Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Review: Starter Wife by Moriah Densley

Starter Wife
Starter Wife by Moriah Densley
October 14, 2014
280 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Contains: mild sexual references
Source: Personal purchase

Linnea King has it all, fabulous social life, adorable children, and her successful husband's income… until he serves her with divorce papers. Her perfect life crumbles in a storm of police reports, cranky bus drivers, and burned dinners. The single life feels as foreign as a trendy haircut.

Just when Linnea fears she’ll lose everything, her new neighbor steps in to help. Not that she’s judging by appearances, but TJ Gates looks like trouble with a capital T. Tattoos, motorcycle, and sexy southern manners, TJ is the last person Linnea expects to be her hero.

A demolitions expert who takes prizefighting gigs to pay the bills, TJ has pretty much screwed up everything that matters, and rebuilding his life after a violent past is harder than it looks. He thinks the polished, expensive-looking Linnea King needs the same thing he wants: a second chance.

Starter Wife was a great read, and at just the level I was looking for at the time. Actually, I take that back. I randomly picked it out of my hundreds of unread books on my kindle because the cover was light and fun, so I figured it would be a light and fun read. Well, I wouldn't call it a heavy read. But it had far more depth than I had wrongly assumed going in, but also the love and lightness I was hoping for. And this was a pleasant surprise and one I enjoyed immensely.

We have Linnea, verging on divorce from her loser husband, who is also tackling the reality of raising her three young children as a single mom and figuring out how she's going to keep enough food on the table without having to approach her parents for help. She meets TJ, her new neighbor and single dad, in a completely unexpected way, and though his actions are heroic, his appearance is rough and grisly. When you have three young children, who have minds of their own, however, they don't judge a book by its cover, and the inklings of a friendship begin. And this friendship, and more, is just what the two of them need to get through not only the coming events in their lives, but give them the much needed second chance at life and love they both desperately need.

Character-wise, I loved Linnea and TJ. They have wonderful depths about them, as well as completely endearing personalities, and I just loved reading about them, learning about them, and cheering for them. They have a tangible chemistry between them, but instead of their relationship becoming all about sex, the author truly brought out a deep friendship, a wealth of commitment, and the beauty of two people who truly are fighting alongside each other as well as for each other. Their romance is genuine and believable, and I loved it. Then, when you add in all the kids and the beautiful connection felt between everyone, I couldn't help but root for them all.

Plot-wise, this is more than just a romance. There are things going on in both Linnea's and TJ's lives individually that are having major impacts on their present and potential future. Plus, stuff from the past still needs to be dealt with and resolved, one of which is Linnea's loser ex-husband. But these things added so much to the story, and watching how the characters dealt with injustice or danger or vulnerability, endeared me to them even more.

I really enjoyed Starter Wife, the characters, the romance, the whole thing. I will also comment that this is a fairly clean book, with some inferences/references here or there. If you're looking for a sex-driven book with a lot of cursing, this is not that book. But if you are looking for a great love story, a great family story, a second chance not just in romance but in life, then look no further.

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