Rating: 4.75 🌈
Nora Phoenix has released the first book in her new series about older men finding their HEA and it’s a sweet , smartly crafted romantic read.
I found myself liking every aspect of the world building she’s putting in place for her series and the small engaging group of long term friends I’m sure she will pull from to get her stories.
The location is Forestville, Washington. A small town with a river dissecting its Main Street from its outlying edge with some houses, park edge , and auto shop. The author has supplied a charming hand drawn map that helps place all the houses, and really shows how small Forestville is. I love that detail.
Then comes the foundation group of school friends. Boys that have been essentially family to each other since childhood. The story begins in the past, at their senior prom. We see the group dynamics, who they are hooking up with, and plans for their future. Tiago and Tomas , the gorgeous Banner twins are already headed for model fame and fortune. Two other friends,Essex and Auden, are headed into different branches of the military. Marnin’s future was unsettled.
Flash forward 30 years to a class reunion that brings those left together again and we see what the years have changed those teenagers into.
Tiago, along with his twin, are still internationally recognized and sought after super models. But for Tiago, the lifestyle has become increasingly difficult and one he’s tired of.
Renovating the Model Is a smart contemporary romance that contains elements of personal struggles with a learning disability and power inequality within a brotherly dynamic. It’s done with a realistic portrayal of a loving but insecure person who’s been made to feel inferior his entire life because of his severe dyslexia.
There’s other strong aspects to consider here in the narrative, each with varying levels of complexity. Cas’ scars, an inner circle character’s bullying, and even a minor character’s domestic abuse. Each one woven into the story with a gentleness and attention to detail that makes it seem as though they have the emotional impact that they should.
This story is sweet, sexy, convincing, and engaging. I loved the characters, the age gap , here Tiago is 47 or 48 with Cas , the contractor being 18 years younger. But as written, the deep connection and great chemistry between them makes any age gap seem insignificant.
Two final notes. Authors often say books like these are or can be read as standalone stories within the series. But I disagree. There’s a personal connection, emotional history that’s being built into the narrative here. Lines of dialogue and friendship that dates years of change between people who will have important relationships with each person even if it’s not the romantic ones. So read them in order, it just makes sense.
A word choice that bothered me. The author used unpractical. That word by any dictionary’s definition should be impractical.
“Trust me, most of the stuff I model is unpractical, and I’d never wear it in private.”
That’s it. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this book and absolutely recommend it for all lovers of contemporary romance. I can’t wait for the next story to be released.
Forestville Silver Foxes:
✓ Renovating the Model #1
◦ Awakening the Sheriff #2 – July 29, 2023
Renovating the Model (Forestville Silver Foxes Book 1)
Everyone knows my face. No one knows the real me.
All people see when they look at me is a beautiful man, a supermodel, half of the world’s most famous twins. No one sees the man underneath.
When I return to Forestville, the small town I grew up in, for my high school reunion, I impulsively decide to stay.
I’m now the proud owner of a house, an absolute fixer-upper. Never mind that I have two left hands.
Thank god for Cas, the local contractor, who agrees to help me out. We come from completely different worlds and are almost twenty years apart, yet we somehow connect.
Cas sees me, the real me.
We hook up…
Then become friends…
With benefits (courtesy of a snowstorm)…
And a fake relationship (long story)…
But when fake becomes real and pretending turns into feelings I can’t deny, I’m left wondering if what we have stands a chance.
Renovating the Model is the first book in the new Forestville Silver Foxes series, a contemporary small-town MM romance series featuring hot silver foxes and the men who fall in love with them. Each book can be read as a standalone.