A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Love at First Hate (Porthkennack #11) by J.L. Merrow

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Another visit to Porthkennack on the Cornwall coast in England, this time guided by the inimitable style of JL Merrow, who not only lends British authenticity to the tale, but who has a wonderful, understated sense of humor that creates multiple moments of quiet laughter throughout the story. Number eleven in this series that’s written by various British authors, this is one of three that focus on the Roscarrock family—founding members of the community, complete with the snobbery that goes with the bragging rights.

Bran is the patriarch, a man in his thirties, of diminutive stature, who’s lived in the closet all his adult life. His father drilled responsibility and the ideals of duty to their legacy into him since childhood, and though he is a twin, his sister knew it would be Bran who took over the estate when their father passed on. Now he’s got a reputation the community of being tight-fisted, uncaring, and uninterested in the working man. He’s creating an exhibition—a tribute to Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince—and he’s doing it to bring attention to the town, but he’s also doing it to pay homage to his hero, and he’s a bit prejudiced in that regard.

Sam Ferreira holds a doctoral degree and has curator experience and is the first person Bran’s brother Jory (One Under) thinks of when Bran is attacked and hospitalized and needs someone to take over the exhibition. Sam jumps at the chance, after assuring that Jory knows about the disgrace he suffered at his university post which resulted in him being fired. He’s doing a great job with the exhibit and is removing that slight prejudice that seems to make the Black Prince look like a hero, when Bran is released from the hospital and finds out what Sam is up to. And then the sparks fly.

A great enemies-to-lovers story, this truly was first hate before the two decided to compromise and get to know one another. After that, the sparks were flying for a different reason, and it looked like Bran might finally decide that the closet is too small to live in. Of course, that’s when he finds out what happened at Sam’s previous job and creates such a ruckus about it that Sam flees both the job and their budding relationship.

JL Merrow wrote the first book in this series, Wake Up Call, and though I know this is not the last, this is certainly one of the best. The whole series is terrific, but these tales of the Roscarrock family have been among my favorites. Now I’m hoping we’ll get one about the illegitimate son of the family, Devon Thompson, the boy that Bran’s twin, Bea, gave birth to and who was turned away, rejected and dejected, when he found out who is mother is. That would be top of my must-buy list. In any event, in a roundabout way, I’m trying to say that I highly recommend this series, and most definitely this story. Yes, it can be read as a standalone but I think that at least reading One Under would make this more meaningful.


The cover art by Garrett Leigh features two men, who resemble the descriptions of Bran and Sam, set against a dark gray stormy background which represents the Cornwall coast setting of the series.

Sales:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 325 pages
Expected publication: September 3rd 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Porthkennack #11

Connected stories by JL Merrow in this series:

Wake Up Call

One Under

Love at First Hate

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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