It's been a while since I've read a Hart romance, and I am very glad I grabbed this one when it came up for review! Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and this one is more enemies to frenemies to let's-try-something-but-let's-not to holy crap I'm stupid in love with you, with several more steps in between.
Shaw and Elijah seemingly have nothing in common but an address. A cynical, sarcastic try anything once advice column writer/real estate agent and a pilates-teaching dancer, they may be neighbors in a building but they want nothing to do with each other.
I'll admit it. I had a really difficult time connecting with Elijah through the majority of the book. He's very sweet and up front and Pollyanna-ish, something I just don't know a lot about. Then I read the lines from that quote up above, and it melted my hardened heart. Those two sentences made me stop and review every single piece of my characterization of Elijah to that point with new eyes.
I adored Shaw from the start - give me a flawed bad boy any day and I'll fall hard every single time.
This is a slow burn romance...and I mean slooooooooooow. However, it yielded some of the loveliest (and steamy, don't get me wrong here) sexy times. The chemistry between these characters was clear from the first time they are physically in a scene together, and it just ramps up exponentially throughout the book.
There is a ton of character growth on both sides, something that is important to me in a book, and something which is guaranteed to be done well in Ms. Hart's books. The struggles the characters work through physically, emotionally, and mentally create tiny but spider-silk strong threads that tug at your heart.
There are several side characters, family and friends of both men, but the two best friends, who featured most prominently, still felt like they were barely there and didn't add much depth to the story. It's clear that they will feature in coming books, and I look forward to learning more about them.
All in all, this is a sweet rom-com with a few darker turns. There are references to homophobia and racism, but nothing on-page. I enjoyed Stupid Love, and I am rating it at 3.5 stars, rounding up to 4 stars for sites that don't accept halves. If you're looking for quick-witted banter and slow, sweet realizations of love, this is the book for you!
I voluntarily read an ARC copy of this book from Riley Hart with hopes for but no obligation to provide a review.