Spring is finally here, and with that comes the promise of new growth and new beginnings. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been grasping at any glimmer of light at the end of this very long tunnel.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about new beginnings in the context of books, partly because they are the actual physical representation of the idea of one chapter closing and a new one opening. Because of that, I’ve also had fresh start narratives on my mind. I think of these as books that feature a main character who is either starting over or moving on or coming back from something and seeking a change. Basically, they’ve hit a reset button, and we are following along as our character picks up the pieces and forges ahead. I find these stories incredibly cathartic and hopeful and absolutely perfect for this moment in time.
So if you’re in the mood for new beginnings, may I suggest one of the following books to get you started?
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
Bad break-up? Check. Failing business and the need to start over? Check. A new romantic interest that gives you all the feels? Check, check, and check.
This book is an absolute delight and is pretty much guaranteed to give you the warm fuzzies. Lou is your classic romcom heroine — this book seriously feels like you’re watching a movie, all the way down to the WORST DAY EVER sequence and montage of adorable dates. It features a secret identity/alter ego trope which is not one I normally gravitate towards, but it really works for me in this book.
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
This is another case of needing a new beginning after the end of a relationship, with the added factor of needing to quickly find a new place to live. With few options in her price range, Tiffy ends up moving in with a stranger with a bed to spare. The catch? The “spare” bed is actually a shared bed, but since Tiffy works days and Leon works nights, they’ll never even meet but instead communicate through Post-it notes left around the apartment. And while such a set-up might lead you to expect a madcap comedy of errors, this book tackles tough subjects while being tender and sweet and so romantic.
If possible, I strongly recommend listening to this on audio. Having two different voice actors narrate both Tiffy and Leon’s perspective adds so much to the experience.
Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins
Nothing says fresh start like leaving everything behind and moving cross-country. Eddy Carmichael is a woman determined to travel to California alone with hopes and dreams of eventually making it on her own as a successful restaurant owner.
Her journey leads to her being stranded in the desert and subsequently rescued by Rhine Fontaine. Rhine is successful, handsome, powerful, and VERY, VERY into Eddy. As a reader, you will want all the good things for Eddy, and watching the relationship blossom between her and Rhine is such a joy.
Fortune Favors the Wicked by Theresa Romain
When a fortune of gold coins are stolen from the Royal Mint, a reward is offered for their recovery. Charlotte Perry needs that reward if she is to leave behind her life as a London courtesan. Benedict Frost needs that reward if he is to publish his travel memoirs.
Both characters are looking for something new and arrive in the same village intent on finding the treasure and claiming the reward in order to fund their dreams. Of course, once the two decide to team up, it’s only a matter of time before their business partnership turns personal.
The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel
If you love a tough as nails heroine who is secretly a squishy ball of gooey love (how’s that for an image?), combined with an enemies-to-friends-to-lovers vibe, The Trouble with Hating You will be right up your alley.
Liya Thakkar has been through a lot and has learned to protect her heart. She has a trusted circle of girlfriends (I seriously love these women and can’t wait for their individual stories) and is happy being on her own. Liya’s fresh start evolves over the course of the book as she confronts and processes trauma in her past, all while forging a new path for herself based on what she really wants, both personally and professionally.