On the Corner of Love and Hate
Hopeless Romantics Series
August 20, 2019
Blurb: For fans of Lauren Layne and Kristan Higgins comes a delightfully “fun bit of fluffy entertainment” (Publishers Weekly) in the first book of a charming new series, in which a young woman is forced to help her old friend revamp his image for the upcoming mayoral elections…and discovers that she might not be as immune to his charms as she once thought.
When Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and current mayor of Hope Lake, Pennsylvania—suggests she help with Cooper Endicott’s campaign, she’s horrified. Cooper, one of her (former) oldest friends, drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, so Emma reluctantly launches her plan to help him win the local election.
It’s not as easy as it looks. Cooper’s colorful love life is the sticking point for many voters, and his opponent is digging up everything he can from his past. It seems that every time Emma puts out the flames from one scandal, another one flares up. Emma knows that if Cooper wants to win, he needs to keep his nose clean. The only problem? She might just be falling in love with the one person she promised never to pursue: the mayoral candidate himself.
Initially this book was promoted as being for fans of Christina Lauren and Lauren Layne, which was how it was sent to me. Considering that I’m a huge fan of both authors, it was a no-brainer for me to accept. Now the blurb says Lauren Layne and Kristan Higgins. (Kristin Higgins?! ummm. No.) The unfortunate bit about this style of promotion is that Nina Bocci is most definitely her own unique voice, which is not that similar to any of these authors. Readers who came to it expecting a copy of any of the other authors probably reacted by giving a poor review. (I’m not making that up or offering supposition, because I actually read a few harsh ones. 🙁 .)
Also, the blurb has changed significantly from its initial stages. You can actually see this for yourself by looking at the Goodread blurb compared to the Amazon blurb. I guess that readers of the published book never witness these kinds of reversals (okay, except if you compare the two above blurbs), but it can be frustrating when you’re an ARC reviewer because the second is far more appealing (and correct).
That said. 😉 Let’s have a real review, shall we?
Being a DC local since birth, I probably have ingested more politics than is good for me (or that makes me happy) so I rarely read books about politics, even romances. Fortunately, On the Corner of Love and Hate held off on most of what makes politics so cringe-worthy.
I liked Emma from the get-go. She’s smart and talented at her job, which is city development. Cooper is supposed to be her colleague, but he’s now running for Mayor and between that and his romantic interludes, he has little time to put in at the office. Thus the supposed “hate” in the title. (I still really think it’s disappointment.)
As the novel progresses, we see that Emma is warring with herself as much as with Cooper. It’s obvious to the reader that Emma has never gotten over her feelings for Cooper and almost just as obvious that Cooper has feelings for Emma because he’s always trying to involve her; he appreciates her opinion; she’s the first one he thinks of when a suggested romance is brought up. And, it’s at this point that Cooper grew on me. I liked him because he kept trying. Despite some initial unsavory appearances, he’s a guy who is trying to do things for her. He knows what she likes and what appeals.
At the end, there were some unanswered questions like: why didn’t Cooper make advances in the four or five years that they’ve been working together? (Because there wouldn’t have been a novel! Duh.) Why didn’t Emma’s blind date ever show up? (This must be why they inserted Kristan Higgins; she’s notorious for her characters having bad blind dates.)
On the Corner of Love and Hate is a slow burn kind of novel. And I liked it because it made me feel the rising tension between Emma and Cooper. Swoon.
While I wouldn’t call it a romantic comedy per se, the novel possesses an appealing sense of humor that won me over. I am anxious to read the next novel in the series, especially if it includes sweet, sensitive Henry.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4 butterflies out of 5
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