3:30 pm EDT, August 20, 2019

‘On the Corner of Love and Hate’ book review: Friends-to-enemies-to-lovers is my drug of choice

If you are on the hunt for a good small town romance with plenty of wit and feisty characters, you definitely want to pick up On the Corner of Love and Hate.

Sometimes I read to escape my reality, but I still want to exist in worlds I could actually inhabit. When I get in this sort of mood, I cling, oh so desperately, to small town romances. They just have this magical quality to them. I think it’s because the idea of knowing almost everyone around you and having community goals is such a warm and inviting idea to someone who has grown up in a much more urban area.

And that’s not to say I don’t have communities in my life that feel a little like a small town, but the idea of walking out your front door and being able to greet almost everyone you see by name appeals to the romantic in me.

Nina Bocci’s Hope Lake is definitely a small town I would want to check out. And that is partly because watching Emma and Cooper fall in love was completely and utterly delightful.

Emmanuelle Peroni, mayor’s daughter, runner of a local government organization trying to help her beloved small town grow, has a problem and his name is Cooper Endicott.

You see, Emmanuelle, known to most everyone in town as Emma, grew up with Cooper and her friends Henry and Nick. They were joined at the hip throughout pretty much all their formative years. And then college separated them, allowing some not-so-well-handled issues to push them further and further from each other.

And then they all moved back home to Hope Lake. Now Emma is working alongside her once-best-friend while he pretends to focus, especially since his head is almost completely taken over by his burgeoning political career.

Cooper is infuriating, but also the best chance this town has at not being taken over by big business. Emma will do just about anything to help Cooper keep this town on the path her father had helped guide it down during his 20-something years as mayor, even if she has to take matters into her own hands.

‘On the Corner of Love and Hate’ book review:

Okay, so I think I’ve finally decided. Friends-to-enemies-to-lovers is officially my trope. I mean, I love a good fake dating story, and I’m definitely a fan of those competitive office romances, but my personal trope to rule them all is friends-to-enemies-to-lovers. There’s just something about the dynamic of two people who grew up being so fond of one another, but, thanks to some life circumstances or whatever, have grown apart over the years, even if they’ve never quite forgotten how much they secretly love each other. I may have made this decision about 10 seconds after turning the final page of On the Corner of Love and Hate.

And that’s because, Nina Bocci, in her solo debut, delivers a great take on this trope, and with it, introduces a world I am pretty freaking excited about visiting again. Hope Lake drew me in from the get-go. As Emma walked out her front door and into town to do errands and meet up for drinks or coffee, I swooned. Not even necessarily over Cooper (who I definitely swooned over, that just came later), but over the charm and cozy feeling I had the second I stepped foot into Hope Lake.

So much so, that I am definitely keeping my eye out for more Hope Lake stories. I couldn’t help but notice that Ms. Bocci introduced a pair of very eligible bachelors just waiting for the loves of their lives to come and sweep them off their feet. So, yeah, I’m definitely counting down the days ’til I get to read what love has in store for them.

On the Corner of Love and Hate‘s heroine, Emma is the feisty, semi-focused woman I always hope I can be. She loves being busy at work, she dives in to any new project with passion that any creative would kill to bottle, and she tries to make time for some personal life stuff, too. I love reading about characters who don’t have it all together. They have some things together. The important things. The bills are paid and the adult responsibilities are handled, but when it comes to doing it all, there are just some things that are bound to slip through the cracks. I can so easily relate.

I enjoyed reading along as Emma and Cooper’s relationship evolved from co-workers with a lot of history to happily ever after. Seeing how their history enriched their feelings for each other nearly knocked me out. The extreme earnestness and intensity with which both of them hid and denied their feelings over the years made their eventual happiness that much more rewarding and beautiful.

So, if you’re looking for one last summer read, something comfortable and warm to help you settle in and get ready for even cozier reading this fall, you most definitely don’t want to miss On the Corner of Love and Hate, because it’s everything you’re looking for… and probably a little bit more.

On the Corner of Love and Hate is available now! Get your copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, or Book Depository. Oh, and make sure to add it to your Goodreads, too!

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