Review by Charity Rowell-Stansbury
Maddy Whitcomb is a brilliant architect trying to make a name for herself in the all male pool of architects at Bleeker’s Architectural Firm. From her domineering father to her boss who trivializes her talent, to Derek Nichols who goes out of his way to make her life miserable, men always seem to stand in her way when it comes to realizing her dreams. That is until Jason Cornish, a developer from Australia, arrives on the scene promising to make all her dreams come true.
Derek won’t admit it, not even to himself, that he is more than a little attracted to Maddy. Therefore, when it becomes obvious that Jason is determined to win Maddy’s heart no matter the cost, Derek’s protective nature slips out in spite of promising himself to never let another woman into his heart.
Will Derek open his heart in order to save Maddy or will Jason’s secret agenda to win Maddy prove too much to overcome? Will Maddy’s dreams be crushed again?
In this expansion of Gressley’s short story that appeared in Now & Forever, Maddy Whitcomb is struggling to prove herself as an accomplished architect in an all male firm; especially after discovering that her controlling father got her the job. To make matters worse, one of her handsome co-workers, Derek Nichols, is making life at the firm miserable with his constant teasing and condescending quips.
Maddy gets a big break in the form of Jason Corish, a developer from Australia who likes her forward-thinking designs. He wants to take her back to Australia to present her design to the board; however, Maddy’s boss intervenes and persuades him to allow Derek to join them.
Will Derek crush Maddy’s hopes of being recognized or will Jason come to her rescue?
I enjoyed Gressley’s short story in Now & Forever, so I was curious to see how she expanded upon it. Rather than maintaining the plot’s focus on Maddy or Jason, Gressley developed Derek’s character. This gives readers a different perspective on her previous story and readers may find themselves empathizing with Derek’s outlook on love.
I thought that the dialogue was convincing and the premise was interesting. I personally tend to gravitate towards plots with female protagonists who are overcoming obstacles to rise up in male-dominated environments. I also appreciated the mental asides that Gressley inserted when a male character was acting overbearing towards Maddy, it added some authenticity to Maddy as a character and the plot.
The Royals of Monterra: A Design for Love is a light, short, and romantic read with decently developed characters that are easy to relate to. You do not need to read Gressley’s short story in Now & Forever to understand what is going on in the plot, but doing so will help to round out your experience.