Title: Love at First Hate
Series: A Porthkennack Novel
Author: JL Merrow
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 325 Pages
At a Glance: I’ve read a few of the Porthkennack stories, and they are all entertaining. This is a great addition to Jory and Mal’s One Under” and Devan and Kyle’s Wake Up Call. JL Merrow’s writing style has an easy flow, with lots of emotion to draw your interest.
Reviewed By: Maryann
Blurb: First impressions can doom second chances.
Bran Roscarrock has been living in the closet all his life. As heir to an expansive family legacy in the town of Porthkennack, old-fashioned ideals of respectability and duty were drummed into him since childhood, and he’s never dared to live—or love—openly.
Sam Ferreira, an old friend of Bran’s brother, Jory, is a disgraced academic desperate to leave his dead-end job. When Jory asks him to take over as curator of a planned exhibition on Edward of Woodstock, the fourteenth-century Black Prince, Sam leaps at the chance to do what he loves and make a fresh start.
But Bran’s funding the exhibition, and though sparks fly between the two men, they’re not all happy ones. Bran idolises Prince Edward as a hero, while Sam’s determined to present a balanced picture. With neither of them prepared to give ground, a hundred years of war seems all too possible. And if Bran finds out about Sam’s past, his future may not be bright, and their budding romance may be lost to history.
Review: Branok Roscarrock has always followed his father’s rules to maintain the respect of the family name, though all those rules did nothing but give him a bad reputation and cause him to be a difficult man to get along with. With a failed relationship and his being in the closet, Bran has never come close to being himself, and as time goes by, he looks back on his life and his family’s secrets—and little by little, as things become clearer, he finds himself craving a relationship and just wanting to be himself. Bran’s sister, Bea, and younger brother, Jory, also suffered their overbearing father as well as their mother’s illness and while they still have a connection, it’s a fragile one, but there is one person Bran does have a good relationship, his nephew and heir, Gawen.
After enjoying an evening with Gawen, Bran is attacked and left not only with a concussion but multiple, serious injuries too. Bran wants to know who would do such a thing, and he wants justice. While recuperating at home, he gets pneumonia and has to return to the hospital, but he can’t afford to be injured or sick because his business commitments and the Prince Edward exhibit rest heavily on his shoulders, along with the hiring of a new curator now. Bran tries to pressure Jory into taking the job but being a curator doesn’t fit into his schedule. Jory does step up and make a hire, though, someone he can trust, a mate from Edinburgh University.
Dr. Sam Ferreira was an academic, but he lost everything to a man he loved and trusted. To make ends meet, Sam takes menial jobs and has gone into debt from on-line gambling, but then he gets an offer he can’t refuse—to be the curator for the Prince Edward of Woodstock/Black Knight exhibit. He has nothing else to lose and hopes that new surroundings and a much better job can help him with what he needs.
Bran and Sam don’t see eye-to-eye on the presentation of the historical events of the Black Knight. Both have their opinions on how to present the exhibit to the people to make it meaningful. Needless to say, it leads to shouting matches and tense moments between them. In an attempt to find some neutral ground, Bran and Sam go to dinner, but there are too many secrets from the past and present that could very well prevent them from having any type of relationship.
Love at First Hate centers around several issues, one being the historical events of Prince Edward and the Hundred Years War. The story is told from the present and is intermingled with the past as Bran looks back to when he and his sister were in their teens and Jory was just a baby. There are many secrets and issues, ranging from present to past, for all the characters in this novel, and at some point, they all have to be honest with themselves and make the right decisions. Bran also has to decide to let go and not be controlling like his father was. Basically, the storyline reflects the dysfunction in the Roscarrock family, and it carries over into guilt and blame in the present. There is also thought put into giving people a second chance and to the decisions that have to be made to make one’s life their own.
I’ve read a few of the Porthkennack stories, and they are all entertaining. This is a great addition to Jory and Mal’s One Under” and Devan and Kyle’s Wake Up Call. JL Merrow’s writing style has an easy flow, with lots of emotion to draw your interest. The setting is current day Edinburgh, and the locality, descriptions, verbiage and accents really lend flavor to the story and all the characters involved.
You can buy Love at First Hate here:
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