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Title: Construction Beauty Queen
Author: Sara Daniel
May Contain Spoilers
Chicago socialite Veronica Jamison is determined to shake off her sheltered lifestyle and overbearing parents. She heads to her grandfather’s small town of Kortville, ready to roll up her sleeves and work for the family construction business. She’ll prove her worth, even if it means answering to the company’s ruggedly handsome co-owner, Matt.
Matt Shaw just wants to run his business, spend time with the niece he’s raising on his own, and give back to the townspeople who have stood by him. Managing a spoiled-rotten princess he knows he’ll never be good enough for? Not part of his plan. But as he gets to know Veronica, he learns there’s more to her than her beautiful looks and designer clothes. She’s got a heart as rich as her background.
With the quirky townspeople rallying against Veronica inheriting her grandfather’s business, it’s up to Matt to try to drive her out of town. But how can he, when instead she’s driving her way into his heart?
I really wanted to like this book, but I never connected with the secondary characters. In fact, I thought most of them were just plain mean, especially at the beginning. Veronica has just arrived in the tiny town of Kortville with a basketful of dreams. She wants to escape the meaningless life her parents have planned for her, and stand on her own two feet. She wants to make a difference with her life. She wants a real job, and she has worked her tail off for years, first by graduating from college, and then earning an MBA which she paid for all by herself, thank you very much. Her parents can’t see the sense of her having an education, since she’s just going to marry the man of their choosing anyway. Uh, no thanks, Mom and Dad!
After emailing her grandfather, Veronica has been given a challenge. If she can stick it out for 30 days working at the construction firm her grandfather has a stake in, he will let her take over operations at his successful distribution firm. Putting every bit of faith in this man she has never met, Veronica sells everything she owns to pay off her college loans, purchases a clunker of a car, and makes the journey from Chicago to Kortville. Once there, she is met with nothing but contempt. The residents resent her because her grandfather was going to sell his company and invest the profits in the town. Matt, the guy who owns the other half of the construction company, makes her feel as welcome as an army of fire ants at a picnic. It is all of these awful people and their determined efforts to derail Veronica’s plans that kept me from engaging in the plot. I couldn’t stand these people. Matt and her grandfather even put her in harm’s way, instructing her to undertake tasks that she was clearly not ready for. I had to hand it to her, though. She didn’t know how to accept defeat, and she never gave up. Besides Matt’s young niece, Veronica is the only character in this entire book that I had any bit of respect for. Even Matt, super studly construction dude, was a turd, constantly putting her in situations where she could have been seriously hurt.
I had a hard time getting behind the romance because I didn’t like Matt. He was dumped by his big city girlfriend after he moved to tiny Kortville, and as a result, he couldn’t give Veronica any slack at all. He made an effort to keep his niece firmly isolated from “girly” things, too, lest she turn into a fashion snob and want to leave town, too. This did not earn any brownie points for Matt. Neither did his constant projection of his ex’s faults onto Veronica. He gave her nothing but grief for the first half of the book because she was from the big city and had a wealthy upbringing. Then, after proving herself time and time again, he gave her grief because she had ideas how he could expand his business and make it more profitable. I didn’t get this, and it made Matt look like a hick. He didn’t want the ability to provide a better life for his niece? At this point, I just wished that Veronica would walk away from him and the rest of the narrow-minded town.
Overall, the behavior of the secondary characters diminished my enjoyment of Construction Beauty Queen. I did not enjoy how they trivialized Veronica at every opportunity. It made me angry because she never treated them with anything other than warmth and openness. The residents of Kortville did eventually make a turn around, but I was so irritated with them by then that it didn’t make a difference to me.
Review copy provided by publisher