by Lauren Layne
Publication: January 18, 2022
**I was provided a copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**
Made in Manhattan is an updated adaptation of the classic movie My Fair Lady. Cain is the long-lost grandson of Edith Rhodes and needs to be groomed to take over the family business. Edith asks Violet, her best friend’s granddaughter and Edith’s personal assistant, to help with the transformation.
I’ve never watched the movie, but I’m familiar with the overall plot and the makeover trope central to the story. I likely missed references, but it was nice not to have seen the movie. I was able to review the book without comparing the two, which is what happened with Layne’s To Sir, With Love.
While I enjoyed the book, it had the same generic feel To Sir, With Love had. Although Cain is being quickly groomed to become CEO of a billion-dollar corporation, there are not many business-related matters in the book, as if to say that it doesn’t matter what’s going on at Rhodes and it’s the makeover readers should focus on. All we need to know is Cain is supposed to take over. With the story told only from Violet’s perspective and her lack of involvement in the corporation itself, it makes sense for workplace politics to be missing. It still didn’t keep me from wondering what was happening on that end of things though. The addition of Cain’s point of view would have been beneficial here. Then I would have been able to figure out the extent of Violet’s effect on him and the story might have felt more full or complete.
It isn’t an overly complicated story. It’s a light and fast read. For the most part, it is predictable, yet I didn’t mind it probably because I liked Cain and I liked Violet. Violet is nice even if she initially appears snobby. I like that Cain’s sudden appearance injects changes in her routine lifestyle. Even though I knew where the story was headed, it still incited smiles and made me tingle when there were glances between them and there were insightful observations made by Violet.
If I rated this book purely on feelings alone, it would deserve a five. I enjoyed that last chapter and endings can often make or break a star for me. While my initial reaction was a five, it was hard to ignore the generic feel of the book once I started this review. If you’re looking for a straightforward, predictable romance with leads who have palpable chemistry and fun banter, Made in Manhattan is a great choice.