Source: ARC, NetGalley
Also by this author: It Ends with Us
When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.
Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.
Layla got me going “WTF just happened”! I have a complicated relationship with CoHo’s books. Layla was no exception.
First, it must be noted that Hoover is a MASTER at her craft of writing. The language, the flow…it all works flawlessly. She has a way with words that have made her a best selling author and she continues that tradition with Layla. Hoover also has the best way with plot twists. Fan of Verity will enjoy Layla for sure! The story is strangely normal early on-just a sweet, head of heels in love meet cute. Hoover lets you bask in that just long enough then BAM!
Personally, I didn’t really feel this fits best in the romance category. It’s more of a paranormal/supernatural story that happens to have 2 characters in a relationship. While the events occur because of this relationship, it is not the focus. So, many romance readers won’t really see this as a romance. But, there are plenty of romantic elements-the crazy ex, the “rockstar”. However, you are getting the romance part in flashbacks.
Presently in the story, what is happening is NOT normal! I was flabbergasted. Of course, the story unfolds and you begin to recognize the paranormal aspects, but each event that happens is just one more shocking addition. Even as you learn each shocking detail, you still wait for the next bomb to drop. This story was just so unexpected. Kudos to Hoover for keeping me on my toes with a story I never expected or imagined. 100% unique; original.
- POV: 1st (leeds)
- Tears: no
- Trope: ghost, crazy ex
- Series/Standalone: standalone
- Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »no « Hide Spoiler
- HEA: View Spoiler »oddly, yes. But its weird. And I don’t know how these 2 could ever really move on. « Hide Spoiler
…then you will probably like Layla!
An interview with CoHo!
What is supposed to be a short, romantic getaway for new couple Leeds and Layla turns into an extended vacation full of bizarre occurrences. But no matter how much Layla wants to leave, Leeds is more focused on finding answers for the unexplainable.
The paranormal elements in your story are faint…just a whisper…until they take over. What was it like adding another worldly twist to your writing for the first time?
It was HARD. Super hard. I love using my imagination, but I also love realistic stories, so I found myself trying to pull back on things I didn’t feel were realistic. But then it got a lot easier when I decided to just make Leeds’s reactions sort of mirror what I would do orsay in those early moments. I put a lot of my own thoughts in Leeds’s character. He finds it hard to explain some of the things that happen, so his reactions are probably what my reactions would be at first. Until there was no room left for doubt, anyway. Then his actions veer very far from what mine would have been.
Love-at-first-sight is such a mundane phrase for what these two share. Their passionate relationship seems to move in fast-forward. What is it about these characters that make their connection so instantaneous?
I knew where the story was going to go, so I needed their meet-cute to be believable, fun, and I wanted them to be a couple readers would root for. I probably rewrote that first chapter dozens of times,but I focused mainly on their banter. Sometimes we meet people we instantly click with on so many different levels. Leeds and Layla clicked with their sarcasm, their humor, their taste in music. And she read him without even knowing him. To Leeds that was special. I think he felt seen in a world where he’s often overlooked.
It becomes somewhat of an inside joke between your couple that, before Layla, Leeds’ always wore a look like he was“dying inside.” The truth is that he was deeply unhappy before meeting Layla. How does she change his life?
Leeds is lonely and holding back on his dreams because of doubts. Leeds sees something different in Layla. She’s carefree, fun and gives him confidence to follow his dreams. In a sense, I think she’s his missing puzzle piece. She fills the parts of him that are empty.
Before Leeds, Layla doesn’t have a real direction in her life. What does this romance provide to her and why is she so grateful to have found her hero?
Layla is fresh out of college, living with her parents and unemployed. Leeds’s career gives her focus, and being with him in Tennessee got her out of a place where she probably felt useless and unproductive.
Can readers expect more paranormal elements in your books moving forward?
I’ll never say never!