Wendy reviews ‘The Architect and the Barista’ by Caraway Carter. Self published September 23, 2018, 278 pages.
Thomas Drake has never been a relationship guy. And he’s sure not looking for his next hook-up when he stops by the Brass Lamp for coffee, and he can’t keep his eyes off the hot older guy pulling espresso behind the counter. But Brodie has secrets he’s not ready to share, and he doesn’t have time for a sexy young workaholic, no matter how much the air crackles between them when they get near each other.
Before they can figure out how to break down the walls around their hearts, though, they’re going to have to deal with a vlogger with a grudge, secrets forced into the open, and a stalker ex. With their lives thrown into turmoil, Thomas and Brodie are going to have to decide if what they are working on is worth the fight in the end.
The Architect & The Barista is a standalone novel with a happily-ever-after ending. It’s the second book in the May/December Promenade series — stories that give non-traditional couples a second chance.
*A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Grab your copy here:
Why I read this book: Having read this author before and enjoying their work, I was more than happy for the opportunity to read and review this book.
I read this book as a stand alone and wasn’t even aware that it was a series until I was setting up this review. I’ve since purchased the first book in the series ‘The Doctor and the Mechanic’. You can purchase your copy of that book HERE
This was a much more complicated read than I was expecting. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, it just meant that I had to pay extra close attention throughout the book and wouldn’t recommend it as light reading. Part of what makes it complicated is that it covers some heavy social subject matter. One of the characters is HIV positive and I applaud the author for writing about a subject that isn’t often addressed but needs to be. Caraway Carter covered the subject brilliantly by writing about fears and misconceptions and also giving us a mini health lesson. I loved that the positive characters romantic interest took the news perfectly. He acknowledged that his prospective partner had the disease but he also knew that because his viral loads were almost undetectable and that he was on PreEP his chances of catching the disease were almost impossible.
The next part of the book that made it a less than “light” read for me, was another subject that isn’t often addressed in romance novels. Domestic abuse. Our MC is stalked by a former boyfriend and the story covers all that would entail in real life. From disbelief that makes a person ignore signs to escalating danger until worse and worst things happen. That added a layer of suspense to this story that was unexpected.
The two MC’s is this book, Thomas or “Tommy” and Brodie were also added a layer of complexity to the book.
Thomas/Tommy, was a character that I didn’t particularly like. All the way until the very end of the story where he owned his actions and how they impacted others and made a real choice to change his ways and be a better person. There were glimpses of a kind and generous person hiding behind the facade of a selfish player and I was glad to see that he finally let that person show, even if I was sorry that it took him so long to do it.
Brodie is just a sweet guy that’s trying to make a living and hiding from his past. It was kinda fun to know that he was Tommy’s adolescent crush. I liked that he wants his place in the community and doesn’t shy away from helping those who need him. He does have secrets though and they hang like a heavy weight over his head. He’s probably my favorite part of the book. Not just as a character, but as someone who didn’t think they’d ever get the chance at love and a relationship again.
The May/Dec aspect played very little part in the story. Once they maneuvered themselves past that it wasn’t even an issue for them as a couple. I loved that about their relationship. Their story together wasn’t easy and I found the flow a little choppy at times. However I did thoroughly enjoy the book over all.
The secondary characters (whom I found out after I had read this book were mostly from the first book of this series) were wonderful. I think that had I known about the first book and read it before this one I would have gotten more out of it and it would have made sense in a way that it just couldn’t for me not knowing their back-stories. As I said above, I have purchased the first book of the series because I did enjoy this story and know that I will get at least as much enjoyment from it as I did this one.
A final note… The cover art. I rarely comment about covers of books because it’s more about the words inside the covers for me than the way they look from the outside. This cover and the others from the series are perfection. They completely convey the tone of the story and I love them.
9 out of 10 Pots of Gold or 90% recommended
Caraway Carter has worn numerous hats. He’s been a furniture salesman, a dresser, a costumer, an actor/waiter, a rabble-rouser, a poet and most recently a writer. He loves words and stringing them together, he loves sex and sexy men, and he writes relationship fiction that reminds you—it’s never too late for love. And he has lived his tagline. He married his husband on Halloween, at the age of forty-nine, and they are the loving parents of an adorable cat named Molly.