I initially had mixed feelings about reading All Made Up. On the one hand I love Kara Isaac’s writing. I trust her, after reading her first three books, to deliver a great story.
On the other hand I’m really not a fan of reality tv shows. I wasn’t sure if I’d like reading a contemporary Christian romance based around a Bachelor-style reality tv show.
Kat is an internationally renowned make up artist who has won an Oscar for her work in film. She’s in a tight financial situation and agrees to work behind the scenes of an Australian reality tv show that’s set in a Sydney mansion. Kat is stunned to discover the handsome farmer bachelor is Caleb, her first love who broke her heart when he abruptly ended their relationship.
Caleb is a farmer from Toowoomba in Queensland. His mother secretly sent in an audition tape because she wanted to see her son happy and married and settled on the family farm.
When Caleb is chosen at the last minute to be the bachelor, he feels compelled to do it to please his mother who is struggling with major health issues.
The producers quickly regret choosing Caleb because he’s terrible on camera and a potential financial disaster for the show. Caleb is awkward and uncomfortable around the large number of physically beautiful and scantily clad young women who are living in the mansion and competing for his attention and affection.
When Cat is directed by her boss to fill in as a contestant on the show, she grits her teeth and does her best to survive the circus that ensues. The whole set up is both humorous and sleazy, and I totally understood why Caleb hated his time at the mansion.
The first fifteen percent of the book was, at times, a bit icky to read. If I wasn’t a fan of the author, and if I didn’t trust her to deliver a great story, I probably would have tossed the book during those early chapters. The thought of reading an entire book set in the mansion was not appealing.
I’m glad I persevered with the story and kept reading. By the twenty percent mark the story had really picked up and was motoring along. There’s a big twist in the story that takes the tv show in a different direction and forces Cat and Caleb to confront their past.
In typical Kara Isaac style, the big secret reveal toward the end of the book is heartbreaking. Cat and Caleb reassess their faith and values and beliefs as they make tough decisions.
Fans of The Bachelor will love this romance story that provides a rare happy ending for a reality tv couple. Readers who you couldn’t pay to watch a reality tv dating show may struggle with the early chapters, but I encourage them to keep reading and journey with Cat and Caleb on their fun and humorous roller coaster ride to true love.