Tuesday 3 January 2023

Built to Last by Erin Hahn (St. Martin's Press, 2022)


Shelby Springfield has spent the last ten years trying to overcome her past, sanding it away like she does the rough spots on the vintage furniture finds she makes over. But as a former child star, it’s hard to forget a mediocre pop career, a meltdown widely documented by the paparazzi, and a huge public break with her former co-star Lyle Jessup. It’s also hard to forget her other co-star and childhood sweetheart, Cameron Riggs -- the one who got away. Anytime Shelby has called, Cameron has come running… and then he runs right off again to chase stories around the world by making documentaries, too scared to admit what he really wants. But when Lyle stirs the pot, getting the two back in the spotlight with a home renovation show, Cameron can't help but come on board. There's something in it for everyone -- almost. Cameron wants to come home and set down some roots. Shelby wants to prove to the world she's not the messy party girl anymore. And Lyle wants to twist the screws on his two childhood friends who had more chemistry than he could dream of with anyone. Sparks and sawdust fly as Shelby and Cameron film the pilot for 'Homemade' and battle Lyle’s shenanigans at every turn. Erin Hahn’s sparkling rom com debut, Built to Last, is a second-chance romance sure to have readers falling in love fast.


I found myself fully engrossed in this novel straight from the beginning.
Shelby and Cameron are childhood friends who find a way back to each other after being apart for most of a decade. Both have gone through changes in career but  Shelby also fell into the inevitable pitfalls you would associate with fame, Hollywood, and the pop industry. I loved that Cameron never hesitated for a second when he got a call for help from her out of the blue. The pair were destined to be together they just needed to figure that out for themselves.
It is billed as a rom-com but it reads more serious than that with a sprinkling of comedy mixed in. Shelby didn't have a supportive family growing up and she was manipulated into working from a young age by her mother. Her father wasn't a big part of her life until she made the decision to leave LA and began working with him in his home renovation business. 
Shelby has a close-knit group of friends who are very supportive and invested in her friendship and potential romance with Cameron. The townspeople love Shelby and it was heartwarming to see them interacting with her, especially the older people for whom she restores furniture with such great care, expertise and respect.
Shelby isn't the only one with nice friends. Cameron's friend Kevin knows all his history with Shelby. There is great banter between the pair with a lot of teasing and funny moments. Cameron also develops a close bond with Shelby's Dad. He also mends his relationship with his brother and dad. 
Some of the humour comes from the villains in the story- Shelby's mother is a piece of work as is Shelby's ex-boyfriend and her former friend. I just loved watching Shelby stand up for herself with these people and do so with humour and class.
The swoon-worthy romantic ending was super sweet and satisfying. It also left me wondering about Shelby's friend Lorelei and if there is a sequel in the making.

Available now Amazon

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