Starting Over on Sunshine Corner by Phoebe Mills is about a single mom who made a split second decision to hook up with her best friend one night, and that decision ended up changing both of their lives.
Rebecca (Becca) Hayes has been so focused on raising her daughter, Sofia, and furthering her finance career that she feels her life is missing companionship. She decides that she wants to start dating again but she isn’t sure how to go about it. She hasn’t been on a date since her daughter was born a few years ago. She hasn’t talked to a romantic partner in a while either and she is afraid of embarrassing herself on a date.
The only man she has been talking to or is close with is her best friend, Jackson Lowe. Becca knows that Jackson is objectively very attractive but she doesn’t want to ruin their friendship. She has always put her feelings for him on the back burner. Until one day, she asks Jackson to help her get back into the dating game. One thing led to another and the pair ended up spending the night together. A few weeks later, Becca realizes that she is pregnant with Jackon’s baby. She knows she was able to count on him before but she doesn’t know if he is mature enough to be a father.
Jackson isn’t sure what he wants to do in life. He certainly wasn’t ready to be a father. He thought he was going to spend his days working as team lead at his family’s landscaping business and spend his free time surfing while being a bachelor. However, for years he has been secretly in love with Becca but he felt that he wasn’t good enough for her. She was also the real reason why he never settled down with anyone else. He felt that no one could compare to her.
After finding out that Becca is pregnant, Jackson realizes that he wants to have a life with Becca. He wants to have a family and grow old with her. Jackson knows he will need to put in the work if he wants to become the father and man Becca needs him to be.
The book was a quick and cozy romantic read. There was some mention of adult themes but the love scenes were behind closed doors. I thought the book was an okay read. I wish the author had given more details about how the main characters’ relationship had changed after spending the night together. It was like they talked about it and the story mentioned the time spent but that was about it. I wanted to know: how did they feel after the night together? Was it something they wished happened sooner?
I didn’t really understand why Becca was being so hard on Jackson. He was a single adult that had no responsibilities. If he wanted to spend his day on a job that was relatively stress free and enjoyable to him so he can spend his free time surfing, why was it a big deal for her? When he found that she was pregnant, he continued trying to be present for her and her daughter, though Becca said she was surprised at how much she could rely on him throughout the book. The book spends so much time going over the same thing about Jackson not being responsible enough and the last few pages is their blowup argument that just seemed like a token conflict scene before the book ends.
Another thing that confused me was that Jackson seemed very considerate of Becca’s feelings. He would try to arrive early to drive her to events because she didn’t like driving long distances by herself. He would also babysit her daughter when she had to do something. He seemed to get along with kids and enjoyed playing with them. I felt like Becca judged him for not being mature without realizing he never had the reason to be that way and when he did step up or try to, she had her own preconceived notions that were hard to get past.
I also didn’t see why Jackson was so loyal to Becca. He bent over backwards and consistently tried to better himself to be a good partner to her. When he was asking for support for something he was passionate about and did try to put in the work (but mentioned that he had some details to iron out), Becca immediately dismissed him. It just didn’t seem like they weren’t on fair or equal ground when it came to emotionally supporting each other.
Another aspect of the story that gave me pause was that I felt like all of Becca’s and Jackson’s friends all had kids. They failed to remember that if you are not a parent or caregiver for a child, you might not know or have all the parenting skills that they seem to think that everyone needs to have to be a parent.
The book is part of a series but can be read as a standalone. If you like straightforward romance novels, then you would enjoy reading this book.