This review was originally posted on The Geeky Waffle and has been reposted here with permission.
While avid readers, romantics, and Reylos alike wait for the full-length follow-up to the wildly successful and utterly charming The Love Hypothesis, author Ali Hazelwood has just the thing to tide us over: three novella-length stories set in the world of STEM about three best friends each finding love with an appropriately grumpy nemesis. The tropes of both romance novels and fanfiction that made The Love Hypothesis so wonderful are all still present here, and flourish even in the shorter format
The first of these novellas, Under One Roof, follows Mara, recently graduated with a Ph.D. in engineering, who relocates to D.C. to work her dream job with the EPA. Helena, her mentor in graduate school, recently passed away and in her will left her a house within walking distance of her new job. What she failed to have clearly disclosed to Mara however, is that her brother co-owned the home with her, and his portion of the ownership has now passed to his youngest son Liam, who resides in the house.
Liam is a tall, handsome, grumpy lawyer for an oil firm, who resents the arrival of Bachelor-watching, Disney-music-blasting, coffee-creamer-using Mara, and he offers on several occasions to buy out her half of the house for more than its worth. Unwilling to give up such a convenient, gorgeous home, not to mention the last piece of her mentor she has left, Mara refuses, but offers to move out anyway once she is able to save a little money.
Apart from the occasional, brief conversation with a side character – and a couple of longer scenes featuring Sadie and Hannah, who are getting books of their own soon – the bulk of Under One Roof sticks just with Mara and Liam. The result is a very cozy, intimate, moving love story. The two of them are refreshingly frank, leaving just enough pining to keep you breathlessly flying from chapter to chapter.
And on a personal note, I would like to once again thank Ali Hazelwood for the inclusion of characters who fall under the demi/ace umbrella. Too often we are painted with a brush that never quite suits me, but her characters always do.
Like with The Love Hypothesis, Hazelwood infuses the blossoming romance between Mara and Liam with many of the realities facing women in STEM. Though I am not a STEM professional myself, comments about sexism in her workplace hit fairly close to home. There were only so many times in former workplaces that I could tell men my age that I was there to do my own job and not act as their personal receptionist…
With audiobooks, it is the narrator that can make or break the experience. The narrator for Under One Roof, Emily Wilder, does a fantastic job, flowing naturally between each character and making it easy to follow for someone who does not generally listen to audiobooks, particularly of romance novels. To those who might hesitate for whatever reason, I would encourage you to give it a try anyway.
For those worried that the enemies-to-lovers dynamic might be too similar to Olive and Adam, to that I say there is more than one way to get from dislike to desire, and I cannot wait to see all the ways we’ll get that with Hazelwood’s work in the future.
Finally, if anyone was keeping count, we are now 2/2 with Ali Hazelwood heroes who are inexplicably repulsed by sweet coffee.
Under One Roof is available in audiobook format on February 8, 2022 and in ebook format on May 3, 2022.
Special thanks to Penguin Audio for the advance copy for review purposes.
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