It’s such a pleasure today to join the blog tour and share my review of Mr Right Across the Street by Kathryn Freeman: published by One More Chapter on 22nd January, the fourth in her Romcom Collection, this book is now available for kindle via Amazon in the UK and US. The paperback will be available on 15th April, available for preorder. Thank you to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley).
These days, Kate seems to be producing books faster than I can read them – but I still find her writing impossible to resist! Within this series, I’ve read, enjoyed and reviewed Up Close and Personal (you’ll find that review here) and Strictly Come Dating (review here). You’ll find loads of other features here on Being Anne too – pop her name into the search bar, and you’ll find posts (reviews, cover reveals, spotlights and guest posts) for most of her books. Let’s take a closer look at her latest…
Mia Abbott’s move to Manchester was supposed to give her time and space from all the disastrous romantic choices she’s made in her past. But then the hot guy who lives opposite – the one who works out every day at exactly 10 a.m., not that Mia has noticed thank-you-very-much – starts leaving notes in his window… for her.
Bar owner Luke Doyle has his own issues to deal with but as he shows Mia the sites of her new city he also shows her what real romance looks like for the first time. And when he cooks up a signature cocktail in her honour, she realises that the man behind the bar is even more enticing than any of his creations. And once she’s had a taste she knows it will never be enough!
If there’s one word that sums up Kathryn Freeman’s wonderful books for me, it has to be “chemistry” (and I see from the cover that Julie Caplin agrees with me!). Bizarrely, when I start reading, I always wonder if this might be the one book that I’m really not going to like – but it only ever lasts for a few pages until I’m totally caught up and invested in whatever love affair is at the story’s centre. In this book, the main characters – and the way they’re developed – are just superb.
Mia’s not great with relationships – her last boyfriend turned out to be a bit of a stalker, so much so that she moved to another city (Manchester) to lick her wounds in private, a bit of a computer nerd but also working on her novel. Her family are concerned, want her to get out and make friends – so far she’s only really connected with pensioner Stan next door (what a great character). But there’s a guy in the flat opposite who gets her heart racing when he works out at his window at 10am every morning – he’s Luke, who owns “The Bar Beneath” below the flat complex. His reputation rather goes before him, and even if he glanced in her direction there’s no way he’d be right for her. But when they meet, there’s an unexpected spark. Although Mia – with her eclectic taste in t-shirts and ever-changing hair colours -is very different from his usual type of high maintenance, immaculately groomed woman, a friendship begins, as he takes her on a sequence of increasingly hair-raising non-dates to show her what Manchester has to offer.
There’s a lot in the book about trust – Luke might become a friend, but he doesn’t have her phone number, and they communicate through notes in their windows (really nicely done…) – and opening up and letting people in, taking a chance, finding support where you don’t expect to find it. The whole supporting cast is so excellent (I was particularly fond of Naomi at the cafe – and Mia’s “no filter” sister)… but I’m now coming close to telling you the whole story, and I really mustn’t.
But Luke proves to be a lot more than a pair of sparkling eyes and a set of rippling muscles – nicely complex and misunderstood, with a strong back story, and quite unexpectedly one of the loveliest leading men the author’s created – and the initial friendship begins to develop into something more. There are hurdles and complications and real obstacles along the way, but the slow-burn romance was everything I hoped for and wanted it to be – wonderful to watch, feeling real and authentic, with a lovely increasing sizzle (and, in time, some heat that I really enjoyed too).
The writing is excellent – both main characters’ viewpoints, that great cast, the trademark sparky dialogue, a little more depth than you might expect and a few surprises, that perfect balance of humour and poignancy. But the romance itself really was exceptional, and both characters grabbed me by the heart, and never let go – the book’s light and it’s fun in so many ways, with the impossibility of any real relationship between the nerd and the cool kid, but it was also a book that surprised me by how deeply it me feel. I read it from cover to cover in one glorious sitting, and loved every single moment – I’ve enjoyed everything the author’s written, but I really think this is her best book yet.
About the author
A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.
I’ve two sons and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.