Review: Begin Again, Again by Eve Dangerfield
When I saw that Ms. Dangerfield picked up writing again, my heart lifted in joy. Her books touch at the heart of human conditions in a way that is easy to understand and empathize. When she offered up this new book, I grabbed it with both hands. Within the first two chapters of this book, I started to regret accepting this book because, I really didn't like it and wondering how I would write a review for a book that I might give a 1 star or maybe I just don't give it stars. So how did it turn around to a 4 star? I'm just as confused as perhaps you are.
The story starts off with Bethany trying to live within the restrictions of our COVID19 pandemic in Australia. She's a Kiwi and stuck in a country trying to start a new life for herself. Usually when a character is going through a growth progression, I'm all in for it. Bethany though, it was difficult to get through the first maybe 5 or more chapters. Why? Because she is so whiny. Her inner dialogue is difficult to sit through. Learning about her "fun" self when she was pretty much a drunken mess only disgusted me.
To add to this train wreck of a person, her love interest is Bryon who has major issues of his own that he hasn't resolved. Both of them have dysfunctional families. For a bit of this book, I wasn't sure if it was a push about how everyone should except non-binary people. This in your face soapbox lecture I could do without. About half way through the book, I'm thinking, can I even finish this book? I'm not liking Bethany. I can't really respect booty call Bryon. His sister Sal and their issues with their parents was quite a drag. What kind of a romance goes through all this drama and mess? What is so romantic about this? This is crap real life stuff I can easily experience amongst my friends.
Then Bethany has a break through epiphany. Which kind of drags both Byron and his sister along with her. The acceptance and growth in Bethany allowed her to move on. She is the catalyst who helps Byron and Sal accept themselves and make positive changes. Whilst I understand Sal's parents anger and wanting their family to be back to what they envision their family should be, I don't condone it. And this point is something I don't think is ever realized by Sal. Sal doesn't understand their parents view because they is so sure they are in the right. Unfortunately, there are no right answers here because it implies someone is wrong so there is only a lose-lose situation.
Bethany and Byron may understand Byron's parents, but Sal still has some growth to do. What I liked is that Bethany and Byron decided to stop living in the past and living for other people. Their honesty is what is most attractive. Their chemistry together is sexy. Their brutal honesty is what makes this story work. Their messy life and the things they did to sabotage themselves is realistic and shown in a way that makes readers empathize and cheer them on when they turn their life around. I loved the concept of begin again, again. This romance may be chaotic, but so is life. Sometimes, through the pain of loss is how we grow. This book is recommended to readers who like character growth stories involving realistic characters who just want to be accepted for who they are.
Welcome back Ms. Dangerfield. Looking forward to the new stories you create.
*I was offered a copy of this book. No review was required and I wrote one anyway.