ARC Review: Love at First by Kate Clayborn


Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.


From Kate Clayborn, the acclaimed author of Love Lettering, comes a sparkling, tender novel about bickering neighbors, surprise reunions, and the mysterious power of love . . .

Sixteen years ago, a teenaged Will Sterling saw–or rather, heard–the girl of his dreams. Standing beneath an apartment building balcony, he shared a perfect moment with a lovely, warm-voiced stranger. It’s a memory that’s never faded, though he’s put so much of his past behind him. Now an unexpected inheritance has brought Will back to that same address, where he plans to offload his new property and get back to his regular life as an overworked doctor. Instead, he encounters a woman, two balconies above, who’s uncannily familiar . . .

No matter how surprised Nora Clarke is by her reaction to handsome, curious Will, or the whispered pre-dawn conversations they share, she won’t let his plans ruin her quirky, close-knit building. Bound by her loyalty to her adored grandmother, she sets out to foil his efforts with a little light sabotage. But beneath the surface of their feud is an undeniable connection. A balcony, a star-crossed couple, a fateful meeting–maybe it’s the kind of story that can’t work out in the end. Or maybe, it’s the perfect second chance . . . 


Genre: Contemporary romance
Rating: 3⭐️

This was a sweet read about two people who seemed to meet by fate sixteen years after their first encounter. I love a good romance and while Nora and Will definitely had their cute moments, I felt the entire story was a bit bland and forgettable. I didn’t dislike this book but I have high expectations with romance stories and this did not make it up into my favorites list.

When Nora and Will are teenagers, Will and his mother visit his uncle on the day where Will’s entire life changes. He sees teenage Nora on her grandmother’s balcony and is immediately attracted to her laugh and her voice. He never works up the courage to talk to her that day. When circumstances bring him back to this building sixteen years later, him and Nora reconnect. However Will is a different person now. He has carefully planned his life and is successful as an overworked ER doctor. Nora is grieving the loss of her grandmother and her and her adorable neighbors and working to save the little community they have in their apartment building.

I liked the premise of fate bringing Nora and Will together. It felt whimsical and so very romantic when I started reading it. Will has some baggage that is alluded to early on in the story and when the baggage was revealed, I didn’t really understand it. Sure, some unfortunate things happened to Will in his life but this baggage was supposed to be the main barrier between Nora and Will’s romance and I didn’t buy it. The stakes weren’t high enough and the feelings weren’t real enough for me.

The one aspect of the story I really enjoyed was all of Nora’s neighbors. They were all so cute! I love the idea of living in a building with people that become your family and I absolutely adored reading about all of them together.

Overall, a sweet story about fate bringing two people together. It tackles issues like trust and grief while still delivering an adorable romance between Nora and Will.


Have you read Love at First? What are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments!

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