It wasn't until I reached this last book in the series, Verity Xuereb-Smith, that I figured out the reoccurring theme of all three books. (I was helped along a bit by the title of the trilogy, Beginning Again, which I had forgotten until looking back at my initial email from Steven (sorry!).) All of these title characters are looking for a fresh start. They're turning away from the people that they were and discovering who they always wanted to be. Barbara wanted solitude and respite. This was natural as she had already suffered so much turmoil (spoilers!). Ian was tired of his boring job and the drab scenery of Leicester (fool!). He wanted to be in charge of his own life and he fell in love with Spain. Now there's Verity who is an aging actress who has definitely seen her fair share of drama (ha ha ha I am hilarious). I found this one to be the most enjoyable of the three and I think a lot of that had to do with the structure. The moving plot device is that Verity is being interviewed while on a plane ride from Spain to London. The chapters flip flop between interview style question and answers about Verity's career and snippets of her scripts. Apparently I really enjoy reading scripts. I felt the ending was rather abrupt but overall quite good.
I wanted to give an overall summary of my thoughts on this trilogy but I find myself indecisive. On the one hand, I found them quite slow moving at times and not exactly action packed. On the other hand, I found them to be interesting character studies and now that the theme is obvious to me I think they're rather charmingly optimistic. If you're looking for something easygoing that won't take terribly long to get through (I read each book in a couple of hours) then this trilogy is for you.