Thanks to Bookstagram, Helena Hunting is another Canadian author who I’ve had the pleasure to discover and even got to chat with a couple times on Zoom with along with others whom I’ve buddy read her books with.
Love Next Door is the debut novel of the Lakeside series and I’m all for it! This was such a heartwarming story that I would categorize as romantic suspense. It’s also enemies-to-lovers with an essence of second-chance romance all bundled up into one gorgeous novel.
This story takes on the dual point of view of Dillion and Donovan. Dillion has recently moved back to her small hometown of Pearl Lake from Chicago to help out her family’s construction business after losing her job. When she comes home, she finds that her brother has a DUI, finds room for improvement with the family business' office and operations and is also the executor of her beloved next door elderly neighbour, Bee who also had recently passed away. She doesn’t expect to find the attractive yet annoying Bee’s grandson, Donovan shacked up next door in Bee’s cottage now that it belongs to him. Little do both know that their lives have been intertwined more than they realized through their mutual love for Bee.
I really enjoyed the chemistry between the protagonists and I especially love the history between them. That really made the story for me. When Donovan would wind up Dillion when they first met had me laughing and how they bonded through their grief and love over Bee was endearing.
Dillion’s character was my favourite as her strength to stand up for herself; but to also be the one to make her parents see the truth about her brother would be difficult for anyone. I also thought the mental health element was well developed.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book and I was so ecstatic to have found out that Pearl Lake was inspired by Helena's family's cottage on Lake Muskoka where I had the pleasure of visiting last week and you know in true bookstagrammer fashion, I of course, brought this book with me for photo ops!
Love Next Door releases today!
Thank you Montlake for the advanced reading copy. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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.