Book Reviews

“From The Start” by Melissa Tagg


Walker Family Book #1

(Read my reviews of #2, #3 and #4)

Colton Greene was orphaned at nine years old. In a terrible accident he can’t remember, despite the years of counselling he’s received. Now, he’s suffered a career ending injury, plunging him from NFL stardom. After an embarrassing retirement press conference in LA, his manager tells him to lay low and to stay out of the public eye. So what better opportunity than when his friend Logan Walker offers for him to spend a few weeks in Logan’s hometown of Maple Valley, Iowa?

Of course, we all know, that magic happens in Maple Valley, Iowa.

When Kate Walker was a little girl, she loved romantic stories. Years later, life has left her disillusioned in the romance department. Instead of the important things she wanted to write, she writes fluffy TV-romances.

She comes home to Maple Valley shortly after Logan brings Colton there. They have

They share a conspiratory breakfast with three-year-old Charlie. There’s a shower fight, and a growing friendship.

While they both work alongside the inhabitants of Maple Valley to restore the town after the tornado, Colton gets wind of Kate’s writing career, or lack of such. He asks Kate to write his book, despite the fact that she knows nothing about football.

Before Kate left Chicago, she received an offer to go to Africa and write for the non-profit her late mother started. The project requires funds she doesn’t have, but the check from Colton’s publisher could make her trip possible.

This first book about the Walkers and Maple Valley is no less intriguing than the fourth (I’m aware that it’s common to begin a book series at the start, not at the end, but if you had been exposed to “the bathroom scene” before you knew anything about Walkers or Maple Valley, you’d understand). 

What I Loved:

  • The cute and quirky Maple Valley, and the Walker family, who is everything one could wish for a family to be. So. Much. To. Love.
  • The meet cute.
  • The question I’m now asking myself:

“Home. When had Maple Valley taken on that description for him? It was only supposed to be a temporary stopover. Like a rest stop at the side of an interstate, where you got out of your car, stretched your legs, grabbed a coffee. But eventually time came to slide back into the car and move on.”

From the Start by Melissa Tagg


Why I Recommend This Book:

“Stop letting your characters be braver than you are. Be the girl who takes a risk. (…) It’s okay to admit what you want. When you do, you might finally get brave enough to go after it.”

From the Start by Melissa Tagg

If, upon reading this, you find yourself with an insatiable thirst for small town life, Walkers and restored dreams, you can buy “From the Start” here!

tagg2 Melissa Tagg is the author of the popular Walker Family series, the Where Love Begins series and the Enchanted Christmas Collection. She’s a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl. Her spring 2016 release, Like Never Before, was named to one of Publishers Weekly’s Top Ten lists and her fall 2017 release, All This Time, was a Romantic Times 4.5-Star TOP PICK. Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as workshops and women’s retreats. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever—not that she’s biased—watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa loves connecting with readers at and on Facebook and Instagram.



One December Night

“One December Night – A Whisper Shore Christmas Story” is an e-short (pdf) that is FREE to download on Melissa Tagg’s website. Get it here.

It’s also Where Love Begins book #2.5

And yes, you really, really should get it. The quality is just the same as all her other novels, and I was sincerely stumped when I got to the end and it was followed  by blank pages.

I was ready to follow Will to the ends of the earth/ Whisper Shore, Michigan (and possibly farther).

“Librarian Pennilynn Baxter likes life the way she likes her bookshelves—neat and tidy, arranged just so.”

“One December Night” by Melissa Tagg

Pining away for Maple Valley,

but otherwise well, in body and spirit.

— Austin

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