Book Review: Beautiful Ruin

“Beautiful Ruin” (A Nolan Brothers Series Novel Book 1), by Amy Olle

Publication: December 8, 2015

beautifulSynopsis: Given a second chance at first love, will two wounded souls risk their hearts once more?

A good archaeologist always finds what he’s digging for…

Mina Winslow buys her ancestral home with plans to restore the house to the beautiful sanctuary it once was, but she soon discovers more than she bargained for when she’s reunited with a man from her past. The one man she never stopped longing for.

Renowned archaeologist, Noah Nolan, swore he’d never return to the small town where he spent his adolescence. But his brief stay on the remote island in Lake Michigan becomes complicated when he agrees to complete a short-term excavation project, only to realize the site belongs to the woman who inexplicably rejected him years before. A woman he’s never forgotten – or forgiven.

Now Noah’s affinity for uncovering all things lost, forgotten, and buried stirs Mina’s repressed memories of a horrifying secret, a secret that tore them apart years ago. This time, she must find the courage to unearth the past or risk losing the treasure of her heart forever.

BEAUTIFUL RUIN is the first book in a contemporary romance series connecting the five, Irish-born Nolan brothers. It is a full-length, standalone novel with a Happily Ever After.

Author’s Note: This book contains storylines that touch on the topics of sexual assault and abuse which may be triggering to survivors.

My Review: 

“Beautiful Ruin” is the first book in Amy Olle’s Nolan Brother Series and tells the story of Mina and Noah. Years ago during high school, Mina and Noah had a one-night stand that they both wanted to turn into more. However, Noah thinks that she rejected him afterward and neither has ever gotten over the other one. Mina has recently broken off her engagement to Drew, the mayor with further political aspirations after he cheated on her with other women. When Mina buys her grandmother’s estate with plans to open a Bed and Breakfast, the construction crew finds an arrowhead in the ground. Calling in an archeologist to complete an excavation, Noah and Mina find themselves thrown together once again. Both have had very rocky pasts and are facing demons that changed their lives years earlier, but quickly find themselves unable to resist each other. 

There were times in this novel where I kept getting so frustrated with Mina because she seemed to run ice cold or scalding hot where Noah was concerned. As the story progressed and I learned more about her past, it became much clearer, but I still found myself wanting to yell at her to quit sending mixed signals. Noah was a bit more consistent than Mina, although I also found him sorting of jumping back and forth between being crazy for Mina, as he said he always had been and then being sort of lukewarm. Mina was brought up in a wealthy, political family but was suddenly sent to live with her grandmother as a young girl. Noah grew up in a difficult home with a father that was an alcoholic and abusive after the death of Noah’s mother. So, neither of them possessed the best communication and conflict resolution skills at the beginning of the novel, but they begin to open up as the story went on. 

Between things from her past, her loser ex-fiance, losing her job and running out of money, I felt really bad for Mina the entire novel! This woman has endured it all, not to mention a nasty, critical mother that seeks out and mentions any of Mina’s flaws, plus additional ones that aren’t even there. The dynamic between Mina and her mother was definitely one I can relate to, therefore, it was easy to relate to and empathize with Mina. Noah also had a great deal of tension and things left unsaid between him and his brothers – honestly just making them both complete messes! Despite their pasts and conflicts, these two characters really clicked and the chemistry between them was undeniable. 

Author Amy Olle weaved in a great deal of suspense in this novel as Mina starts remembering things from her past and tries to put together the pieces of the puzzle. Eventually, her secret was fairly easy to figure out but my first thoughts were way off – and I love it when I’m surprised 🙂 More importantly, I loved the development of Mina’s character throughout the novel. While reading you get to see her highs, lows, and everything in between as she comes to terms with her past and tries to find peace within herself. I must admit, I was a little disappointed by what she finally chose to do with the house but that also opened the door for the next book in the series – which I cannot wait to read. “Beautiful Ruin” is a beautiful story of second chances in love, as well as, in life itself.

*This is an excellent contemporary romance that I highly recommend, but be aware there are events and themes pertaining to physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

Learn more about Amy Olle by visiting her web page. 

Purchase “Beautiful Ruin” on Amazon. 



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