What It’s About:
Jared Fraser, a landscape business owner in Hobart, Australia, sets out for a holiday to the USA to travel along the Route 66 in a motorhome. Looking forward to his first holiday overseas, he’s excited as he prepares himself for the journey. But little could’ve prepared him for crossing paths with a beautiful hitchhiker.
Will he be able to put his past aside and grab onto happiness?
Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on vacation.
But she will have to say goodbye again? And not only to Jared.
Fresh Beginnings by Iris Blobel is the third book in her Beginnings series. The book is meant to be a standalone. I didn’t read the prior two books, and I felt that I was definitely missing a lot of pertinent background information. I think this book would be best appreciated after reading the prior books.
The story starts with new-to-the-series character, Ivy Bennett leaving her live-in boyfriend. Since she was the breadwinner, it is not clear why she doesn’t just move out and continue with her current work (or kick him out). Instead she starts hitchhiking to somewhere, anywhere. Even her second ride counsels her on her ill-advised transportation plan. Aside from her lack of good judgment, Ivy is a likeable, level-headed character. Her second ride comes from Jared Fraser, a chivalrous Aussie on vacation in the USA. Jared has baggage of his own, and that baggage has made him the sole single in his group of friends.
There is quite a bit of angst and drama in Fresh Beginnings. What starts as a solo trip, ends up with Jared vacationing with two “mates” from home as well as Ivy. I appreciated that at first both Jared and Ivy acknowledged that it would be unwise to pursue their obvious attraction for one another. However, good sense doesn’t prevail for long as their relationship turns serious in a few short weeks. Even though the book is primarily about Ivy and Jared, Mia and Josh’s angst-filled teenaged love problems take center stage for a good share of the book.
The plot sails along, making Fresh Beginnings a quick read. The dialogue didn’t always feel genuine, and several of the situations felt contrived. A few phrases were over used in my opinion. However, my biggest complaint was the glamorization of hitchhiking. Even with these issues, I found the camaraderie between Jared, Josh, and Mia to be endearing enough to make the book interesting. Jared dealing with his past and his feelings felt organic, and even Ivy grew a bit from the time she shared with these three “mates” from down under. Each character clearly got a fresh beginning.