by Sophie Sullivan
Publication: January 18, 2022
Series: Jansen Brothers #2
**I was provided a copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**
Looking for a sense of home and family, Grace moves into the house she just inherited from her grandparents. Her excitement at having a place of her own to fix up as she finishes interior design school is increasingly interrupted by her new neighbor who won’t stop pestering her to sell the place to him so he can expand his lot. Unbeknownst to them, they’re both looking for the same thing, turning a house into a home.
The book is framed as an enemies-to-lovers romcom, and it certainly starts that way. Some of the petty antics I was hoping for were present along with the banter I’ve come to enjoy when this trope is headlining. However, the trope is somewhat short-lived–at least the enemies aspect of it. The book is more than just about two bickering neighbors who are attracted to one another as it tackles deeper topics like toxic relationships, learning to lean on others, and trusting yourself. As the book progresses, it becomes more heart than humor, morphing into a story of two people trying to capture something that has eluded them both and finding love along the way.
Seemingly mundane things have more meaning to both Noah and Grace because they’ve never quite had it in their lives. It’s this need to have a place they can call home that drives each of their actions and leads to their individual character growth. Sullivan spends much of the book not only giving them these moments but having them experience them alongside each other, making it all the more meaningful. Once I allowed myself to step away from my initial expectations about the book, letting the story unfold rather than trying to guess what would happen next, I was able to appreciate the pace, which slows considerably in the middle, and the hurdles, both internal and external ones, to Noah and Grace’s happily ever after.
What is a home then? Through their interactions, Noah and Grace begin to realize it’s more than just a place but the people, or more specifically the person, we surround ourselves with.
Just a little more on Grace and Noah:
- Grace was a great character. She is goal-oriented and very self-aware. I loved how outspoken she was, always willing to tell the truth; what she says is what she means. It was refreshing. Through her chapters, we see her insecurities and her desire for family.
- Noah seems perfect but he has a lot to learn when it comes to just about any kind of relationship. The nice thing is that he’s willing to learn and to give his time and patience for the things that matter.
- The time Noah and Grace spend together leads to increased awareness of what they could be to each other if only they would be willing to take the leap. The writing captures well two individuals who are equally pensive and nervous about relationships.
While it’s a standalone, you’ll recognize Chris and Everly from 10 Rules for Faking It and Noah is the brother that moved to California from New York.