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Book Review: Things We Hide From the Light by Lucy Score

Book Review: Things We Hide From the Light by Lucy Score

One of the best things about interconnected romance novels is that it gives readers the chance to revisit familiar scenes, catch up with old characters and get lost in a new swoon-worthy love story all at the same time. With Things We Hide From the Light, author Lucy Score makes it clear that this is one narrative formula that she knows how to work with.

Many readers who come to pick up this novel will already be familiar with these characters and the small town of Knockemout, Virginia following on from the huge success of first novel in the series, Things We Never Got Over. While this undoubtedly brings with it a ready-made group of interested readers excited to pick up whatever comes next, it also comes with a wealth of high expectations and a clear standard to meet, if not exceed, to renew readers’ interest. Things We Hide From the Light is a warm, emotional love story, yes, but it also struggles to recapture all of the same magic that came before.

Picking up almost immediately after Things We Never Got Over, this novel focuses in on Knox’s brother Nash, the very attractive Police Chief and all around good guy who sees the world primarily in shades of black and white with no room in between. Before, Nash was known for his good looks and Southern Charm, but after being shot and left for dead he’s now struggling, suffering with panic attacks and plagued by nightmares. He’s not about to let anyone in his life know about it though – and he definitely doesn’t need the beautiful and smart-mouthed Lina Solavita moving in next door and causing him any more complications.

Lina is in town on a mission, and has absolutely no intention of sticking around once she gets what she came for. Unfortunately for Lina and her best-laid plans, however, the town of Knockemout has a way of drawing you in, and before long Lina finds herself becoming a part of small town life, from dog-sitting and agreeing to take part in her best friend’s wedding to taking an interest in her sexy new neighbour. Soon, Nash and Lina find themselves spending more and more time together, but when Nash learns of why Lina is really in town, the lines between love and hate are blurred – even while the sparks flying between them are flaring just as bright as ever.

Like it or not, there’s something volcanic between you two. And I can’t wait to see which one of you explodes first.”

Things We Hide From the Light is a romance novel that’s built entirely around the push and pull between its two main characters, and it’s fair to say that neither Nash or Lina are willing to be the first to give in. As expected, this brings with it a wealth of slow burn tension, complete with plenty of flirting and teasing to keep that chemistry building. There’s an instant attraction between them, but beyond that this novel does a fantastic job of peeling back each character’s emotional walls, meaning Things We Hide From the Light is just as much about two people healing and learning to open up with each other and be vulnerable, as it is a small town, friends to (light) enemies to lovers story.

This does make for quite an insular story, though, with a lot of the conflict and development taking place primarily on a personal level as Nash and Lina navigate the shifting feelings caused by this new attraction for them both. The battle each of them faces ebbs and flows throughout the novel, with Lina torn between putting down roots in one place or sticking with the more familiar, sometimes dangerous life of high stakes and big payouts she’s used to, while Nash is caught between his desire to get closer to Lina and remember what it feels like to live again after his traumatic injury and his urge to keep his loved ones safe, which may mean having to keep Lina at a distance.

It’s a repetitive structure, and one that is made all the more evident by the fact that any major appearances from other characters are largely few and far between. With all the narrative action focused almost entirely on Nash and Lina themselves, you really have to love these characters to commit to the near 600-page story – a big ask, even for the most voracious romance reader – and they don’t always deliver. This is made even clearer in the final third of the novel when more characters are able to interact with Nash and Lina in more meaningful ways, and the novel feels both lighter and quicker as a result, helped too by the narrative stakes getting higher.

Despite its slow start and a few too many frustrating back and forths, Things We Hide From the Light ultimately grows to become a sweet, meaningful, steamy story with lots of great development, chemistry and banter. Nash and Lina are both interesting and engaging characters whose relationship builds beautifully as the story continues. Although it doesn’t quite hit the high expectations that Things We Never Get Over set in place, Things We Hide From the Light remains a detailed, twisty love story that offers a welcome return to a familiar series and will no doubt entertain, delight and consume fans of the first book all over again.


Things We Hide From The Light is published by Hodder on 21 February 2023

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