Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
First to Fall is the debut novel from Laney Hatcher. A Regency romance, First to Fall is a charming story about two life-long friends who decide to pretend to become engaged as a protection for their futures. With a style that engages her readers easily, Hatcher enchants you with Augie and Emery’s journey into love. For many readers in romancelandia, the friends to lovers trope is a hard pill to swallow. It’s difficult to understand how two people who spend so much time together can move from an undying friendship to undying love. However, Hatcher writes it so well with a heroine who has moxie for days. She’s the partner in their duo who pushes the always buttoned-up Augie to his breaking point. She is the yin to his yang. And she’s clueless. Augie pines for Emery for almost their entire friendship, but, being the ever stalwart gentleman, he hides it for a couple of reasons. Those reasons are the ties that bind this story together. They are the means by which Hatcher makes her story believable.
The true highlight for me of First to Fall is Augie. His character is equal parts adoring best friend and broken hero. His manner with Emery throughout the story is its heart. As a reader, you find yourself yelling at the story, urging him to declare his feelings, but that’s the anticipation that Hatcher wrings out of her romance. Obviously, she must partner him with a ferociously determined, but somewhat clueless Emery. While Augie knows his true feelings, the other piece of Hatcher’s building tension is Emery’s sightless understanding of her interest in Augie. However, she is always protective of him, even when he believes he isn’t worthy of it. Together, Augie and Emery’s progression is a tussle of emotions that eventually find their grand finale at the perfect moment.
Overall, I enjoyed First to Fall. This isn’t a book of fireworks. There is Regency romance spiciness to be found here as Augie and Emery examine their attraction, but their journey is steady with a tinge of tension to keep you engaged. With her easy style and her uncomplicated storytelling, I am most definitely interested in more from Laney Hatcher.
In love and romance,