Thursday, September 6, 2018

Love at First Hate by JL Merrow

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.

The Porthkennack stories can be enjoyed in any order — jump in wherever you'd like!

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Book 11
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Riptide Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the 11th book in the series, and whilst I would definitely recommend that you read them all, and in order, I think that this is a good read in its own right.

A rather dramatic start to this book which results in Bran ending up in hospital. And not just the once... which ensures he is even more grouchy than usual.

Sam has been given a second chance at a career, curating an exhibition about the Black Prince... which means working with the main funder, Bran Roscarrock. He is a man who not only has very fixed views on the Black Prince, but is also so deep in the closet that Sam has no idea how to connect with him... even though he is convinced that there could be something between them.

As they both come clean about their secrets from the past, we get to learn about the reasons behind some of their hang-ups. And there are some big issues which they both have to face and resolve in order to be ready to move forward. I really enjoyed how they addressed their past to be ready for the future.

We also get to meet some of the leads from previous books, so faithful readers will be happy to catch up with them too.

Love at First Hate is the 11th book in the Porthkennack series but it can be read as a standalone and it is the first one in this series for me. I chose it based entirely on the author, JL Merrow, whose work I’ve read before.

This is a slow-moving story. A lot of time is spent learning about Bran and Sam’s lives in the here and now before they meet, as well as finding out about Bran’s past, his family, growing up, and his first crush. I didn’t mind that it took a long time before Bran and Sam actually met because I felt like I knew them. Sam was easy to like. He is down to earth, imperfect, and charming. The slower pace gave me time to warm up to Bran, who I was finding difficult to like, but as the story progressed I enjoyed watching him learn to see himself and his life a little differently.

While it takes a long time for these two to meet, once they do it doesn’t take long before romantic feelings develop. I enjoyed seeing Sam and Bran clash, retreat to their own corners, and come together again. It was interesting and a bit fun.

One of my favourite things about reading a book by JL Merrow is the way her writing includes British mannerisms, language, behaviour, and politeness. It brings more life to the story, and here we got some British history too. I liked learning about the Black Prince as Sam and Bran worked on the exhibition.

Love at First Hate was a good story and by the end seeing the men happy made me happy too, even if it took a while to get there. 3 stars.

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy. In the 2016 Rainbow Awards, her fourth Plumber’s Mate Mystery Blow Down came second in the Dorien Grey Award for Best Gay Mystery/Thriller, and was a runner-up for Best Gay Book, as was her historical romance To Love a Traitor.

Connect with JL

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Love at First Hate (Porthkennack #11) by JL Merrow to read and review.

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