Start With Me
by Kara Isaac
Publication Date June 29, 2020
Genres: Clean Romance
Setting: New York, Minnesota, England Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
Lacey O’Connor is finally a sure thing for the promotion she’s spent ten years working for. But when a scandal rocks her firm she finds herself on a collision course with the one person she has spent five years trying to forget. Only to discover he doesn’t even remember her…
Victor Carlisle has spent the last three years trying to convince his family he’s no longer the playboy alcoholic who tore their life apart. When a company merger is announced with a US sister firm, he’s presented with the perfect opportunity to prove he’s changed. Only to find himself falling for his competition and the one woman his family will never accept.
As the competition intensifies the choice looms between the professional and the personal. Can they find a way beyond their past decisions and present aspirations to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Though I had heard her name often, I had not read anything by Kara Isaac, so it was time to remedy that…
I admired the way Lacey was such a take-charge woman! The way she reacted to the last-minute challenge from her company’s owner was amazing. Maybe a little unrealistic but fun anyway! I admired the way she determined to make the right choices even when it threatened her job.
My heart went out to Victor as his family continued to treat him as the man he used to be. Before rehab. Before his life changed and he began to make wiser choices. Despite the time that had passed, they treated him poorly and expected only the worst from him, especially his brother, Peter. I appreciated how realistic this is. Despite Peter’s relationship with the Lord, he didn’t show any signs of forgiveness to Victor. Sadly, this is something all too many of us do.
I especially appreciated being able to like Victor despite the things I learned about his past. Similar stories have shown too much of the ugly before endearing me to the characters, making it harder to relate to them and enjoy their stories.
The tension between the attraction of Lacey and Victor and the newly minted no-fraternizing policy at their company added a complication to their already complicated non-relationship. The competition between them related to both aspiring to the same position added even more!
Regarding the faith element, Victor’s time in rehab led him to read the Bible and acknowledge that there is a God. Lacey started out cynical and mad at God and yet as the story progressed, she began to think about praying… The faith element is certainly there though it is not strong.
At one point in the story, (unsaved) Lacey was given tickets to “The Book of Mormon“, which I saw from Wikipedia is a musical satire about Mormon missionaries. Victor also explains to Lacey that when he was in rehab, reading material was limited to spiritual books. He started by requesting a copy of The Book of Mormon but quickly discarded that for the Bible.
There were several events alluded to that I imagine are from previous stories. While I appreciate when authors don’t find it necessary to retell details from earlier books, I hadn’t read them and felt I was missing things I should have known. How did Victor get that scar on his face? Secondary characters were not introduced at all if they had appeared in other books. It seemed the author assumed I already knew who they were. Another example was an allusion to Lacey being hurt by a relationship ending when she was 17 but it wasn’t really clear why. Yes, her unmarried sister got pregnant but how that tied in…???
I did drop the rating a half a star due to potty talk by the very young attendants at Victor’s brother’s wedding. I do not at all enjoy reading of bodily excrement and this soured the story for me. I know I tend to be pickier than others in this regard, so if it bothers you, too, be aware. Otherwise, pretend I marked it a full four stars. 🙂