The mountain town of Nugget, California, may be tiny, but with its breathtaking scenery, fresh air, and lovable locals, it has everything. Not to mention it’s the perfect setting for firsts—and seconds—of all kinds…
On the day of her glitzy New York City wedding, society girl Samantha Dunsbury ditches her Wall Street groom, and hops in her convertible. Her only plan is to head west. But when a pit stop lands her at a lovely Victorian inn in Nugget, she doesn’t want to leave. And when the innkeeper needs someone to fill in, Sam is thrilled to take the job—her first! For once, she’s going to do what makes her happy. She just has to figure out what happy looks like. She never expects it to look like her surly new boss…
The last thing Nate Breyer needs is a debutante dilettante mucking up his business. How his sister—and co-owner—could’ve hired Sam is beyond him. Nate’s known women like Sam before—he was engaged to one once. With no options, he’ll just have to keep his eye on her while also keeping his distance. But to his surprise it turns out Sam’s got a knack for the job, and for putting folks at ease—including Nate. As business—and pleasure—heat up their relationship, Nate finds himself ready to do anything to persuade the runaway-bride to stay permanently gone…
The Nugget series is one of those series that I enjoy because I love that small town feel of it. You get to not only come to know the H/h but all of the various, quirky characters that inhabit the town and end up wanting to know more and more about all of them. So I was excited to get my hands on Starting Over after getting a glimpse of the tension between Nate and Sam, and while I enjoyed the book overall I have mixed feelings about Nate and Sam.
Sam/Samantha I actually really liked, and that was before finding out what happened with her worthless ex-fiance, Royce. She wanted to be known for more than her last name and social status and made it happen. She found her niche at the Lumber Baron and made friends with the various characters in Nugget by just being the sweet, caring and helpful person she was. Nate, oh Nate. I have a love hate relationship with him. On the positive side, he was caring, protective and considerate of those he called friends and family. He’d do anything for them and did. On the negative side, he was simply an asshat to Sam. Yes, he had his reasons and in the beginning I could understand why he treated her the way he did, but as it progressed it really just made him appear petty and cruel, especially when he would get all jealous and possessive and then do a total 180 and push her away.
Nate’s treatment of Sam, and even some of Sam’s actions, though not as thoughtless as Nate’s, had me questioning if they were supposed to have an HEA. Much of their relationship revolves around business matters and while there was some fun bantering going on between them, they never really had true heart to heart moments as far as I was concerned. Nate wouldn’t stop comparing her to his own ex and give her the benefit of the doubt, even after she’d proven time and time again she wasn’t what he assumed her to be like. And Sam stubbornly refused to explain what made her become a runaway bride. I understood her reason for it, and actually commend her for it, but had these two truly communicated things may have happened a little differently. And then there is the ending. Again I have mixed feelings, but it is what it is.
Now while the H/h didn’t fully do it for me, I still enjoyed spending time in the little town of Nugget. We get to catch up with all of the quirky, fun, sweet and nosy people of the town and meet a few new ones. Both Lucky and Brady have definitely peaked my interest and I cannot wait to see what she has up her sleeves for both of them.
The Bottom Line: Though I didn’t fall in love with Nate and Sam (You can’t win ‘em all) I still found this book to be as well written and engaging as the rest of the series and can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!
~ ARC received from Kensington Press-Lyrical Shine via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~
Stacy Finz is an award-winning journalist. After more than seventeen years covering notorious serial killers, naked-tractor-driving farmers, fanatical foodies, aging rock stars and weird Western towns for the San Francisco Chronicle, she figured she finally had enough material to launch a career writing fiction. In 2012 she won the Daphne du Maurier Award for unpublished single-title mystery/suspense. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband.