It just occurred to me that I haven’t done a review post for any of Melissa Tagg’s books. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? Because I love Melissa’s books. In my mind, Maple Valley is a real place, folks. I want to go visit. You know how weird I am? I was sitting in a meeting the other day about flood control and there was a super cool product and my first thought was not about how I could use it on projects, but “Maple Valley could use this!” The struggle is real, people.
Next problem: which one to review first? I stared at my shelf for awhile…eeny, meeny, miny, moe…and decided to start with…From The Start. This was the first full length novel I read by Melissa. I initially fell in love with her stories and Maple Valley through the beginning novella Three Little Words (the [almost] kisses, guys!) and quickly wished I was part of the Walker clan just to have a chance to ask Case for wisdom and eat awesome breakfasts.
While this is the first in the series, I encourage you to read through the rest of them as well; Melissa develops as an author and wades into deeper topics while maintaining the quirky and fun backdrop of Maple Valley and the bonds that are deeper than blood.
About The Book
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?
I basically already gushed, but time to get more specific about From The Start. At first I wasn’t sure what to think about Kate (other than she has a great name). I liked the twist on the premise of “those who can’t do, teach” with a romance writer who couldn’t find her own happily ever after. Confession: sometimes I wish I could live in the gushy-sappy-unrealistic Hallmark-happily-ever-after movie world. It was good to see Kate’s perspective and have a reminder about learning to be content whether or not my life is currently marketable in DVD form.
Kate has her struggles and Colt’s not perfect, they have baggage. But, isn’t that what real relationships are all about? How do you learn to love someone through their baggage? That’s a common theme in Melissa’s books, which is one I really appreciate, especially since she strikes a balance between dealing with the really hard stuff but at the same time does not drag the reader into a mud pit.
Without giving away an ending, Colt’s story is one that’s close to my heart: foster care kids. There are a lot of hurt, angry kids out there who need someone to believe in them, and those of us who are able can do that for them until they can believe in themselves, that they are worth it, that no matter what they do they have a Heavenly Father who will not walk away from them.
And don’t we all need that reminder as well?