About the Book:
Author: Melissa Tagg
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2013
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Series: Where Love Begins – Book 1
Genre: Fiction; Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Christian
Rating: 5 out of 5
Review: Miranda Woodruff – known as “Randi” to friends, has just taken “complicated” to whole new level. Three years ago, she began her own homebuilding show with more than ratings on the line, she also had the love of a good man named Robbie and her love for him bubbled over into her early first season tapings when she claimed him as her husband rather than labeling him as the fiancé he was. After things fell apart, including a wedding that never came to be, fledging ratings are plaguing the show during the taping of her fourth season of From the Ground Up, leaving Miranda scrambling for a husband and some good PR. To make matters more complex, reporter Matthew Knox has been assigned to shadow Miranda and chronicle her life – as a TV celebrity whose private life has been secreted away, more than one celebrity tabloid is curious to catch glimpses of Miranda’s private life, and Matthew is just the guy to get the scoop.
If only one thing could be said about Melissa Tagg’s debut, it’d be that it’s unique. Fortunately, I don’t have to hold myself to a limit and can instead explore the sparkling chemistry and wit that is Made to Last. From the various reviews that cropped up on my dashboard written by fellow reviewers, one thing that left me skeptical was how the three men in Miranda’s life and their relationship with her would play out. There are usually enough mishaps in rom-coms with one hero, I couldn’t imagine what would happen when you plopped a plucky heroine in the middle of three (uh-hum, hunky) heroes, all of whom (well… with exception to perhaps one) could have won Miranda’s heart to readers satisfaction. It’s that much harder when we fall for more than one guy yet to her credit, Melissa never toys with our emotions we “know” early on who will be doing the breath-catching and who won’t get the girl.
Though it may be labeled a “debut,” this is anything but. Made to Last offers its readers not just a lasting impression (the kind that leaves anyone with a goofy grin and a happy heart) but also one of grace even in the face of dishonesty. All of the characters were hurting in some way – from a broken heart to broken families, no one is untouched by mistakes and a past that has crippled them if not physically then certainly emotionally. Matthew is probably one of the most memorable contemporary heroes I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. He’s not just heart-stoppingly protective of Miranda (protecting someone isn’t always an act of physical stalwart) a trait that also means he’s a person of honor, he’s also wonderful in his role of “uncle” to the young Cee – reading through his scenes with her is like getting to know Matthew in deeper, more meaningful way. Miranda’s own life was an interesting puzzle. Not because we didn’t know where her lying stemmed from, more that it was a joy to watch her finally realize she could release herself from this pain and finally to rediscover God. Her ways of “dealing” and trying to control situations was really suffocating Miranda both as a person who valued privacy and as a public figure. It took love to help her see that.
Sparkling characters, smart dialogue and a story line that wraps itself around your heart, Made to Last is a timeless novel. Melissa digs deeper than the average contemporary novel usually would and we are wrapped into a warm cocoon of happiness. Any contemporary genre fan will be hard-pressed not to fall under the spell of this charmer. It doesn’t just remind us of the importance of facing our mistakes and learning to be ourselves, there is also a subtle, beautiful message of faith. At the heart, through Miranda and Matthew, this novel teaches us what it means to be happy – what it means to “be” home.
Synopsis: Miranda Woodruff, star of the homebuilding show “From the Ground Up,” will do anything to keep the job she loves. Due to a painful broken engagement and a faith she’s mostly forgotten, she’s let her entire identity become wrapped up in the Miranda everyone sees onscreen. So when she receives news that the network might cancel her program, she must do the very thing she fears most: let the spotlight shine on her closely guarded personal life. The only problem? She’s been living a lie–letting viewers believe she’s married–and now she’s called upon to play wife to a sweet, if a bit goofy, pretend husband to boost ratings.
Desperate to help his family and prove he’s not a total failure, reporter Matthew Knox is looking for a breakout story. When he’s offered the opportunity to do an online serial feature on Miranda Woodruff, he jumps at the chance, even if celebrity reporting isn’t really his thing. But as soon as he meets Miranda, he knows she’s keeping secrets.
When Miranda’s former fiance suddenly appears on the scene again, she doubts her life could get more complicated. Juggling three guys, an on-the-rocks television show, and the potential exposure of her deception is way more than she bargained for. Can the woman who makes things look so good onscreen admit it’s time to tell the truth about who she is? And if she does, will the life Miranda’s built come crashing down just as she’s finally found a love to last?
Sincere thanks to author Melissa Tagg (Team Tagg) and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.