Love at First by Kate Clayborn book laying on an unmade bed
Contemporary Romance

ARC Review: Love at First – Kate Clayborn

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Sixteen years ago, a teenaged Will Sterling saw–or rather, heard–the girl of his dreams. Standing beneath an apartment building balcony, he shared a perfect moment with a lovely, warm-voiced stranger.

It’s a memory that’s never faded, though he’s put so much of his past behind him. Now an unexpected inheritance has brought Will back to that same address, where he plans to offload his new property and get back to his regular life as an overworked doctor.

Instead, he encounters a woman, two balconies above, who’s uncannily familiar…

No matter how surprised Nora Clarke is by her reaction to handsome, curious Will, or the whispered pre-dawn conversations they share, she won’t let his plans ruin her quirky, close-knit building.

Bound by her loyalty to her adored grandmother, she sets out to foil his efforts with a little light sabotage. But beneath the surface of their feud is an undeniable connection.

A balcony, a star-crossed couple, a fateful meeting–maybe it’s the kind of story that can’t work out in the end. Or maybe, it’s the perfect second chance.

From Kate Clayborn, the acclaimed author of Love Lettering, comes a sparkling, tender novel about bickering neighbors, surprise reunions, and the mysterious power of love.


Love at First is a beautiful tale of second chance romance with a twist. The twist being that they never actually met all those years ago. Sixteen years ago, Will Sterling overheard Nora on a balcony. Struggling with his vision at the time, Will never really got a good look at Nora but he fell head over heels with her voice and personality that he witnessed at the time – all of which Nora was unaware.

Fast forward to present day, Will is back to the building where it all began and suddenly faced with meeting the girl of his teenaged dreams.

I recently fell in love with Clayborn’s writing after devouring Love Lettering a few months ago, and was so excited to learn her new book, Love at First, was releasing soon! Clayborn is able to weave such lovely, romantic tales of two completely opposite people who somehow manage to be perfect for one another – and Love at First is just another example of her great storytelling abilities!

After facing some difficult huddles in life, Will has grown up to become quite a serious, determined man. He’s a successful doctor with not much else going on in his life, until fates leads him back to the balcony (and to Nora).

Likewise, Nora’s life resolves around the same steady pace. She’s living in her late nonna’s apartment, working from home, and only interacts with a couple of long distance work colleagues and the other older tenants in the apartment building. Nora feels a little lost and is finding comfort by hanging onto the past.

I really enjoyed the way Will and Nora’s relationship grew. While many people have labelled this story as enemies to lovers, I find it to be a very mild version of enemies. Instead, I simply like to refer to these two characters as ‘stubborn and stubborner’. There was definitely a heavier emphasis on these two characters building a solid friendship which allowed the ‘love at first sight’ trope to feel more defined and less about ‘love at first lust’.

However, I feel the stars of this book were the side characters. Will’s fellow doctor and his relationship troubles with his ex-wife were entertaining and I enjoyed seeing their reconciliation just as much (if not more so) that Will and Nora. The apartment building in this story also had a bevy of crazy characters that all somehow flowed peacefully together.

Overall, I found this story to be enjoyable and a very easy read. It’s lighthearted and fun, but briefly touches on heavier topics. Clayborn did a wonderful job with this story and I cannot wait to read more of her work in the future.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Kensington Books and Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase your copy now!
Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Want more romance recommendations and reviews similar to Love at First?
Check out these titles below!

Love Lettering – Kate Clayborn
Happy-Go-Lucky – LH Cosway
Coldhearted Boss – RS Grey
You Deserve Each Other – Sarah Hogle


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