Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
K. A. Linde’s The Hating Season is a compelling contemporary romance that tells the story of a “playboy” Upper Eastsider in New York and his PR guru who seeks to turn his image around from the “bad boy of the Upper East Side.” This is a “hate at first sight” type of romance, and K.A. Linde crafts that hateful but fiery chemistry between English and Court well. The power of this story lies in Linde’s ability to bring these seeming opposites together. At the beginning of her story, that task seems difficult because English and Court lack respect for each other. However, as all hate-to-love romances tend to go, nothing is as it seems. This is the case for The Hating Season, underscoring the idea that people’s judgments of us initially are never really true to the reality of that person.
From the start, Linde grabs her readers with the story. There is no holding back on introducing difficult moments into this book. As the story progresses, Linde continues to pull her reader into her story as English and Court’s chemistry grows and builds. Even more, The Hating Season is an ancillary story to Linde’s popular Cruel series and the first book of this Season series, The Lying Season. I find readers attach to a romance when they recognize former characters from other stories. While I hadn’t read the other series, Linde grabbed my attention through the introduction of the bigger Linde universe of characters, and I’m interested to read this other series after reading The Hating Season. All of these parts of her storytelling engage her readers in English and Court’s romance.
While the message of this story isn’t new to romancelandia, it’s power is a reminder that we all want to be seen and acknowledged as we are. English’s character is interesting, as she works in Public Relations. That Linde would use her experience in the book to illustrate the way that personas are manufactured for public consumption is a nod to her message. This is insightful and a testament to Linde’s careful plotting. Additionally, through the character of Court, Linde illustrates the consequences of living behind a mask. As Court and English battle against each other, through careful revelation, Linde illuminates common human behavior: “judging a book by its cover.” When English finally “sees” Court’s truth, the narrative shifts, and the hate between these two dissolves. It alleviates the tension until Linde uses other tertiary plotlines to build the tension again. One of the strengths of The Hating Season is the ebb and flow of its story as it embodies the message of looking deeper into someone before fully appraising them
There were times in the narration, however, where the story lost some of this power. It loses a bit of its musicality. I found my mind wandering at those times; however, Linde brings the reader back into her romance by offering more action. It is a small criticism, not impacting the overall perception too greatly.
I wanted to read the ARC for The Hating Season because I adore the ‘hate-to-love’ romantic trope. K.A. Linde succeeds in managing this trope well in the context of her newest book. I pined for the stories of the other characters as their backstories were revealed, and I found myself searching the synopses and reviews of those stories for details. For this reader, that curiosity is key. It means that Linde has done her job well of offering a story that piques my interest. After reading the bonus scene for her next book, The Breaking Season, you can count me in for more of Linde’s romances.
In love and romance,