New Beginnings – Mary Metcalfe
Laskin Publishing/2012
By – Sheri de Grom

NEW BEGINNINGS by MARY METCALFE is the second novel in her ‘Look to the Future’ series.

I’ve been defeated more than once in finding successful series women’s fiction. Other genres accomplish series successfully, but until I read New Beginnings, I’d only trusted one other women’s fiction author: MARIE BOSTWICK.

I stumbled onto the works of Marie Bostwick and her COBBLED COURT SERIES by accident. I’d been looking for another author’s latest work when I pulled A Thread Of Truth from the shelf. After reading the novel, I wanted to know more about the characters Marie Bostwick had created and the world in which they lived. I knew the novel I’d read was part of a series and I wanted more. I’d become invested in her characters.

New Beginnings restored my faith in women’s fiction series. Mary Metcalfe brings forward the family of characters I met in WINDS OF CHANGE, her first novel. This foundation of bringing core characters forward is critical to the success of satisfying readers in series women’s fiction.

Of equal importance, the characters at the center of the first in a series may be secondary characters in a subsequent novel. Hopefully the main characters would have completed their character growth arcs. It’s crucial that a secondary character with a critical flaw be placed in a previous novel before her actual story is told. In a subsequent novel, another secondary character will carry the next series novel with her story and so on. The initial primary characters are present, but they are now supporting cast.

New Beginnings is the story of Carol Brock, a workaholic real estate agent with a past history of failed relationships.

The reader is now familiar with Carol. In Winds Of Change, Carol is friends with primary character Jennifer. It’s Jennifer’s fiancé, Ben, a world-renowned war correspondent, who helps law enforcement arrest and convict the art thief Carol innocently allowed to move in with her.

Carol promises herself and the reader that she’ll stay away from men, repair her relationships with her college-age children, and concentrate on her career.

Life might have gone as Carol planned. After all, she’s a master control freak. She tells her friend Jennifer she’s trying to release her desire to always be in control. The reader, along with Jennifer, knows it’ll take growth and patience and maybe love for Carol to change.

Within the first twenty pages of New Beginnings Carol’s life alters forever. Suddenly, being in control is not an option. She’s a savvy woman but she’s ill-prepared to deal with a psychopathic killer.

Mary Metcalfe compels the reader to turn the pages faster.

Carol meets Devin, Boston’s most eligible bachelor. It’s all in innocence, she tells Jennifer. Devin shows up at a Victorian home where Carol is having an open house and immediately places an offer higher than the asking price.

The psychopathic killer is effortlessly added. She happens to be the ex-girlfriend of Carol’s new love interest.

The story moves forward brilliantly and stays entrenched in women’s fiction. Family dinners occur; a Thanksgiving weekend with extended family and friends is successfully executed; mother/child relationships are restored; babies are cuddled; and love prevails.

Mary Metcalfe captures the essence of life, friendship and unconditional love for her characters in New Beginnings.

I had to keep turning the pages. It didn’t matter that the hour was late. I couldn’t put the book down; morning would arrive before I went to bed.

I unconditionally recommend Mary Metcalfe’s second novel, New Beginnings. Warning: do not begin reading until you’ve finished your holiday shopping!

About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
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  1. LOL – Know the feeling! There are a lot of great books out here! Happy to contribute my best. Cheers! Mary

  2. Wow! Now that is one fine review! The TBR pile tilts even more.

  3. thoughtsfromanamericanwoman says:

    I like those kind of warnings!! 🙂
    Sounds good.

  4. Mary – You’ve worked oh so hard. You don’t need me to tell you that. It shows in your writing and every other aspect of your career. Smiles sing in the heart and soul. They soften hurts that accompany our life. Keep smiling, keep writing and most of all, keep enjoying life by the lake.

  5. Sheri,

    I read New Beginnings and had the same response. Loved it and it kept me turning the pages. I’ve started to read Winds of Change–out of order but Mary does such a great job I don’t mind. Each can stand alone. My greatest despair is I shouldn’t have started Winds considering these hectic weeks with no time to read. But the great part of that is I intend to reread and enjoy again the beginning. Well done, Mary for writing about real women seasoned by life and Sheri for reviewing a new author.

    • You ladies just make my writerly day!! What an incredibly supportive group/community. I am so honored to be part of it and to be considered a contributing member as a group member, writer and author. You read and I promise to write…. 🙂

    • Casey, I always prefer to review a terrific novel by a debut author. That’s really the purpose of my Thu. book review blog. I get really upset when my local store doesn’t have a debut novel in stock that I’m looking for. (That’s a subject for another blog). I love Mary’s mature characters and the fact that she allows them to have character flaws that very happen in everyday life. As I mentioned in my review, I’d pretty much given up on finding a women’s fiction author that could successfully write series novels but our very own Mary Metcalfe has done just that.

  6. As always, you did a great job with the reviews of Mary’s books. I’ve read some of her work and look forward to reading more. Kind’a have an attachment to those women I meet from my chapter or through blogs like yours. Thanks again, Sheri 🙂

  7. Mae Clair says:

    A wonderful review, Sheri. Both books sound enticing and I love the cover of New Beginnings!

  8. What a wonderful review of Mary’s novel. I can’t wait to read Winds of Change and then New Beginnings. I haven’t read many women’s fiction series and Mary’s books sound intriguing. Thank you for the review. It’s a superb way for me to find new books, Sheri.

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