Love Thy Neighbor? Review of “How to Love Your Neighbor” by Sophie Sullivan

Grace Travis is on the cusp of launching the career she’s been preparing for almost as long as she can remember. She’s been working multiple part-time jobs to pay the bills as well as studying interior design in college. Now she only has to decide on and complete an approved project before graduation. When Grace learns she has inherited a small fixer-upper bungalow from the grandparents she never knew, she is on cloud nine with ideas for making it over. Yes, it’ll take awhile on her shoestring budget but that’s okay. It’s hers and that’s a first for Grace.

Enemies to Lovers

Real estate developer Noah Jansen moved from The Big Apple to the West Coast to prove to his domineering father he could make it on his own and he needed neither his money nor his influence to be successful. Even though his house is near the beach, Noah wants a pool too. To make that happen he’ll have to buy the dinky little shack next door. If he tears it down there’ll be ample room for an in-ground pool. Easy peasy, right? Wrong!

The animosity between Noah and Grace is so heavy it’s nearly tangible. He’s disdainful of her and Grace is having none of his highhanded behavior. She knows her way around a toolbox though and when an opportunity presents itself to show the jerk next door that she’s more than a pretty face, Grace is kind enough to make some repairs for him. Noah’s grudging admiration for her skills and ingenuity begins to emerge and soon there’s a seismic shift in the dynamics of their relationship.

“How to Love Your Neighbor” is described as an enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy. If you’re in the mood for a sexy romp, this won’t scratch that itch. Yes, it’s cute but it’s so clean it squeaks. There’s no swearing and nothing in the sex department that will raise any eyebrows. While I found it amusing enough for a few chuckles it simply fell short on the romance scale. Pure vanilla. There are some minor characters that add depth beyond the romance trope but the pacing is slow, just kind of plodding along without ever getting up to speed. Author Sophie Sullivan deserves credit for her grammatically correct writing but as rom-coms go, there’s no sizzle. Three stars.

My thanks to St. Martin’s Press and to Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review this work. “How to Love Your Neighbor” is due for publication January 18, 2022.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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