Title: High Test
Series: Dreamspun Desires 47
Author: Elizabeth Noble
Narrator: Colin Darcy
Length: 5 hrs, 12 mins
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (22nd March 2018)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts
Blurb: The coffee is rich. Hayden isn’t. But Neal doesn’t need to know that – yet.
Hayden Owens is just your typical graduate student working his way through school as a barista for the Owens Coffee Company – no relation. But he keeps the “no relation” part to himself when he meets dashing architect Neal Kirchner, a successful older man from an old-money family. Hayden doesn’t exactly lie, but he figures it can’t hurt for Neal to believe he’s a rich kid. After all, Hayden doesn’t want Neal thinking he’s a gold digger.
The closer they become, the harder it gets for Hayden to come clean. Something always seems to get in the way. When a company bankruptcy and a jilted, vindictive woman threatens to expose his charade, Hayden thinks it’s all gone down the drain. Luckily, Neal is ready with some innocent trickery of his own.
Review: Elizabeth Noble is relatively new author to me, no other previous books by the author leap to mind. Likewise, Colin Darcy is a relatively new narrator for me, I think I’ve heard his narration perhaps once or twice before.
I enjoyed both the narration and the writing style, both elements together made for a fairly pleasing audiobook experience for me. However, I found the plot rather simple and predictable. It’s one of those types of books that I recommend for people who want something easy and relaxing but don’t expect too much in terms of literary excellence. It’s a great book to just relax and escape with.
I wouldn’t call High Test a rags to riches tale, more like a Cinderella tale. Hayden Owens is struggling to get himself through college where he is a graduate student trying to complete his PhD. All he wants to do is graduate and design cars that are engineering works of art. When he is forced to attend college function, schmoozing with movers and shakers ready to donate Hayden meeting Neal Kirchner. Neal is older than Hayden but their connection is instant. When Hayden leaves at the end of the night so that he can get the last bus, he realizes too late that he forgot to get Neal’s number. This first night was the start of confusion that Hayden finds too hard to get the courage to admit to Neal that he doesn’t come from a rich family. This is the main plot of the book and while there is some angst and drama, it’s a mild and simple book.
This book is good for those that want a simple, Cinderella type story with a sweet HEA.
As a side note one thing that I really liked here was that Hayden was a PhD candidate (only directly referenced once or twice) and despite this his intelligence was put right to the background of the whole story. From experience, I know that we do tend to be completely obsessed with our own projects and theses because we have very little time away from our projects, but the whole antisocial nerd thing is a tired stereotype.