The Love Words (2021)

by Amy Alves
ASIN/ISBN: B09G11CK2L
Publication: September 30, 2021
Series: Landry Love #4

After moving away, Chloe finally decides to return to her beloved hometown. Unfortunately, her high school nemesis Hayden has also moved back. She refuses to allow her adversarial relationship with him to prevent her from living her life in Landry, so she’s more than willing to verbally fight back. When their constant bickering might negatively affect his daughter’s health, Chloe and Hayden agree to a truce, which leads to unexpected consequences–the touchy, feely kind. 

The Love Words had a lot of potential, but I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I loved Chloe’s confidence. She was vocal and straightforward about what she wanted and deserved, refusing to settle for less. Hayden’s love for his daughter Kinsley and his desire to always put her first allowed me to understand why Chloe eventually fell for him. However, I was unable to absolve him of his past behavior, and Chloe shouldn’t have been able to do it so easily either.

They’re enemies because he made high school difficult for her. His reasons for doing so did not endear me to him at all, although it’s written in such a way that it’s supposed to.  I never got the feeling he had any remorse for what he did, and his apologies, especially so many years later, felt disingenuous. They were non-apologies. He was sorry he hurt her, but he wasn’t sorry for doing them because apparently, his heart was in the right place. It didn’t make sense for Chloe to fall for him so quickly and so easily given how strongly she disliked him and how long she held onto her dislike of him.  

One of my favorite features of an enemies-to-lovers romance is the banter, and Chloe and Hayden do plenty of verbal sparring throughout the first half of the book.  Their exchanges, however, lacked the chemistry for me to believe they would become lovers, leading to an attraction that largely appeared forced.  It was difficult to feel their attraction because I was mostly told there was an attraction. This also contributed to a transition into lovers that was too fast for me. 

While Chloe and Hayden both constantly declared their love for the town, I was not a fan. I like small-town romances, but this particular small town irritated me. Often in these small towns, residents look out for each other and there is meddling, but the extent to which Landry residents meddled was more than I could handle.  More time should have been spent on building Chloe’s and Hayden’s attraction and their relationship rather than focusing on so many other people in the town trying to have their say in the relationship. 

Because I didn’t care very much for Hayden and the romance didn’t provide me with the tension I was hoping for, the book felt long. My mind started to wander at times, failing to catch time jumps or subtle switches in locations. The book was fun in the beginning, but once their enemy status ceased, it was harder to keep my attention. I wanted more feelings and emotions, and the book was lacking in this area.