STARTING OVER by Marie Force
Starting Over by Marie Force
Treading Water Trilogy, Book 3
Reviewed by Miranda
Brandon O’Malley found himself at rock bottom after learning that he hurt his brother’s girlfriend while in the midst of an alcohol induced rage. His brother gives him a choice rehab or jail. He takes rehab all while insisting he doesn’t have a problem. However, it doesn’t take him long to realize exactly how bad an alcoholic he is and how bad his life has gotten. After rehab, Brandon’s father gives him a restoration job to slowly bring him back into their family business. Brandon has burned many bridges and will have to earn back the trust of the people that love him. Brandon never counted on falling for a spunky five-year old or her mother.
Daphne and her daughter Mike have been on the run from Mike’s grandparents for years. Daphne has finally found a place that feels like home and a person she would like to share her life with. But her fear of what may happen continues to stand in the way of her own happiness. Can Brandon and Daphne find love and comfort in each other’s arms? Will Daphne’s baggage drive Brandon back to the bottle?
Starting Over is the third book in the brilliant Treading Water trilogy from Marie Force. Upon finishing Starting Over I find myself completely overwhelmed by the myriad of emotions that are swirling around me. I must confess that when I started this story I was a bit disappointed that the Harrington family was not going to be front and center. While reading Treading Water and Marking Time I became so attached to all of them I couldn’t imagine how Ms. Force could make me fall in love with a character I barely know and who left a horrid impression on me in Marking Time. Yet she did! Brandon O’Malley is a broken man when Starting Over begins. He’s gotten so lost in his own pain and resentments that he can’t find any happiness. I never thought I would enjoy a story that features a character in rehab but those scenes of Brandon with his therapist were so powerful I had to take a break after reading them. I could feel his pain so deeply I just wanted to give him a hug. I wanted him to see how great life could be if he would let go. Daphne and Mike are the perfect balm for his soul. It is impossible to read Starting Time and not fall in love with little Mike; her heart is so big and she’s such a straight shooter. Daphne and Brandon make beautiful music together! I love this couple so much I can hardly stand it.
One thing I love about Ms. Force’s writing is that it’s unpredictable. Ms. Force keeps things real while putting her characters in situations that unfortunately have negative consequences at times. Starting Over is about much more than romance between Brandon and Daphne; it is literally about Starting Over. Brandon must learn to live in his new reality and heal the fractures he has made within his family. I love that Ms. Force takes the reader not only through the recovery of the alcoholic but also explores what it is like for the people who love the alcoholic. I love Colin’s journey in Starting Over. He has many burdens yet he is the one who tries the hardest to understand his brother’s alcoholism and figure out how to help him. Brandon doesn’t always appreciate Colin’s help but that doesn’t stop him from trying. I am so happy Colin got a little romance in his life as well!
The Treading Water trilogy which features Treading Water, Marking Time and Starting Over will forever hold a special place in my heart. Marie Force takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through the lives of some very passionate and remarkable characters. I will always remember the laughter, the love and the tears that flowed while reading these stories! Ms. Force’s characters are inspired! Even as I sit here a day after finishing Starting Over I have happy tears in my eyes thinking about how this trilogy ended. Hat’s off to you Ms. Force for creating a stunning masterful trilogy that I will be recommending to everyone!