Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Thanks to NetGalley and to HARLEQUIN – Carina Press for sending me an e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review!
I was a little hesitant going into House Rules by Ruby Lang after finding out it was the third novella in a series, but if there was some tie in, it didn’t change the experience.
After reading a few other stories about established couples finding their way back to each other, some feeling more genuine and realistic than others, House Rules was a breath of fresh air. It didn’t lean heavily into conflict, both characters had their own lives and their own priorities. They had to figure out how to be together, if that is what they both wanted.
Simon stumbles upon Lana while apartment shopping, feeling as he had seen a ghost, the ghost of his ex-wife, he panics until she’s there standing before him in the flesh just as stunned to see him. There’s chemistry, even if it’s understated, you can feel it. There’s also a familiarity with the characters that I have seen others attempt and fail, only telling you stories and not allowing you to feel the impact of those memories between the characters.
New York real estate being what it is, Lana finds a deal of an apartment, but needs a roommate. After trading contact info with Simon she calls him up and they reluctantly rent the place together. With the dual perspective you see each characters life apart and get a real feel for who they are and how they would fit together. Why they want to be together. There’s that familiarity and comfort that is hidden under years and layers of pain. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but for their takes you totally root for the relationship.
It’s a novella, but still a fully fleshed out story giving you a glimpse into Simon and Lana’s life. Without a doubt I’m going to be checking out the rest of Ruby Lang’s titles.