Love for Beginners by Jill Shalvis

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis continues her Wildstone series with the moving story of a young woman who has to start her life—and her love life—over again.

When Emma Harris wakes up from a coma, she learns that her fiancĂ© and her BFF have fallen in love, she’s lost her job, and the life she knew is gone. Overwhelmed but grateful to be alive, she decides to start over from scratch. Not as easy as it sounds, of course. But she’s never been a quitter, even if she wishes she could quit rehab, where her hot but evil physical therapist, Simon, puts her through the wringer.

Desperate for a new start, Emma opens a doggy day care. Unfortunately, the only space she can afford is owned by her childhood nemesis Ali Pratt. But hey, she’s been through worse, right? She tries to roll with the punches, but a friend drops his grandpa off at the doggy day care because he can’t find senior care. On top of that, she and Ali bring the term “frenemies” to a whole new level. And then another grandparent shows up. And another.

In the midst of all that, Emma realizes she’s accidentally fallen for her Evil PT. But the most horrifying thing of all is that Ali just might have turned into the best friend she’s ever had. And as Emma grows from the pain of her past and takes on her new path, she comes to learn that life isn’t what you’re given, it’s what you make of it.

Love for Beginners is a great title for this book. The main characters are named Emma and Simon and while the two of them are not exactly new to love, they may as well be. Simon uses his family and work responsibilities as a way to keep from getting close to anyone. Emma is recovering from surviving an accident and waking up from a coma, which means that it's been quite some time since she's experienced love, or even been on a date.

Interspersed through this romance story are different storylines. Simon's main confidante is his cousin Allison, who is going through a breakup herself. She and her boyfriend Ryan ended things because she just couldn't seem to fit in, with everything else going on in his life. Ryan is a people person and has lots of friends and family and events to go to. Meanwhile, Allison has trouble interacting with people, thanks to how she grew up.

In typical Jill Shalvis fashion, this book was filled with humorous situations and hilarious side characters. I loved Simon's Dad. Dale is a firecracker and never failed to have a funny viewpoint about his son or his niece's love problems.

I also enjoyed the dog characters in this book. Since waking up from her coma, Emma has been the owner of Hog, and adorable St. Bernard who serves as her emotional support dog. Allison also has a dog named Killer (who is actually a small, small Yorkie) who she shares with her ex, Ryan.

The relationships in this book made me happy. I loved how Simon and Emma slowly fell for each other, and worked through their issues together. It made my heart happy as Allison worked to become more friendly and open, so that she could show Ryan that she was ready for a second change.

But what I REALLY loved was the female friendship between Emma and Allison.

The two were enemies in high school and thanks to Simon, they find themselves in each other's lives again. Neither of them is in the market for a new friend, but thanks to certain situations, they find themselves being stuck together a lot more than they would like.

I thought their friendship/rivalry was so funny and it really made me happy how they learned to love each other and were really there for each other in the end.

Overall, this was a story that warmed my heart in more ways than one.

Thank you to Netgalley for this eArc in exchange for an honest review. Jill Shalvis is one of my favorite contemporary romance authors and this latest installment in her Wildstone series did not disappoint.