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Putting petty to work

Cover of At First Spite
A review of At First Spite by Olivia Dade

Athena Greydon was engaged to Johnny Vine. As a wedding present for him, she bought the 10-foot-wide house attached to his. Four weeks before they're to be married, however, Johnny's older brother, Dr. Matthew Vine III, convinces him not to go through with the ceremony. Now, not only has Athena lost a fiance', but she's given up her job and home in preparation for her married life in Harlot's Bay. She's left with few options. Which means she's ready to put the "spite" back into the house she bought and make Matthew - whose own home is only four feet away across an alley - as miserable as she is. Her plan to disrupt his life in all the petty ways possible begins to go off the rails when she realizes he's not quite the monster she thought he was. And when her struggles have a debilitating effect on her own mental health, it's Matthew who steps in to help.

The cover and set-up for this book suggest a light rom-com, and there is certainly a lot of humor and heart here. What's also here is a thoughtful exploration of clinical depression (very well depicted here), lonliness, and finding a place in a world that can seem to have passed you by. I enjoyed Athena and Matthew's romance and look forward to more books in the Harlot's Bay series.

Jun 17, 2024