Callihan, Kristen. Dear Enemy. Seattle, Montlake Romance, 2020.
eBook | $3.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-1542016773 | 392 [ages | Contemporary Romance
From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Callihan comes a smart, emotional contemporary romance about finding love with the most unlikely of people.
As kids, they hated each other. Macon Saint was beautiful, but despite his name, Delilah knew he was the devil. That he dated her slightly evil sister, Samantha, was no picnic either. When they broke up, it was a dream come true: Delilah never had to see him again.
Ten years later, her old enemy sends a text.
Delilah’s sister has stolen a valuable heirloom from Macon, now a rising Hollywood star, and he intends to collect his due. One problem: Sam has skipped town.
Sparks still sizzle between Macon and Delilah, only this heat feels alarmingly like unwanted attraction. But Delilah is desperate to keep her weak-hearted mother from learning of her sister’s theft. So she proposes a deal: she’ll pay off the debt by being Macon’s personal chef and assistant.
It’s a recipe for disaster, but Macon can’t stop himself from accepting. Even though Delilah clearly hates him, there’s something about her that feels like home. Besides, they’re no longer kids, and what once was a bitter rivalry has the potential to be something sweeter. Something like forever.
I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Dear Enemy was my first contemporary by Kristen Callihan, and I had no idea what to epect, having only read her Darkest London series prior to this one. However, I have heard a few raves from other advance reviewers, and I was intrigued by this premise, even if enemies-to-lovers is hard to do well.
This book hits the mark of what the trope is almost immediately, showing two people who an’t stand each other, but at heart, do have things in common and even some respect for one another that hint and deeper underlying feelings. There is some danger of it falling into the “he only does these things because he likes you,” but this is a discussion that is had in the book, and the way it’s subverted is done fairly well, even if the later execution of the relationsihp development did leave me feeling a little cold. .
I could relate to Delilah and the sense of feeling less than, both in comparison to her sister and in the eyes of others. That this sometimes manifested in her mind in Macon’s voice is somewhat troubling and does color their present romance in an odd light, but after mentioning this, she does say that there’s a flip side to his influence on her as well.
I also enjoyed that there is a bit of reckoning with her sister, without them ending up reconciling and being all buddy-buddy by the end. It struck the perfect balance between the heroine and antagonist seeing each other’s perspective, but the former not forgiving the latter for being horrible to them in the past.
Macon left less of an impression on me as a character in his own right. I enjoyed the fact that he did manage to succeed in spite of coming from a less spectacular childhood, but I found a lot of the rest of it just borrowed too heavily from familiar cliches with broody heroes, and I wanted a little more depth. Plus, he calls Delilah “Tater Tot” constantly…I like pet names as much as the next person, but it just felt so hammered in and forced. Those two factors led to me feelings generally lukewarm as things heated up between them, even though I do acknowledge they work well as a couple.
This was a generally enjoyable contemporary romance, but maybe just not really for me in some ways. But if you are more of a fan of contemporary romance and enemies to lovers, I recommend this, as it is a solid read with a great heroine.
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