There are certain things you can count on in a Kate Clayborn book: her lovers will start off at cross purposes, the rapport and banter will be engaging, the pining and self reflection will plug right into your feelings, and the characters will (mostly) act like adults. Love at First has all of this. It’s a comfortable, enjoyable read. There is no shame in enjoying this book.
It lacks the emotional urgency and tension of the Chance of a Lifetime series. I still think about those books. I think Luck of the Draw is one of the best contemporary romances of this century, maybe ever. While Love Lettering didn’t wow me as much as Luck of the Draw, I still had a visceral experience while reading it that I just didn’t have here. It’s fine, it’s not a “modern romance masterpiece” but it doesn’t dissuade me from picking up more Kate Clayborn books. For one thing, Kate Clayborn writes beautifully. I had forgotten that I bookmarked this passage:
He carried on, something about his friend Sally’s advice, and also a sale at the hardware store, and the returns policy if Nora didn’t need anything new when it came to the shower curtain situation, and as he talked Nora realized, with a delighted sense of relief, that he had been waiting. Maybe as much as she had been.
Suddenly that shower curtain rod looked like the best thing she’d ever seen.”
My time with Will and Nora was pleasant, but I had already forgotten a lot of the details a day after I finished. Indeed, the characters I think about first are Gerald and Sally. There was a lot I appreciated about the way Nora and Will went about their conflict. Nora’s version of diabolical was pretty great. I appreciated some of the lessons that Clayborn has Nora and Will learn – that we can grow beyond the way we were taught to love. Spoiler complaint: I have mixed feelings about the way Will falls in love with Nora in the prologue and then she becomes the only woman he will ever love. End spoiler. Of course, reading is subjective and you might love a book that doesn’t grab me.
I was given an advance reader copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.