Unlike the quietly beautiful Love Lettering, this took a lot longer to grow on me. There’s something sedate and easygoing about the writing style, so it’s easy to put down and walk away from – which is not usually a glowing endorsement for a book. But once I delved deeper into the story and got more invested in the romance, it had my attention. This couple complements each other perfectly, coaxing out the best in each other and providing plenty of incentive to do so. I loved the progress that this hero makes throughout the book, and I loved the quieter moments that the author excels at writing. Some of the most intimate scenes take place outside of the bedroom, and it was great to see these two get closer. The tone and pacing are likely to be too slow for some readers, but if you like your romance to simmer a little bit, then this one is worth the wait.
The story follows Will and Nora, two strangers who are connected by an old apartment building. When Will was a reckless teen, he visited the building during the darkest day of his life, and it was there that he (kinda, sorta) met Nora. Sixteen years later, they come together for their first official introduction – and their experiences have given them completely opposite opinions about the building. For Nora, it’s the place where she’s been surrounded with love. For Will, it’s the place where love was extinguished. As they feud over their different approaches to dealing with the rundown building, Will and Nora get closer. Their feuding turns into something like friendship, and after that follows love.
I will say that it often takes me a little while to settle into third person stories, so it’s entirely possible that the perspective is to blame for this taking time to grow on me. But I don’t think that’s the case here, and I probably would’ve lost interest if not for my appreciation for Love Lettering – which, ultimately, would’ve been a shame. It’s a pretty subtle romance, riding a fine line between slow and slow burn. Once I got to know these characters better, it was much easier to fall for the story, and the author’s talent shone through. It doesn’t have the intensity of the typical enemies to lovers romance, nor does it have the feel of a true opposites attract romance. It’s an interesting combination of a lot of things, but the author does an outstanding job making the story feel unique. I loved the community aspect and the way this relationship builds slowly. If you’re looking for an emotional, intelligent, slow burn romance, you’ve found it here – but this is definitely a laidback read. I received an early copy via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review of this slow burn romance.
“The most delightful cast of characters I’ve met in ages…a modern romance masterpiece.“
—New York Times bestseller Christina Lauren
One of Goodreads Hottest Romances of 2021!
A sparkling and tender novel from the acclaimed author of Love Lettering, full of bickering neighbors, surprise reunions, and the mysterious power of love that fans of Christina Lauren, Sarah Hogle, and Emily Henry will adore.
Sixteen years ago, a teenaged Will Sterling saw—or rather, heard—the girl of his dreams. Standing beneath an apartment building balcony, he shared a perfect moment with a lovely, warm-voiced stranger. It’s a memory that’s never faded, though he’s put so much of his past behind him. Now an unexpected inheritance has brought Will back to that same address, where he plans to offload his new property and get back to his regular life as an overworked doctor. Instead, he encounters a woman, two balconies above, who’s uncannily familiar . . .
No matter how surprised Nora Clarke is by her reaction to handsome, curious Will, or the whispered pre-dawn conversations they share, she won’t let his plans ruin her quirky, close-knit building. Bound by her loyalty to her adored grandmother, she sets out to foil his efforts with a little light sabotage. But beneath the surface of their feud is an undeniable connection. A balcony, a star-crossed couple, a fateful meeting—maybe it’s the kind of story that can’t work out in the end. Or maybe, it’s the perfect second chance . . .
“Will and Nora’s chemistry and the quirky side characters keep the pages turning. Clayborn’s fans will be pleased.”
About the Author:
Kate Clayborn is the two-time RITAⓇ Award-nominated author of highly acclaimed romantic comedies, including Love Lettering, Love at First, and the Chance of a Lifetime series. Her novels have been named Best Romances of the Year by O, The Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Romper, and more. She lives in Virginia and can be found online at KateClayborn.com.
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