Review: A Hidden Hope by Laura Ambrose

Natalie and El used to be writing critique partners, sharing their work chapter by chapter. Falling in love off-page was like the next part of the story. But after a huge falling out, three years have passed in bitter silence.
When they both appear at a science fiction convention in London, Natalie, a struggling writer, wants nothing to do with El, the hot debut novelist who sold her book at auction under a male pseudonym. But over the weekend, ignoring each other–and their attraction–proves impossible, not least because they have several panels together. Can El hope to atone for the mistakes of their past, and is Natalie willing to let hope fly? (Goodreads)

I’m sad to say that A Hidden Hope disappointed me. It’s a second chance romance which is always either really good or really bad, but this one just edged into the bad territory for me.

The love interest, El, in this novella cut off contact with the main character years before after a fight when they were critique partners. Natalie wrote (and still writes) science fiction, while El tends towards literary fiction with a penchant for purple prose.

Now, El’s an author with a huge advance in science fiction, the genre that Natalie taught her to love – under a male pen name. Natalie has no idea that she is going to be at the same conference, but El reveals that she did know it… and planned several dates ahead of time “just in case.”

This creeped me out on several levels, and it’s never really addressed. They talk about what caused them to cut off contact years prior, but the love interest continues to push boundaries with the main character in a way that made me very uncomfortable.

I enjoyed the convention background of their rekindling romance, as it felt very realistic. However, I wish that more of the novella had shown their life after the convention before the story ends.

I think I could like other stories from this author, but A Hidden Hope really didn’t work for me.

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