Title: Nothing Like Love
Author: Abigail Strom
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Short novel
Available: Feb 16th
Simone Oliver prides herself on being a realist and a cynic. A brilliant set designer for a Manhattan theater company, she thrives in the background and is perfectly comfortable in jeans, Chuck Taylors, and a paint-smeared T-shirt. That is, until Zach Hammond, the award-winning (and sexy-as-hell) British director, turns the spotlight on her. He’s clearly captivated by her and won’t take no for an answer—but Simone is determined to maintain her position that love’s not worth the risk.
A hopeless romantic who can quote Shakespeare on a whim, Zach has spent his life center stage, surrounded by world-famous actors and royalty. But nothing he’s seen can compare to what Simone can create. Before long, he finds himself as mesmerized by her brash beauty as he is by her work, and he’s determined to seduce her stubborn heart.
But while the two may have been successful at relegating romance to the wings in New York, when their production moves to a centuries-old Irish castle in County Clare, there may be just enough magic to give true love the curtain call it deserves.
Source: ARC from Montlake Romance via NetGalley
If you’re a Shakespeare fan, you should find plenty to like in this fun romance, pitting an independent and slightly quirky set designer against a famous British actor-turned-director. She is anti-romance, he is all about the love, and the chemistry between them is smoking hot. If you’re not a fan of Shakespeare than the plethora of quotes might get on your nerves, but after the brilliant insults battle, things do quiet down on that front.
Personally, I love Shakespeare, so I loved that aspect of the book. However, if you’re reading this purely for the stage-craft, be aware that there’s a whole lot more going on in Simone’s life than what happens on stage. She’s quite the complicated character, with her avoidance of all things romantic, her strong friendships and her open-hearted, caring attitude. I liked her a lot, even if I never did understand why she was so secretive of her paintings (actually, that whole plot line vanished without trace for some reason).
Zach is a good looking Brit paying a brief working trip to New York. He’s successful, rich, urbane and kind of a sweetheart. I loved how he saw Simone and encouraged her to face her fears. I also really enjoyed their time together in New York, with their shared work and their sparking attraction. As for what happens with Noah and Henry’s flat – the man is perfection.
However, as much as I enjoyed everything that happened in New York, once they actually landed in Ireland everything fell a bit flat for me. The wit and the magic was gone, things turned a touch cliché and it all went by really quickly. I’d have liked to have actually seen some of the theatre stuff, and as for where the relationship between Simone and Zach heads… urgh. Zach is revealed to be a complete doormat, while Simone turns from a strong, capable woman into this cowardly, crying mess. I was not impressed. Especially not with how swiftly it all got resolved. I could see the pages running out and knew the resolution was going to be swift, but for me it was too rushed and left me feeling kind of disappointed.
So for me this had a strong start and an enjoyable middle, but was rather let down by the ending. If you like your romance peppered with wit, have no objections to a touch of Shakespeare and can root for a capable woman facing down her demons one by one, then you should enjoy this. Well, most of it.
Nothing Like Love is out February 16th!
Visit Abigail Strom for more details.