#Review: The Only Exception by Claire Huston @ClaraVal @SarahH_GB @rararesources #blogtour #publicationday #LoveintheComptons #romance

By | June 7, 2022

I’m really delighted today to be helping launch the blog tour for The Only Exception by Claire Huston, and to share my publication day review. Published on 7th June by Goldcrest Books, it’s now available both as an e-book and in paperback. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to read and review, and to the author and publisher for my advance reading e-copy.

This book is second in a series – Love in the Comptons – but don’t worry for an instant if you didn’t read the first, Art and Soul, because this isn’t a sequel, rather another in the same collection. Although if you haven’t read the first, I’d try to put that right as soon as you can – I really, really loved it (you’ll find my review here). And I thoroughly enjoyed Claire’s second book too – Elle’s A to Z of Love – which was beautifully written, the loveliest romance filled with twists and turns and misunderstandings, and with one of those quite perfect happy endings (you can read my full review again here). So there was never a moment’s doubt that I’d join the blog tour for this one with another review – I was really looking forward to seeing what Claire had come up with this time…

Lucinda Green knows something is missing from her life. But what? Her catering business is enjoying modest success and she loves her cosy house, even if she does have to share it with her irritating ex-fiancé.


Whatever’s making her unsettled and edgy, Lucinda’s certain that a lack of romance isn’t the problem. How could it be when she doesn’t believe in true love?


But Lucinda’s beliefs are shaken by a series of electric encounters with Alex Fraser, a newly-notorious actor who gradually proves himself to be infuriatingly funny and smart, as well as handsome.


Not that any of that matters. Because Lucinda doesn’t believe in all that ‘The One’ nonsense. That’s the rule.


But doesn’t every rule have an exception?


This uplifting grumpy-meets-sunshine romance is perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Phillipa Ashley and Milly Johnson.

When I reviewed the author’s first book, Art and Soul, I remember mentioning that my first thought on closing the book with a satisfied sigh was “this is the best romance I’ve read in ages”. Well, I think she’s done it again – I enjoyed every moment of this lovely romance and, once again, really only need to say “just read it”.

Although there’s a touch of electricity between them (well, he is rather gorgeous), Lucinda’s not too impressed by Alex at their first meeting – she leaps into action when an elderly lady has a heart attack in the lift they’re sharing (thank goodness for that first aid course she went on…), while he just freezes. They meet again, and she’s spiky and difficult – her catering business is her passion and taking off nicely, there are real complications to her home arrangements, and she’s really not looking for a relationship (as her mother has taught her, love is nothing but a palliative fiction). Alex’s private life is a little complicated too, with a live-in girlfriend who’s far more invested in her on-line presence and the possibility of stardom than she is in him: he’s a moderately successful actor, though never in a leading role, and is perhaps most appreciated by his fans for his one advertising voiceover (loved that one!) and his particularly impressive rear. But they’re forced together again when invited for tea by the woman they saved in the lift – and so one of the loveliest slow burn romances unexpectedly begins to develop.

For a romance to work, it must have the right chemistry – and that’s something the author makes you really feel from their very first encounter. The writing is so clever – she tells the story from both their perspectives, moving seamlessly between them, allowing you into their thoughts and feelings, making you like and understand them in a way that has you really wanting them to knock down any obstacles and find their happy ending. The exchanges between them crackle and sparkle – the author has a wonderful touch with dialogue – and the humour that threads through the story is perfectly judged, sometimes touched with poignancy, frequently laugh-out-loud. At one point, the story becomes a series of text messages between them – that’s often not a favourite device with me, but in this context it works quite perfectly.

These were two characters I entirely took to my heart, their connection completely real and believable – and there’s a great supporting cast too. I read this book in a single sitting, became entirely caught up in their lives, hoping Lucinda would drop her defences, that they could both overcome the baggage of their pasts – and, while I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of the story, the book’s ending is one of those perfect cinematic moments that brought a tear of sheer joy to the eye of this old romantic.

This was a book I really loved (and I suspect you can probably tell…) – really accomplished writing, a romance I believed in, filled with warmth and feel-good, the perfect emotional touch, laced with humour… and all that quite wonderful chemistry. Claire Huston was already on my “must read” authors list – I now can’t wait to see what she does next. Highly recommended by me.

About the author

Claire Huston lives in Warwickshire with her husband and two children. She writes uplifting modern love stories about characters who are meant for each other but sometimes need a little help to realise it.
A keen amateur baker, she enjoys making cakes, biscuits and brownies almost as much as eating them. You can find recipes for over a hundred sweet treats at clairehuston.co.uk. This is also where she talks about and reviews books.

You can connect with Claire through her website – and you’ll also find her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Goodreads. You’ll find all her social media links via this Linktree

4 thoughts on “#Review: The Only Exception by Claire Huston @ClaraVal @SarahH_GB @rararesources #blogtour #publicationday #LoveintheComptons #romance

    1. Anne Post author

      Isn’t it just?! The romance was just so wonderful – I really loved this one…

  1. Claire | Art and Soul

    Thank you so much, Anne! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it. Thank you for the lovely review and for taking part in the blog tour 🙂 xx

    1. Anne Post author

      Claire, it was my absolute pleasure – I thoroughly enjoyed it! xx

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