Skip to content

Release Day Review! HOW WE STARTED by Nan Dixon (A MacBains novella)

How We Started cover

Sabotage or Matchmaking?

Mac is determined to prove his value to both his grandfather and parent/s To do that he must finish the six houses under construction by Christmas, then his grandfather, Joe, will turn over control of MacBain Construction. But Joe goes around Mac and hires an inexperienced cleaning company with a pretty, feisty woman at the helm. Mac’s not sure if Joe is creating obstacles, teaching him a lesson or playing matchmaker.

On top of finishing college, Patty’s trying to keep her family’s cleaning company afloat while her mother suffers through chemotherapy. Joes helps her get the cleaning job for MacBain Construction, which will east the financial pressure on her family. Unfortunately, Patty’s stuck dealing with Mac, a control freak, who disagrees with Joes’ trust in her. She doesn’t need a bossy, handsome man telling her how to run her company.
But Joe’s matchmaking is spot on and as Mac and Patty get to know each other, their attraction builds, crossing the line between business and personal. Then one of Patty’s employees endangers Mac’s timelines and goals.

Will Mac’s need for control destroy their love?

add to Goodreads button


How We Started is the prequel novella to Nan Dixon‘s The MacBains series, telling how the MacBain parents (Mac and Patty) originally got together. It’s billed as a standalone, and since it takes place before the two other (so far) series books ( Maid For Success and Edge of Friendship ), overall that’s an accurate statement. You don’t have to have read the other 2 books to understand what happens here. *However* I found Mac to overall be an unlikable hero–a bit of a jerk and an overbearing my-way-or-the-highway kind of guy to his employees, family, and especially to Patty in 95% of the book–but maybe if you’ve read the two books featuring the second generation it’s easier to take him here?

(Another tiny little niggling point–reading the excerpt for Maid for Success immediately after reading this novella raised some questions, the most notable of which is why in Maid does (MC) Kate think about how her parents’ companies were started by them while in Started Patty and Mac each take them over as already established companies from their own mother and grandfather, respectively? Which is it?)

Overall, this was a quick if somewhat uneven read. Their transition from two people who are pretty antagonistic toward each other (while simultaneously thinking each other is hot, of course) to ILYs is pretty quick, and it didn’t really feel like they (but Mac especially) did all of the work getting there should have involved. It was hard to pinpoint when exactly this story takes place–people have landlines, because one character wraps a coiled phone cord around her finger at one point and another is impressed by a car phone–and they talk about listening to “radios” but other than that it’s difficult to say even which decade we’re supposed to be in. Not a huge problem, but it was disconcerting.

This is one that’s probably best for people who already love the characters of this established series and are wondering How We Started.

Rating: 3 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Published in3 starsBook reviewsBOOKS!C+new releasespotlight