At First Spite

HarperAudio. (Harlot’s Bay, Bk. 1). Feb. 2024. 12:42 hrs. ISBN 9780063215931. $27.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Dumped and jobless, Athena Greydon channels her newfound rage into a life for herself in her ex-fiancé’s dream home, aptly named the “Spite House.” It would be the perfect place for a new start if it weren’t for the fact that the house sits a little too close to her ex’s jerk of a brother, Dr. Matthew Vine III, who doesn’t hide that Athena is his least favorite person. What does one do with so much free time and a jerk next door? Enact a revenge plan, of course. But things don’t always turn out as planned, and Athena might just discover that sometimes love can be found behind a disapproving frown. Though this book is a fun romantic comedy, it isn’t without its difficult moments; a large portion of the novel focuses on depression and grief, which Dade (Ship Wrecked) wonderfully conveys through Athena and Matthew. Joy Nash’s narrative style makes the characters fly off the page, from Athena’s depressive episodes and snark to Matthew’s broodiness and burdens.
VERDICT Dade is able to explore serious feelings and emotions in characters whom readers can connect with in this fun and witty enemies-to-lovers romance.
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