The Start of Something Good by Jennifer Probst
Narrated by Sebastian York and Madeliene Maby
Contemporary Romance. Standalone First in Series.
When I was offered an ARC of the second book in the Stay Series by Jennifer Probst, A Brand New Ending, I looked it up and saw there was a book before it. Both audiobooks were $1.99 upgrades so I grabbed them both and settled in for a Probst binge. It’s been years since I read her, but I have met her several times and just love her, so I decided to jump right into The Start of Something Good.
I recently read a book with a very similar trope (fashion-conscious city girl on a farm) that I loved so I honestly do believe it may have affected my enjoyment of this a bit, and it started off a little rough for me.
First of all, it’s third person. I never feel quite as connected to a third person book, and it just feels a little more like a traditional old-fashioned romance. Some third person romances are less obvious than others, but here it did feel to me like there was more telling than showing going on.
Former Special Forces paratrooper Ethan Bishop was wounded in combat. He is now home at his sister’s B&B and farm to heal, help, and maybe hide out behind his new grizzly Adams persona. Mia Thrush is a fancy New York PR executive with her own firm. When her biggest client’s daughter runs into a snafu at college, the girl is assigned community service at the upstate farm, and Mia is charged with being her chaperone for the summer.
Mia is SUCH a city girl to the point that she came off as really unlikeable at first. She was so snooty and rude and demanding I wasn’t sure I would get past it, but I did. Her character growth was huge. Ethan wasn’t much better. He was snarky, judgmental and mean when he first met Mia, though it was deserved. The character I really loved was Chloe, the Mayor’s daughter. I also loved the purpose of the farm—they rescue horses that may get put down. The crazy cast of animals on the farm was one of my favorite things about the book. To know Hei Hei is to love him.
As the animosity between Ethan and Mia changed from hate to lust to more, I really enjoyed seeing the characters learn and grow and change. While they were both unlikeable at the beginning, Ethan and Mia grew on me.
“You’re enough. Never doubt you’re more than enough for a man. Because if you belonged to me, I’d get on my knees in gratitude every damn night and make sure you never doubted it.”
- Very well-written and well paced.
- Felt like a Hallmark movie.
- The animals were awesome.
- The nosy old people were funny!
- Not too much unnecessary angst.
- Great character growth.
- I loved Chloe.
- Great setup for the next book.
- 3rd person.
- Main characters were unlikeable at first.
- Mia had a bit of an unhealthy obsession with her diet. No sugar and no carbs. But Ethan liked to force her to eat. I found that whole thing a little rude on his part. It was like he force-fed her!
- Fingering after petting a horse? Eew. Wash your hands!
2 great narrators you can’t go wrong with, but I think the narration kind of accentuated the third person detachment. I think I would have enjoyed this more if I read it.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 3.5 Stars, 4 Heat, 4.5 Narration