Audiobook review: Love Built to Last
Author: Lisa Ricard Claro
Narrator: Pam Dougherty
Audio Speed: 1.5x
Series: Fireflies #1
Genre: Sweet Contemporary Romance
After reading the blurb for Love Built to Last, I was captivated by the plot of two widowed souls getting a second chance at love. I’m a sucker for small-town, feel good romances, and Love Built to Last fits the bill.
I was immediately drawn into the story by Ms. Dougherty’s narration. She has a calm, steady voice, reminiscent of Holly Hunter, whom I’ve always loved. And with the similarities between Love Built to Last and the movie, Always featuring Ms. Hunter as a widow whose deceased husband helps in mysterious ways, I found myself in a comfortable spot listening to this enjoyable tale. I like how the narrator just shares the story from multiple points-of-view. She changes the voices just a bit with dialogue, but she doesn’t create overwhelming different character voices, and it works. Ms. Dougherty’s southern charm brings the story to life, infusing the characters with both a sweetness and sturdiness I’ve come to associate with a fine southern tale. But she’s more than a familiar voice, the narrator also fills her characters with powerful emotion when the scene calls for it. At one point, nearing the climax of the book when best friend Brenna confronts main character Maddie, the emotion is overwhelming.
While the narration of the book is what initially drew me in, the story itself kept me listening. Ms. Claro brings her world to life with wonderful descriptions of the scenes and everyday moments. I felt like I was sitting on Maddie’s porch, drinking sweet tea and watching the fireflies. Every detail is vividly brought to life without bogging down the storyline. And she gives the same attention to her main characters, Maddie and Cal. We learn about their lives as they go about their everyday routines and when they interact with one another. We feel their fears over connecting with another soul after losing so much in the deaths of their first loves.
The story unfolds slowly, but it never drags. It is sweet and careful, yet filled with passion. While the heat rating is minimal, it suits the romance and feel of the book. The added piece of Jack’s “spirit” communicating with Maddie isn’t so much paranormal as it is a way for Maddie to deal with grief and losing love so suddenly. Jack’s part in the book evolves as Maddie’s outlook on life and feelings for Cal evolve, and when we learn about the day Jack dies, the behavior suits the situation perfectly.
In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Love Built to Last. It is a wonderfully sweet romance that tugged at my heart. Two widowed souls getting a second chance at forever love; it isn’t always easy, but they work through it. The added “magical touch” of Jack’s messages worked well in the story and fit with Maddie – helping her say goodbye.
Review copy provided by the author.
About the Book:
She can’t let go of her dead husband . . .
Maddie Kinkaid believes her late husband, Jack, gives her advice on everything from ordering a pizza to hiring a carpenter, so when she finds Caleb Walker’s business card on Jack’s desk, she’s convinced that he’s the guy to remodel her kitchen.
He can’t decide if she’s worth the risk . . .
Caleb is a single father, and protecting his young son means avoiding romantic entanglements. But there’s heat in every kitchen, and sparks ignite between Caleb and Maddie—until disaster strikes.
As Jack goes silent and Maddie’s guilt consumes her, it looks like Caleb and Maddie will never find their happily-ever-after—at least, not without a little help from Jack . . .