Built to Last (Hidden Hearts, Book 1),
by Kate McBrien
Publication: Victoria Editing NetGalley Co-Op;
October 7, 2019
About the book:
A one-week road trip.
Two relationship-phobic adults.
What could go wrong?
Max Carmichael finally has a shot to work with a legendary music producer and be something more than a band manager. But first, he has to demonstrate his skill by taking a road trip to scout new acts. The new job will give him the money he needs to help his parents with their struggling London pub and his little sister, who needs rehab. And if he has to spend one week with a free-spirited American woman who drives him crazy, he’ll do it. Even if she is a seductive redhead. Max doesn’t do redheads. Ever.
Althea Grayson has been living on Santorini for years. She’s a trained chef who aspires to open a restaurant that serves amazing food to everyone, not just the people who can afford it. The only thing standing in her way is money. A paid road trip as a traveling companion is a means to an end; it will pay her way back to San Francisco to claim her trust fund and put her on a path to seeing her dream come true. And If she has to spend a week with a grumpy Englishman who drives her nuts, she’ll do it. Even if he is a sexy beast.
NOTE: Max and Althea are secondary characters from the Indigo Series. It is not necessary to read the Indigo Series before reading Built to Last.
Welcome to my long overdue review of Kate McBrien’s latest, Built to Last. This start of the Hidden Hearts series is about Max Carmichael and Althea Grayson. If you read Kate’s Indigo series about Justin and Lucy, you will remember Max and Althea – but if you haven’t read that series, it will not impact your enjoyment of this book! The sexy and brooding Max is trying to move forward in his career and transition from a band manager to production, with a planned road trip in the United States to scout potential bands. Free-spirited and beautiful Althea is returning home to the States for the first time in a long time to face her strained relationship with her father. Although attracted to one another, Max and Althea don’t always have the greatest rapport with one another, however, that doesn’t stop Althea from joining Max’s scouting trip in order to make her way to San Francisco.
Let me start by sharing what a huge Grateful Dead fan I am, therefore, I absolutely loved all things Dead included in this novel. There are tribute bands, sing-alongs to the radio, and all sorts of references to the band which made me incredibly happy! The one and only time I got to see them was at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, which I thought about a lot while reading 🙂
Anyway, Built to Last is very different from my previous reading from Kate McBrien (which was the Indigo series). Where Indigo had romance, adventure, and a strong metaphysical vibe, Built to Last is a contemporary romance with relatable conflict, as well as, comedic moments. Max stars out very grumpy and emotionally all over the place, especially stressing out about his close-knit family. Althea starts out as her normal peace-loving self, loving life on Santorini, cooking, and happily taking care of others. What’s interesting is the shift as the novel progresses. Althea becomes more emotional and has a lot of quiet moments processing her feelings about her mother dying, her father, and about Max. On the other hand, Max begins to smile more, loosens up, and becomes more romantic and affectionate. Their relationship starts out rocky and then has many ups and downs within the plot. But during all of these ups and downs is amazing chemistry, romance, tension, and suspense while wondering what the future holds for these two characters.
I truly enjoyed this story and all of the fabulous and unique characters that were introduced along the way. I see so much development and growth in Kate’s writing in Built to Last compared to when we first made contact in 2018. I’ve always loved her character development, imagery, and fascinating storylines, and Built to Last shows how much she continues to build on each of those strengths in her writing. I highly recommend this road-trip romance which embodies the perfect blend of romance, emotion, and great adventures!
*Many thanks to NetGalley and Kate McBrien for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!