A Stella Review: Love at First Hate by J.L. Merrow

RATING 3  out of 5 stars

First impressions can doom second chances.

Bran Roscarrock has been living in the closet all his life. As heir to an expansive family legacy in the town of Porthkennack, old-fashioned ideals of respectability and duty were drummed into him since childhood, and he’s never dared to live—or love—openly.

Sam Ferreira, an old friend of Bran’s brother, Jory, is a disgraced academic desperate to leave his dead-end job. When Jory asks him to take over as curator of a planned exhibition on Edward of Woodstock, the fourteenth-century Black Prince, Sam leaps at the chance to do what he loves and make a fresh start.

But Bran’s funding the exhibition, and though sparks fly between the two men, they’re not all happy ones. Bran idolises Prince Edward as a hero, while Sam’s determined to present a balanced picture. With neither of them prepared to give ground, a hundred years of war seems all too possible. And if Bran finds out about Sam’s past, his future may not be bright, and their budding romance may be lost to history.

I’m a little conflicted about this new release in the Porthkennack series. As always happens to me with JL Merrow books, I got caught into the reading and the perfect writing (although I still have to look for some British words I don’t understand), into the characters’ lives, trying to connect and find all the characters I loved in the previous books.

Still, Love at First Hate is surely not my favorite in this series for different reasons. First of all I wasn’t able to feel the MCs. I saw them and read about them, they were well depicted, complete with their pasts and dreams and faults, with their families and friends. Sam and Bran met and it was as the title says, love at first hate. Their bickering was funny and actually interesting, they were loud and smart. And later when things between them changed and they finally saw what was there right in front of them, the couple was hot and sweet too. I objectively could see all of these but I missed something, that little spark that connect me with the MCs, I couldn’t feel it.

And then there was the mystery part, I didn’t like it at all. I had so high expectation, I dreamt about million sceneries, different people could have been the one who beated Bran unconscious. The resolve was in my opinion so lacking, it left me quite disappointed. I was  ready for the fireworks, instead I got just a little pop.

If  I could ignore the lack of spark with the main couple, I would give the novel all the five stars. Plot, world building, second character, development, writing, the author did everything perfectly, she missed nothing. It was simply me.

The cover art by Garrett Leigh is really well done, i can easily see the MCs in the models’ faces.

SALE LINKS  Riptide Publishing  |  amazon


ebook, 325 pages

Published September 3rd 2018 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN13 9781626498327

Edition Language English

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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