I feel like the best way to describe this book is it is ‘exactly what it says on the tin’. I’m not sure why this book is listed under the title Love at First: An Uplifting and Unforgettable Story of Love and Second Chances. I suspect it’s because of how common the book title? But it’s exactly that–a slow-burn romance between two people who have been set adrift by loss and grief.
(Update : Kat informed me that the subtitling is something Kensignton does with their titles. I guess it’s to help readers out ?)
Will Sterling’s lonely childhood made him into a workaholic doctor with little regard for family. So when he inherits an old condo from his estranged uncle, he plans to flip it into a short-term rental. But HOA president Nora Clark won’t have it. The condo residents consider themselves a family and don’t want strangers coming in and out.
A cold war ensues as Nora and the retirement-aged residents band together to sabotage Will’s attempt at gentrifying (I use this term loosely, the majority of the Chicago residents in this book are white, so far as I could tell) the building.
I think what this book does well is that it doesn’t choose sides. As a reader, you are able to see the charm of the building the way it is, but also see the need for a little renovation and change.
The story moves at a moderate pace but I don’t think it really sticks to its conceit. The attempts to sabotage Will’s renovations aren’t that serious and the sabotage is light-hearted. Will quickly ingratiates himself into the building’s community and the book focuses on Will and Nora’s growing relationship.
This book felt like a Hallmark movie with it’s strong sense of setting and full cast of unique side characters. The themes of acceptance, grief, found-family, and the addition of well-developed older characters also gave me A Man Called Ove vibes.
I think this would be a great starter romance for someone who want something plotty with a moderate heat level.
Ahem. On the audiobook cover Will and Nora’s positions should be switched. Nora’s apartment is above Will’s