Review by Veronica

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Completely unfazed, the Hub owner took the liberty of taking Brigitte’s free hand and kissing it.

‘Enchante, madame.”

August expected an outburst from her agent at this intrusion of her personal space, but as she looked at Brigitte’s face, she was astounded to find it softening. Not even a photo of twenty puppies made her do that normally. It was clear that, despite looking like he had just jumped out of either prison or an action movie, this man possessed what so many men didn’t: pure Max appeal. 

Fans of Nicole May are going to love her latest novel, The Hub

ONE TURKEY FARM, FIVE WILD COLLEAGUES AND A BARN FULL OF MYSTERY

When jilted crime writer August Saunders returns from London to her roots in rural Wiltshire, she feels lost and lacking in inspiration. Determined to reignite her writing mojo, she responds to an advert for a shared workspace in a converted barn.

At the Hub, with its ill-equipped gym, inedible catering and motley array of fellow users, including a matchmaker more interested in her own conquests and a TikToker with a dodgy nocturnal sideline, August is confronted with a real-life mystery to solve.

Why is Max Ronson, the handsome but volatile owner of the Hub, so evasive about his past? And who or what is he hiding on the premises? She is determined to find out – but will her curiosity snuff out the spark of romance?

I enjoyed this book, but I must admit that it was much more serious than I expected. The description made this book seem like a light and fluffy romance, but it’s not. This story has some real depth and takes on some pretty serious issues. It was well written, and I can tell that Nicole put a lot of thought and time into figuring out how to approach these topics. I want to let readers know that this book does require a trigger warning as there is a focus on suicide in the story. So, if suicide is something that you don’t feel comfortable reading about, then this book will not be for you. I have to say, Nicole did an excellent job at talking about suicide in a considerate and understanding manner and showing readers the behind-the-scenes of suicide call centres. It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming reading the scenes where the phone volunteers interacted with whoever was calling the phone lines.  

The characters in this book are fun and diverse. I loved the crazy and endearing group working at the hub. Their interactions provided some fantastic and funny comic relief to the story. August is a beautiful main character. She is fun, kind, and all-around likeable. I just really enjoyed hanging out with her, and I know if we met in real life, I could see us becoming fast friends. I did struggle with Max’s character. I loved him for roughly the first quarter of the book. The banter between Max and August was just on fire and so on point. It sort of reminded me of the witty banter that is on Gilmore Girls. But about halfway through, Max starts to drink more, resulting in him becoming verbally abusive/toxic to August. I struggled to get past the drunken outbursts, especially when they became more frequent. There are reasons for Max’s drinking problems; I won’t go into them in this review because I don’t want to give any spoilers away. But Max’s character re-enforces the notion that we often don’t know what is happening in people’s lives and that we should not judge a book by its cover. 

August has several love interests in this story: her ex-fiance who left her for another woman, a tinder hook-up that turns into a friend-with-benefits situation and sort of growing relationship with Max. Each relationship is different and comes with its own drama. It was interesting watching August navigate through each of these relationships. The ending of this book is sweet, charming, and will have your heart pitter-patter. 

The Hub is a great summer English romance read.  

Thank you, Rachel Random Resources, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.