trūko. Patiko bendrai paėmus. Ir aišku graži laiminga pabaiga.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
99 reviews9 followers
September 15, 2010
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 little substance, and Erica James always hits the mark, not silly or petty but not difficult to read either.
I am a big fan of Erica James, out of all the books from the 'chick lit' genre, her's are the only ones that i enjoy, and enjoy them i shall!
Profile Image for Živilė.
167 reviews
January 4, 2022
Smagiai juokiausi ir puikiai praleidau laiką. Taip ir norėjos įlįsti į puslapius ir dalyvauti herojų gyvenime.
Profile Image for Melinda Elizabeth.
1,075 reviews12 followers
August 1, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Fyreball.
213 reviews4 followers
March 16, 2013
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 family history - what? Oh, right, because her family story is integral to the romance between Clayton & Alice, now I get it. Another reason I was off to a slow start is that Clayton is more Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones Diary than anything close to an alpha male. Given I'd been on a steady diet of alphas, this just didn't work for me. However, I stuck with it and am glad I did. Once Clayton got over his pity party and cleaned himself up, he revealed some appealing traits. The story got juicy as Alice's history revealed itself and then Clayton's backstory brought more intrigue. It all wrapped up rather neatly, with some satisfying developments for Clayton & Alice and their friends. In some ways, this book could have been titled 3 Weddings and a Funeral (I never should have brought up Hugh Grant...).

I'm not sure I'll reread QoNB, but that's probably more a pronouncement on my taste for alpha male heroes and sexiness than the book. It was tightly written, well edited and satisfying on several levels. There is the plot and then several subplots and some decent relationship/chick lit developments. There is also no sizzling sex and what little action there is happens off camera, just like a soap opera. Rats! Between the slow start and the lack of both sizzle and bacon I give it four stars.
Profile Image for Marie.
248 reviews4 followers
June 3, 2012
*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 and tons of people like it - I just happen to be one of those 'other' type of people who prefer weird, harsh, blunt, rude and all the types of books that don't usually make the best seller list.

194 reviews
February 21, 2013
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!

Profile Image for Lorna Gilder.
118 reviews
February 6, 2017
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.
298 reviews
July 1, 2021
I really liked this story. My interest was captured from the get-go and there were times I couldn't put it down. Great characters and some laugh-out-loud dialogue at times! Loved George and Percy - what a pair! Another Erica James favourite for me.
Profile Image for Jennifer Brown.
55 reviews2 followers
December 28, 2012
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 again it took me a bit to remember what had happened in the first couple of chapters (i was only 20% through the book), but it all came back to me and I really liked it. I read it in two days. It was somewhat predictable, but a good, fun read. I really give it 3 1/2 stars, but you can't give 1/2 ratings on goodreads!
Profile Image for Lindsay♫SingerOfStories♫.
676 reviews83 followers
April 19, 2013
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 the basic story line of it, and the latter half was pretty decent. Definitely a book that wraps up all of its ends in a neat little bow, which made for a redeeming quality. The book had a lot of British-English which I sometimes had trouble with, but there was also a fair amount of humor that I enjoyed. Overall an okay read.
Profile Image for Hannah.
10 reviews1 follower
August 14, 2012
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 written, leaving the reader wanting more and more right until the end.

The book ends with a satisfying finish and although this may be classed as a generic Chick Lit book, there is an addictive element to it. My advice for those who consider reading it is to clear their schedule first.
Profile Image for Sarah.
24 reviews
September 1, 2012
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), was a bit too familiar for me for it not to have been stolen by James.

For an uncomplicated, but not exactly straightforward romance novel, this makes a perfect addition to holiday reading. It also won't have you crying into your cocktails either.
Profile Image for Nicola Clough.
875 reviews30 followers
June 2, 2016
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 story and his writers block comes to an end and can they both be happy with what happens next and can their past be put behind them both so they can move forward well worth reading.
Profile Image for Neenee.
184 reviews21 followers
April 15, 2016
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.
Profile Image for Angela Oliver.
Author 17 books45 followers
October 30, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Andrea.
25 reviews4 followers
March 1, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Aatraya_reads.
29 reviews
October 30, 2021
𝐑𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠- 𝟑.𝟖⭐


𝐒𝐘𝐍𝐎𝐏𝐒𝐈𝐒

𝐀𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐁𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐭/Shoemaker meets the most obnoxious rude man or so she thinks but as she starts learning about 𝐂𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐭𝐨𝐧 𝐌𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐫 A.K.A the countries famous comedy script writer. Clayton Miller was still reeling on his success of Joking Aside when his girlfriend and his writing partner 𝐁𝐚𝐳𝐳𝐚 went behind his back but that is not it.
Bazza also ends his partnership with Clayton living him in a water under the bridge situation.

If things were bad for Clayton, his ex-girlfriend and now girlfriend of Bazza has other plans for him and overnight Clayton becomes headlines of every newspaper in the nation as the baby killer all thanks to 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐜𝐞𝐲!

To escape this fiasco Clayton's agent suggests him to hide him to ghost and taking his advice Clayton ends up in the cuckoo house with a witty and rude helper Kathya none other than Alice.

As the things come undone both grow close to each other. Sharing things about their past which they have never done before with anyone.

When Alice thinks she has finally found someone to confide in Clayton deceives her in the worst way possible by turning her secrets into a script for his advantage.

Unable to take the heat of betrayal Alice pushes Clayton out of her life but the could they stay apart longer? Nope, they couldn't. Circumstances push them back to each other and voila they end up together!

-----‐------------------HAPPY ENDING---------------------

REVIEW!
No Cliché, No thrill, just clean writing

At first I was not very interested. I was not even close to liking the style of writing. I was bored by the end of the first chapter but as I flipped through the page I was sucked into it like the ⚫.

And I couldn't stop myself from putting my things aside and sitting down to find out what happend next what Alice was hiding.

Things got interesting with every page I swiped through and the old George was a delight to read about and her nasty boy Percy was no less fun. I am still wiping the tears from George's death.
I absolutely hated the douche bag Rufus, Natasha and the 𝒐𝒉 𝑰 𝒂𝒎 𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝒊𝒏𝒏𝒐𝒄𝒆𝒏𝒕 Julia.
But the end Rufus met wickedly satisfied me.
And Isabel, she was an absolute queen of kindness and I wouldn't blame her for any choice Bruce Barrett made.

The book starts with a low wave but trust me when I say it's perfectly planned to the end.
There were no errors and it was such a smooth read except for me wanting to smack Clayton every now and then.

𝓣𝓱𝓪𝓽'𝓼 𝓲𝓽, 𝓐𝓭𝓲𝓸𝓼 𝓯𝓸𝓵𝓴𝓼!
34 reviews
June 16, 2021
Started out strong. I was drawn into Alice and Clayton's respective worlds. The characters were nuanced and sympathetic, even the assholes. For the first half, it managed to balance being a light-hearted comedy of manners with more heavy stuff, like parental neglect, borderline rape, and suicide. It would've been wiser to end the book halfway through its current length, before it devolved into a plodding, boring mess. 150 pages of moronic plot twists and embarrassing clichés. I was so disappointed with myself for thinking at the start that this was gonna be a good one. The second half made me so angry that I considered giving it one star, but I'm giving it 3 because at least the first part was promising.
Profile Image for Maria P.
185 reviews
October 11, 2021
Really enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. It held my attention the whole time and there were some laugh out loud moments. Quite a few interwoven threads so it wasn’t too straight forward and had some depth to the story. The narrator was very good and made the characters come alive well and the amusement factor comes through best I think with this one on audible. I’m not sure the accents (one of the characters is an impersonator) would come across the same reading it in my head. A strong 4 stars ⭐️
Profile Image for Margo.
1,845 reviews53 followers
February 5, 2022
This book was very interesting but I felt it was overlong. The characters' lives were realistically messy, but too much time was spent in contemplation by both lead characters.

I would definitely classify this as chicklit rather than a romance. Perhaps it's my bias against books set in the entertainment industry, but the male lead character had some character weaknesses that I felt were an ongoing threat to the future of this couple.
25 reviews
December 15, 2022
I usually like Erica’s books as being a fairly decent read. This time I found it harder going. It took a little while to get into properly though once I did I was able to stick with it. After I had read it I felt something was lacking and I feel that I was never quite able to feel part of it, the storyline not bad but the characters were somewhat stilted. Perhaps Erica had a deadline she needed to meet but she never quite made it sing.
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