Enemies-to-lovers meets HGTV in this frothy, effervescent romantic comedy from Sophie Sullivan, author of Ten Rules for Faking It.
Interior Design School? Check. Cute house to fix up? Check.
Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of your plans? Check. Unfortunately.
Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.
Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he’s found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door–the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it.
With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.
What’s it about (in a nutshell):
How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan is a story that will keep a smile on your face from start to finish. Grace Travis inherits a small beach house from her grandparents, and Noah lives in the large house next door. He wants Grace’s place to expand his own property and refuses to take no for an answer. From there, the story takes on laugh-out-loud proportions as neither is willing to back down.
What I Enjoyed:
What I most loved about this story is how truly happy it made me from start to finish. It’s such a feel-good story perfect for escaping into and while away a few hours or your weekend.
I also loved the home improvement angle that the story takes. I watch a lot of HGTV myself, so I could easily fall into the designing, competitions, and just general home improvements each was doing. These aspects also provide the genuinely laugh-out-loud moments in the story, and they are such a pure delight.
The banter between Grace and Noah is a lot of fun also. I’m a big fan of the enemies to lovers trope, so that really wasn’t a surprise that I would enjoy them so much. The relationship felt genuine, and their chemistry leaped off the page for me.
What I Wish:
The only thing that stood out to me was that there is no actual focused conflict in the story – one that the story truly pivots around. There is a conflict between Grace and Noah, but it is resolved relatively early. Some minor disputes create bursts of tension but not one overall one. I missed that in this story, though I did not want the predictable conflict many romcoms use. I think the elements were there to create a more significant conflict that Noah and Grace, maybe together, needed to overcome.
Grace had to struggle all of her life, and through sheer determination alone, she has what little she does. She doesn’t know the identity of her biological father, and her mother only contacts her when she wants something – usually money. She is the kind of person who you want to help because she works so hard and doesn’t ask for anything in return.
Noah was born to a family of means and has never wanted anything. Except when it comes to his own identity in the business world. He wants to come out from his dad’s shadow and show the world a more caring type of developer, as his grandfather was. Giving back to the community and making a name for himself is all he really wants if only his father will let him out from underneath his thumb.
Reminds Me Of:
This romcom reminds me of ones written by another writer named Sophie (Kinsella). The lack of gratuitous sex scenes or any really (very PG), the laugh-out-loud humor, and the relatableness of the story are things both Sophie’s share in their storytelling.
To Read or Not to Read:
If you are looking for a story that will put a smile on your face and make your heart feel warm and fuzzy, How to Love Your Neighbor is just what you are looking for in your next read.