Book Review – “From the Start” (Melissa Tagg)

Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn’t kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays… until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley.

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Green is temporarily hiding out in a friend’s hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he’s lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he’s never really done normal before.

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it’s like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lifes, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn’t part of the plan, but could it be the best thing that’s ever happened to them?

I will make a confession to you guys. I don’t really do contemporary Christian fiction. Especially contemporary Christian romances. I hate them. Historical fiction, fantasy, those I could read all day, but for some reason I just cannot stomach this kind of fiction. I only like contemporary Christian fiction if it happens to be a mystery novel or thriller. But when Bethany House released their blogger review options, all of the choices were contemporary, so I decided to give it a shot. The premise of the story sounded nice, if a little cliche (trust me, Karen Kingsbury wrote some very similar stuff, and I somewhat enjoyed her books), and I liked the simplicity of the cover.

However, I am sad to say that this book did little to change my opinions. While I thought the characters were pretty nice, I did not like the story or the writing style. In fact, I think the writing style is what sucks away at this story. However, I want to mention what I did like about the book, before I say anything else negative.

I liked Kate, and related to her in a lot of ways. Her desire to write something that makes a difference really spoke to me, as I often find myself thinking something very similar as I write my stories. And her fiery spirit (one of the scenes I loved was when she got home and thought Colton was a thief) was fun. Colton was also a pretty good character, if slightly wooden and unimaginative. Of course, by the end, he had really become a character I could enjoy reading about.
Sadly, that was about all I liked about this book. The writing style bothered me. I felt like the story become very… wordy at many points. I felt like the author was trying too hard to describe everything. And the way the characters talked often seemed slightly unrealistic. It really took me out of the story.

In terms of content, the story was pretty clean. I wouldn’t recommend this to younger teens, simply because I feel like it would be hard for them to relate and understand. So unfortunately, I am giving “From the Start” 2 1/2 out of 5 stars.

(I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)

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