Title: Love Around the Corner
Series: A New Milton Novella
Author: Sally Malcolm
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 117 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Holiday Romance
At a Glance: Love Around the Corner is such a satisfying read, every bit as endearing as its cover and perfect for snuggling up with on a cold winter day.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Real life enemies, online lovers. Two lonely men, destined for each other—if only they knew it.
Alfie Carter grew up in New Milton, caring for his sick father and keeping their auto repair shop on its feet. He’s touchy about his poor education and doesn’t take kindly to snide remarks from the town’s prickly bookstore owner—no matter how cute he looks in his skinny jeans. Left to run the family business alone, Alfie spends his lonely evenings indulging his secret passion for classic fiction and chatting online with witty, romantic ‘LLB’ as they fall in love over literature.
Leo Novak’s new life as owner of Bayside Books is floundering. And he could do without the town’s gorgeous, moody mechanic holding a grudge against him after an unfortunate—and totally not his fault— encounter last Christmas. Still reeling from a bad breakup and struggling to make friends in New Milton, Leo seeks comfort in his blossoming online romance with thoughtful, bookish ‘Camaro89’.
But as the holidays approach, ‘LLB’ and ‘Camaro89’ are planning to meet, and realities are about to collide…
Review: New-to-me author Sally Malcolm has succeeded in charming me thoroughly with her Christmas novella, Love Around the Corner, a standalone story in her New Milton series. Small town meets enemies-to-lovers meets a secret of epic proportions are the key elements that make up this inviting little romance, and Malcolm weaves it all together quite handily into a sweet and heartwarming story that works thanks to its protagonists, Alfie Carter and Leo Novak, their worshiping of books, and the vulnerability of the relationship that unfolds between them.
Alfie is an auto mechanic, not the sort of man folks would look at and upon first impression believe him an aficionado of Jane Austen, or a fan of any of the classics, for that matter, but those people would be wrong. Insultingly wrong. And one of those people is Leo. First impressions being lasting impressions, these two men were doomed from the start.
Leo owns Bayside Books. To say his business is floundering is the truth. To say that he loves books is an understatement. To say that he was rude and spiteful to Alfie when they first met is not. He was. Leo jumped to conclusions that were based solely on Alfie’s appearance and his occupation. It’s something Alfie is sensitive to, and from that moment forward, they make no secret of the fact they can’t stand one another.
Pride and prejudice, indeed.
Oh, but there is a secret. A big one. And Leo is utterly crushed, from his soul outward, when he discovers that he’s spent the past year falling in love with an illusion. But Leo keeps that knowledge to himself, not to be malicious but because he knows that when (not if) it comes out, it will mean the death of something that is only just taking its first breaths. This is what worked for me in this story—the secret—because it became the impetus for one of the sweetest and most romantic apologies I believe I’ve ever read. It was a moment of unspoken Persuasion (thank you again, Ms. Austen) that, for someone who isn’t normally a fan of the lack of communication, is a Big Deal. Leo, as the sole possessor of this information, drew out the anticipation of his lie of omission coming back to haunt him, and it was realistic in its representation of how deep his feelings for Alfie had grown—the fear of loss is absolute and is a significant motivator for questionable life choices. I also appreciated that the resolution to the conflict was swift but plausible in delivering them to their happily ever after.
Love Around the Corner is such a satisfying read, every bit as endearing as its cover and perfect for snuggling up with on a cold winter day. I loved indulging the idealistic romantic in me that believes in love finding a way, especially around the holidays. I was so impressed by my first experience with Sally Malcolm’s likable and sensitive characters as well as her engaging storytelling, and am intrigued enough by the other residents of New Milton that I’m going backwards and reading the first book in the series, Perfect Day, right now.
You can buy Love Around the Corner here:
[zilla_button url=”http://authl.it/B07KFPF782?d” style=”blue” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon/Kindle Unlimited [/zilla_button]