FROM THE START
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 Greene 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 lives, 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?
How can this be the first book I've read by Melissa Tagg? My once stellar book spidey senses must be slipping! There can be no other explanation. All I can say is: check for more of this author on Retro Saturdays in the near future!
What a captivating read! And I'm so excited that this is the first novel in the Walker Family series and even more excited because there are a goodly number of siblings crying out for their stories to be told. From the Start puts me in mind of Denise Hunter's McKinley series and Susan May Warren's Christiansen family so if you are a fan of those authors you're going to love Melissa Tagg as well.
This is the kind of read you can all too easily lose yourself in. By the end I felt like an honorary Maple Valley citizen and member of the Walker family. Have to admit it was kind of a shock to 'wake up' to my solitary life in a big city. I'm feeling rather homesick right now and that's because Tagg has created a community with such vivid detail that it feels...well, real! And I'm pretty sure the Walker clan is too.
I adore this large and opinionated family. Love the sibling rivalry -- all the friendly digs, relentless teasing and the way they rally around each other at the least sign of trouble. Everyone should grow up in a family like that.
But Colton didn't. Sometimes he feels like he's on the outside looking in -- even when the Walkers pull him into their midst. A past cluttered with grief and sorrow has caused him to retreat behind a protective wall. He only lets people so close...until the Walkers, and Kate in particular, smash those bricks to smithereens.
Tagg tells his story with compassion and humour. She has a unique style -- part sarcastic wit/part exquisite prose. She really has an incredible way with words. They paint images that add depth to the story. Like this: He started up the porch steps, trying to ignore the awkward tension that'd dropped like precipitation, despite a cloudless sky. (p.142)
I especially appreciated the solid inspirational thread that takes root in so many ways. There's a wonderful football analogy about waiting for God's direction that even this football flunky could not only comprehend but apply in my own life.
And by the end, I felt like I'd lived Colton and Kate's story, rather than merely reading about them. Now that it's over, I'm in mourning -- always the sign of a truly great book. And this one definitely is.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of From the Start please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday September 6 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!