Fresh Beginnings by Iris Blobel is centered around Jared, an Australian man vacationing in the States. His vacation was meant to be a solo trip, but he ends up with three tag-alongs: Ivy, a hitchhiker, Mia, a sister of a friend, and Mia's boyfriend, Josh. Each person has their own reasons for taking the journey. During the various tourist stops the group visited during the day, and the camping done at night, Jared learns that the people he didn't want around to ruin his idea of a perfect vacation were actually the people he needed most at that point in his life.
I enjoyed Fresh Beginnings a great deal. As I read, I thought I was going to get another boxed romance: guy meets girl. They fall in love and overcome seemingly impossible hurdles to be together. While that was the case to begin with, it was clear as I continued reading that wasn't all there was to Jared and Ivy's story. I liked sharing the journey with Jared and Ivy and hoped they'd sort out their relationship. Blobel's story will tug on even the most hardened of romantic's heartstrings.
Iris Blobel has crafted a beautiful love story without reverting to overly used, gimmicky story lines or explicit sex. I found myself alternating between smiling at the characters' joyful antics and love for life, to wishing I could hug them tight during the sad bits. Based on this work, I will definitely seek out and recommend Blobel's future work.