Laura Fry is a novelist with a writer’s block who is forced to move back home to care for her incapacitated mother. With time to spare, she starts caring for her mother’s garden and making friends with her lesbian neighbor. Cassidy Anderson is a successful businesswoman who has built a beautiful weekend house and likes to throw parties and bed a large number of bimbo women. But when she meets her tomboy neighbor she starts to question herself about her choice of friends and lovers and realises that maybe she has looked in the wrong places all her life.
It took me some chapters to warm to this book as at the beginning both main characters seemed too immature. However, as their relationship progressed, the book really picked up for me. Ms. Hill knows damn well how to write dialogues that slowly unveil their pent up attraction. I particularly liked how the wall that divides both neighbours, help to connect rather than separate them. Some of the scenes in the pool highlight the eroticism of hot summers in Texas and, as usual, Ms. Hill delivers in the intimate scenes. Except for the bimbos who are a bit stereotyped, the secondary characters are multilayered, specially on Laura’s side. There are interesting conversations between Laura and her mother, some of them pretty hilarious. The growth in the mother-daughter’s relationship adds to the enjoyment of the novel.
To say that this is a slow-burn romance is an understatement, Ms. Hill creates their chemistry painstakingly slow but the wait is so worth it. One way the author builds the main characters’ relationship is through food. It’s funny how they communicate with their shared pleasure of eating in contrast with the bimbos’ pathologic relationship with food. There are a few mouthwatering moments that show the author’s ability to depict the sensuality of cuisine and its common ground with love. ‘The neighbor’ also challenges some prejudices around sexual roles (butch, tomboy, femme) within a lesbian relationship that aren’t as fixed as it seems. Everything is achieved in a feel-good, no angst story.
Overall, a slow burn, feel-good romance that highlights the eroticism of food and challenges some lesbian stereotypes. 4.5 stars.
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.