“Starting Over in Bellbird Bay“, written by Maggie Christensen, is a Romance, published on 23rd August 2022, and it’s the third book in a series.
I want to thank Rachel, at Rachel’s Random Resources, and Maggie Christensen for the eCopy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Following the death of her husband, Cleo Johansen and her daughter moved to Bellbird Bay determined to make a new start. Having carved out a new life, Cleo is shattered when a shadow from her husband’s past throws their lives into disarray.
Will Rankin has lived in Bellbird Bay all his life. Now widowed, the former surf champion runs the local surf school and enjoys a close relationship with his son. Content to lead a single life, the appearance of an undesirable stranger is quick to upset his peaceful existence.
While neither Will nor Cleo is interested in forming a new relationship, an unexpected attraction surfaces when a mutual friend suggests they spend more time together.
Set against a background of sun, sea and sand, can Cleo and Will find a way to move forward together?
A heart-warming tale of family, friends, and how a second chance at love can happen when you least expect it.
About the Author
After a career in education, Maggie Christensen began writing contemporary women’s fiction portraying mature women facing life-changing situations, and historical fiction set in her native Scotland. Her travels inspire her writing, be it her trips to visit family in Scotland, in Oregon, USA or her home on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast. Maggie writes of mature heroines coming to terms with changes in their lives and the heroes worthy of them. Maggie has been called the queen of mature age fiction and her writing has been described by one reviewer as like a nice warm cup of tea. It is warm, nourishing, comforting and embracing.
From the small town in Scotland where she grew up, Maggie was lured to Australia by the call to ‘Come and teach in the sun’. Once there, she worked as a primary school teacher, university lecturer and in educational management. Now living with her husband of over thirty years on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, she loves walking on the deserted beach in the early mornings and having coffee by the river on weekends. Her days are spent surrounded by books, either reading or writing them – her idea of heaven!
First of all, I’m very happy to be back to reviewing, specially with a sweet second chance romance.
Although this book is part of a series (you can learn about book one “Summer in Bellbird Bay” and book two “Coming Home to Bellbird Bay” in those links), this story can be followed easily since it’s a standalone. I do have to say, though, that I will be getting the previous books in the future so that I can learn more about the Bellbird Bay community and the characters I was introduced to.
That been said, let’s get to this third book.
“Starting Over in Bellbird Bay” follows Cleo Johansen after she moved with her daughter to Bellbird Bay, after her husband passed away. In a new adventure, looking for a second chance to live her life, to start making new memories. We also get to know Will Rankin, former surf champion, owner of the local surf school and widow.
Both Will and Cleo are parents, and despite the fact that I’m not, I could still understand their love for their children and the importance of family. That love and connection could also be seen in the community and their interactions. Will and Cleo have a group of friends, they have a support system, that starts with Owen and Hannah and ends in all the people around them that also love them.
Another thing I enjoyed was the drama, with the Facebook message Hannah receives to the harassment Will is getting from someone he once gave a few surf classes. It added moments of tension and opens the possibility for more interactions and opportunities to learn about the characters.
And of course, we can’t forget the romance. Usually, I read romance books that have younger characters, with ages closer to my own, or a bit older, but this couple brings a new type of books that I really need to explore more about. I need to read stories about later in life love and second chances. Will and Cleo definitely have a second chance to find love after losing their partners, and it all starts with some friends’ idea of Will and Cleo pretending to be in a relationship. Which I loved, by the way.
Overall, it was a fun, sweet and interesting book. It had a mature group of characters that made me laugh and enjoy each moment of their interactions. It had a beautiful scenery, and as someone that lives close by the central coast of Portugal, having a connection with the beach and all its beauty is always a plus, even if it’s in another country and even continent, or fictional place.
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