5 Stars / Contemporary / Review / Romantic Comedy

Review: Love Next Door by Helena Hunting

When Dillion Stitch left her hometown, she had no intention of going back. But when her brother gets into trouble, Dillion reluctantly agrees to return home to take her place at the family business.

Being back in Pearl Lake after all these years feels familiar, but also brings a few surprises. She’s quick to notice that someone new has shown up at the cottage next door. Dillion gets more than an eyeful when she goes to check out the newcomer and meets Donovan “Van” Firestone—her beloved neighbor’s grandson—in all his unclothed glory.

Having gotten off to a rocky start, it’s not long before they begin bickering with each other all over town. All that back and forth inevitably sparks an undeniable attraction. But Dillion’s family has issues, Van’s family resents him, and neither Dillion nor Van feels truly at ease in the small town. For these Pearl Lake exiles, home isn’t just where the heart is—it’s where things get complicated.

Title:Love Next Door
Author:Helena Hunting
Series:Lakeside (Book 1)
Trope(s):Enemies to Lovers
Small Town Romance
Point of View:
Release Date:27th July, 2021
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Sexy, sassy small-town romance

I’ve enjoyed Helena Hunting’s writing before and this book sounded like a winner – small town, enemies to lovers, second chancey goodness. I was all in from page one.

Dillion is reluctant to return to her home town and all the demons that come with it. Sadly for her, she doesn’t have much of a choice and soon she’s back. From the first, she comes across as a strong and confident woman who is sarcy, sassy and just a bit grumpy. She was hilarious! Not once did I think she was too moany, and I really related to her, especially as she berated herself for how she was acting round Van.

Van himself was like two perfect heroes smooshed together to make one ultimate perfect hero. He was a hot suit from the city but, much like Dillion, had little choice but to come back to the small town he’d spent his summers as a boy. He managed to embrace small-town life really quickly and soon he was wearing ripped jeans, ratty t-shirts and hanging out in the local hotspots. So a hot bodied city suit meets hard bodied local guy bit of perfection. And that’s even before he and Dillion get to bickering.

I love, love, love an enemies to lovers story but it’s even better when the banter between our couple shows just how much chemistry they have. These two are on fire. And absolutely hilarious. Each gives as good as they get and I couldn’t get enough of them. Happily, when their relationship evolves, they still keep both the spark and the banter making me adore them as a couple.

“These two are on fire. And absolutely hilarious.”

I also loved the fact that the conflict – when it came – was realistic and believable. It was well-resolved, too. And Van fell just as hard and fast as Dillion did. In fact, he was adorably smitten which made me fall in love with him – and him and Dillion together – even more.

There is some family drama involved in the story although it never overshadows the romance and is never overly heavy or changes the tone of the story as a whole. I wasn’t sure who I thought was “the baddie” until it was revealed. Not that it was supposed to be a mystery, but I always like to pretend I guessed correctly regardless. The mental health aspect was surprising and handled so well. I applauded Ms Hunting in my head as I read, for treating it so believably but also for including it in a story without it being overwhelming.

As I read, especially towards the end, I was hoping so hard that this was the first book in a series… and it is! Van’s sister and Dillion’s friend, Aaron, only had a 30 second scene together and I’m already crushing on them so hard. And based on absolutely nothing, I’m hoping Dillion’s brother and one of her best friends are destined for their own romance. Gah – I can’t wait for the series to continue!

I have absolutely no clue how Dillion’s name was supposed to be pronounced. It’s that pesky extra ‘i’ that munched my brain! She also went by Darlin’, Lynnie and Dee – but I’m pretty sure it was meant to be said like the name Dillon, rather than Dill-ee-on. This has nothing to do with my review – I just wanted to put it out there!

Don’t be fooled by the cover (which is cute, don’t get me wrong) – you still get a sexy, sassy and laugh out loud romance with enough chemistry to burn this small town to the ground! Ms Hunting’s writing is, as always, exemplary and this story is a delight and one I couldn’t put down. Easily a 5 star read and one I would very much recommend.

*I received this book in exchange for my honest review*

NYT and USA Today Bestselling author, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance with all the feels to romantic comedies that will have you laughing until you cry.

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