Cover Image: Love at First

Love at First

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

It moved me, make me root for the characters and kept me hooked.
Kate Clayborn can surely writes stories that keeps you hooked and this one is no exception.
A great cast of characters and tightly knitted plot, a compelling and sweet story.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

Was this review helpful?

Oh my gosh - how did I not review this one sooner! Such a sweet read!

If you love:
- slow-burn romances
- stories with found families
- quirky side characters
- wonderful prose
- seeing characters overcome emotional obstacles (that they really didn't realize were obstacles)

I fell in love equally with Nora Clark and Will Sterling, even if they seemed to get in each other's way. Nora's plotting to win Will over (to the apartment building) was seriously I Love Lucy worthy in its innocent earnestness.

Will grew up seeing confusing his parents' almost obsessive-like relationship with each other as a healthy, loving relationship, so it has turned him off to love and romance. His character was one that needed saving from himself, and Clayborn had me believing that Nora would be the one to do it (even though this wasn't NORA'S plan). He's a sweet guy and also loved how his relationship with his boss (and his boss's ex) developed.

I can't say that I understood Will's uncle's thinking or lack of relationship with Will himself, and that part of the plot did have me scratching my head.

Just a delight from beginning to end, a perfect escapist read.

Was this review helpful?

I have a really hard time reviewing books that I loved and this is one of my favourites of 2021 so far and likely will be an all-time favourite romance. I have read all Kate Clayborn's books and have enjoyed most of them and I think this is her best one to date.

I am not much of a crier when reading romance but this book broke me and then fixed me in the best possible way. There is such depth of emotion and grief and tenderness that it is hard to put into words but it gets to you and makes your heart ache.

Nora is amazing, but Will was everything for me. I loved how real they both read to me, awkward and tentative and messing up and feeling too much. We have these two people navigating the world very much on their own, dealing with grief and childhood trauma.

It's the gentlest, most tender romance between two people who are closed off, very much stuck in the past. The focus is very much on romantic love starting as enemies, going through bickering and playing tricks on each other, to end as soulmates. The other main element in the story has to do with family and community in all their complexity - their power to lift you up, the give you strength and unwavering support but also their power to destroy, to make you feel small, invisible, insignificant.

I loved seeing unlikely friendships blossoming, seeing the struggle between loyalty and moving on with your life, trying new things despite being afraid to do it.

All in all, I just loved this book with all my heart!

CW: child neglect, grief, loss of parents (in the past), loss of a grandparent (in the past), illness

Was this review helpful?

Kate created such a beautiful found family here, and the romance, as always, is top-notch. I wish I understood a bit more about the uncle's motives, but that is a minor detail.

Was this review helpful?

The first time Will sees Nora he is 15 and and although he never forgets her, he’d rather never remember the rest of that day. Sixteen years later, under much different circumstances, he sees her again, more clearly, and on the same balcony. Though they both are instantly attracted to each other, they have opposing agendas for their immediate futures. Love at First is a sweet, atypical second chance, romance novel written by Kate Clayborn. It is a leisurely read, sometimes seeming a little too slow. The characters are lovable, and I enjoyed seeing their personal growth and healing as they navigated their relationship from frenemies to falling in love. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for gifting me this enjoyable digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Another beautifully romantic book from Kate Clayborn. Her writing is totally captivating and reels you straight into the book with the characters. It's sure to leave you with all the warm happy feelings once you've read it.

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely adored Kate Clayborn's Love Lettering so I think I went into this with too high expectations. I had a hard time getting into this one at first but once I did I read it quickly. Enjoyable book.

Was this review helpful?

I wanted to love this one - I'm a sucker for a sweep me away, feel good romance. Sadly, I did a lot more head scratching than swooning while reading "Love at First."

The uncharacters and their situations are completely unrelated. Will, for example, is afraid of falling in love because...his parents were too in love with each other and he was, therefore, afraid of falling too hard for someone else? Nora's character was just flat as well. She focused all of her energies acting like an 80 year old woman in the body of a 30-something.

The secondary characters were the only redeeming part of this novel - and even at that I had only lukewarm feelings for the elderly neighbors, Will's boss, and Will's boss's ex-wife.

This book appears on a number of GoodReads lists, so maybe there's something I'm missing.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This is a second chance romance for Will and Nora. As teenagers, Will saw (or heard) the girl of his dreams while he was standing on his estranged uncle's balcony. Will inherits that same apartment years late - only to find Nora living in her grandmother's apartment. Will only has bad memories of the apartment and can't wait to get rid of it. Nora can't imagine the building changing - they're a family, so she starts sabotaging Will's plans to AirBNB the apartment. Will their fighting lead to a second chance at love?

Full disclosure: I loved, loved, loved Kate Clayborn's Love Lettering, and I totally though this was a sequel based on the cover. It isn't, and I think I was disappointed in this book before I even started reading. It may be unfair, but that was my headspace going in. With that said, I just didn't love this. I liked it, and I recommend you read it and decide what you think.

(Thanks to @NetGalley and Kensington Books for my ARC. I'm so, so, so far behind in my reviews!)

Was this review helpful?

Holy cow I loved Love at First so much. Kate Clayborn’s writing is absolutely magical and always feels like a warm hug when reading. The story of how Nora and Will meet and how the book opens, sucked me in immediately. It did take me a little while to finish, I love Clayborn but I need to read her books slowly to fully appreciate her writing. But this story, the characters, the romance, and the ending were all delightful, heartwarming, magic. Five stars.

Was this review helpful?

Last January, I read <em>Love Lettering</em> by Kate Clayborn and fell in love. <em>Love at First</em> stayed with me in the same way.

Clayborn has an incredible talent, and it’s on full display in this novel. At its heart, <em>Love at First</em> is the love story between Will and Nora. However, every secondary character is three-dimensional and their contributions to the overall story add such depth and emotion. As we get introduced to the residents in Nora’s apartment complex, we see a found family that comes to be ours, too. When we meet Will’s intimidating boss, Dr. Abraham, you wouldn’t guess that we’d be deeply invested in his second-chance romance storyline and call him Gerry by the end of the novel.

I have no idea how Clayborn can write this all-encompassing story with so many layers and different relationships and none of it feels lacking. I’m forever in awe of her writing abilities.

Clayborn invites the reader into the lives of her characters, and we aren’t just watching the story unfold, we feel like we’re part of it. Their victories and stumbles are ours as well. As Clayborn leads us down generations of struggles, we come to realize (along with the characters) that our lives are going to be different from those that raised us and cared for us.

“You don’t have to love people the way you learned to love at first.”

That line has stuck with me, and not just because it has the title of the novel in it, but because it resonated with me in a deeply personal way. I think a lot of people will read Love at First and see themselves reflected in its pages as well.

Finally, it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of epilogues. I love things tied in a nice, neat bow, and this epilogue borders on perfection. I cried tears of actual happiness, and I can’t remember the last time that happened when I read a book.

Love at First is a really amazing book, and I’m so happy was able to read this in December of 2020 and cap off that mess of a year with some much needed hope.

Read this immediately!

Was this review helpful?

LOVE AT FIRST is a fun, fast, enjoyable read. Kate Clayborn has written such a smart, good book. It’s the first book of hers that I’ve read. Her book LOVE LETTERING was very popular & I want to read that as well. This is the delightful story of 2 people who meet & fall in love, and in the process each one realizes that family is what they make it. Well written, this book made for a delightful escape for several hours of reading & was just the fun I needed. Thank you to NetGalley for the complimentary copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

DNF at 20%

I'm a bit sad that this book did not work for me because Kate Clayborn's one of my fav authors. I couldn't connect with either hero or heroine, so I simply couldn't care less to continue the story.

Ah well.

Was this review helpful?

This is only my second book by Kate Clayborn, but she’s now on my auto-buy list because both have been absolute stunners, written in a warm, witty, complex voice, and I cannot get enough. This one is a tear-jerker where, by Chapter 2, you are cheering for the characters to forgive themselves — because by that point you’re already certain they deserve forgiveness as well as happiness. It’s hard to make a romantic relationship feel fated, especially in a contemporary setting, but Clayborn does.

I stayed up until 1 a.m. reading because I simply couldn’t stand to go to sleep until Nora and Will resolved things. At the end I was left with that warm, glowing love for humanity that is always what I’m chasing when I read this genre: the sense of togetherness, of hope, of even unsolvable problems feeling less impossible. Because a good romance lets you forgive the people on the page. A great romance lets you forgive people in general — and feel that maybe they even deserve it.

Was this review helpful?

This was a cute, sweet story of Will and Nora set in a quirky Chicago apartment building full of bickering neighbors. The story felt a bit light and ultimately forgettable. I found Will to be the more interesting character and would have liked more of his history. It dragged for me in the middle and took me longer to read than normal but I'm glad I finished it and I enjoyed the ending.

Was this review helpful?

Love at First is a slow-paced book with low-key rivals-to-lovers romance and found family trope.

The romance was slow-burn and took it's time to develop, which was nice. But it did drag on towards the end, with an unnecessary conflict, and bored me.

The supporting characters were the highlight. I loved the found family trope in this book with the elderly supporting characters, each with unique quirks. Reading about them was heart-warming.

Overall, a good romance. I think the author's writing style is slow paced books (it was the same in Love Lettering as well) and if you don't like that, this is not for you. But if you like slow and comfortable romances which warm your heart, this is for you.

Was this review helpful?

Love at First by Kate Clayborn is a cute second chance romance with great main characters and quirky secondary ones. Sixteen years earlier, Will met the girl of his dreams at his uncle's apartment building. They had a conversation between balconies, one he never forgot. Now his uncle has died and left his condo to him. Will plans on renting it out for the year required before he gets ownership and can sell it. The residents, especially the Condo Board chairman, do not want short term rentals. They do not want to upset the quirky, close-knit building. Nora owns and lives in her late grandmother's home and is faithful to her memory. She wants nothing, I mean nothing, to change. What does change are her feelings towards Will as she gets to know him better.

This is a story with humour, some grief, sharing of secrets and emotions. Nora begins some sabotage to Will's plan and Will goes with it. This is where much of the humour comes in. The other residents have some pretty funny conversations and confrontations with him as well. Nora tries hard to ignore the attraction she has towards Will, but finally she gives in and so does Will. The more they share with one another, the closer they become and the more I rooted for them to take a chance. Will and Nora are both enjoyable characters, with baggage, worries and secrets. Their banter was fun and when they finally took a chance, there was a little sizzle. This is a sweet, charming romance with great characters, and enough emotional moments that make it very enjoyable. I definitely recommend this one to lovers of contemporary romance.

Was this review helpful?

Why did I sleep on this for so long! Absolutely swoony and tender. A wonderful book about making scary changes.

Was this review helpful?

This was such a wonderful read. I instantly fell in love with this book! The characters were so well thought out and the plot was wow! So glad I had the chance to read this book. Will definitely be recommending to my book friends.

Was this review helpful?

This book was so good! I loved the setting, the relationship, the neighbors. I am excited to feature Kate on the podcast and include this title in a listicle.

Was this review helpful?