Review: Love Next Door (Helena Hunting)

Love Next Door
Series: Lakeside, #1

Author: Helena Hunting
Narrators: Andi Arndt, Teddy Hamilton

Publication Date: July 27, 2021
Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★


From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting comes an evocative small-town romance about family loyalty, finding oneself, and falling in love.

When Dillion Stitch left her hometown, she had no intention of going back. But when her brother gets into trouble, Dillion reluctantly agrees to return home to take her place at the family business.

Being back in Pearl Lake after all these years feels familiar but also brings a few surprises. She’s quick to notice that someone new has shown up at the cottage next door. Dillion gets more than an eyeful when she goes to check out the newcomer and meets Donovan “Van” Firestone—her beloved neighbor’s grandson—in all his unclothed glory.

Having gotten off to a rocky start, it’s not long before they begin bickering with each other all over town. All that back-and-forth inevitably sparks an undeniable attraction. But Dillion’s family has issues, Van’s family resents him, and neither Dillion nor Van feels truly at ease in the small town. For these Pearl Lake exiles, home isn’t just where the heart is—it’s where things get complicated. 

Fans of Helena Hunting’s The Good Luck Charm and Kiss My Cupcake are sure to enjoy Love Next Door. It’s a sweet contemporary filled with lots of emotional moments and even some mystery. It also had a ton of small town goodness. I loved the lake setting with one side for the town and one side for the rich vacationers. I also loved what that small town did for the story and romance between Dillion and Van.

Dillion was a woman who had run from her small town past to the big city of Chicago. Coming home to help out her family’s business wasn’t in her plans, and she worried she had failed. Being home reconnected her with her roots and there was great character growth that way.

Van had some demons of his own he was fighting when it came to family. He grew up as someone who probably could have been on the other side of the lake with all those rich kids, but he spent his summers with his grandmother next door to Dillion. They didn’t really know each other, so meeting in adult life was entertaining in more ways than one. I loved how they met and how things went from there.

Dillion and Van’s relationship was adorable. There were a lot of fun, sweet moments. There was also some drama, but not a ton related to their relationship. The drama seemed to be all around them. It was pretty interesting. I wasn’t expecting some, like what was up with Dillion’s brother Billy. I could see the drama coming from Van’s family, so that was kind of expected. Thinking back on the drama, it kind of distracted from Dillion and Van’s relationship, but I guess that’s okay because it ended up bringing them closer together. Oh! And I almost forgot about Tucker… His character seemed kind of like an unnecessary distraction. I expected more a confrontation or something related to him.

I listened to the audio version of this book on KU, and I’m so glad I did. The narration was perfect. I always enjoy Andi Arndt and Teddy Hamilton narrating books, and they definitely rocked this one.

I’m excited for the next book in this series, Love on the Lake. I’m hoping it’s Aaron and Teagan’s story. I also wouldn’t mind Billy getting his own book.

17 thoughts on “Review: Love Next Door (Helena Hunting)”

  1. Adorable romance, small town, emotional — these are my buzz words. Sounds like I would enjoy this one. Glad to hear the audio was good too. I might check it out.

    1. You’re right! There is only one book of hers that I didn’t enjoy, so she’s pretty much a win for me.

  2. I just read another review of this book and I like the sound of it. Great review Deanna and I will be borrowing this one from KU.

    1. Yay! I think it would be one that would work for you. Also, it’s available to listen to in KU and the narrators were great!

  3. I love that the drama is external to the couple. I love when authors do that in books. Gosh, it feels like I haven’t read a book by Helena Hunting in what feels like ages! I’m glad this was a sweet story. I’ll have to give it a try next time I’m in the mood for a small-town romance.

    1. They have a little drama, but nothing compared to what is going on in the background. Let me know if you try it!

    1. Really? That surprises me? I think you will enjoy this, especially if you like the narrators.

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