Love From Scratch by Amy Hutton

Love From Scratch by Amy HuttonLove from Scratch by Amy Hutton
Published by Simon and Schuster
Published on 5 June 2024
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Performing Arts
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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RRP: $32.99
5 Stars

Opposites attract in this laugh-out-loud rom-com about a heart-throb actor, the grumpy woman who minds his beloved dog, and the cat that steals his heart.

Ethan James has a problem: he’s about to start shooting a movie and he needs someone to mind his anxious dog, Harry. This film could make or break Ethan's career, and he knows he has to give it all his attention, but Harry's new minder turns out to be more of a hindrance than a help. She's gorgeous and funny, and throws so much shade in his direction that Ethan can't think straight.

Hazel Conor has a problem: she’s just lost her job as a sous chef at the fancy beachside restaurant she uphauled her life for. And if she doesn’t get another job soon, she won’t be able to afford food—or worse, cat food, and then her grouchy cat Kevin will finally murder her in her sleep. So when she sees an ad for an easy dog minder job, she goes for it.

Hazel finds everything about Ethan annoying; he’s flashy, flirty, and a total charmer. She probably wouldn’t look at him twice if it wasn’t for her cat. Because Kevin, the cat who hates everyone, is totally smitten with Ethan James.

And with each purr, cheek rub and head bump that Kevin bestows on Ethan, Hazel begins to wonder if there’s something her cat can see that she can’t.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When I read the blurb for Love From Scratch, I instantly fell in love with the idea of this flashy, confident, golden retriever movie star hero and this ‘grumpy’, reserved, black cat heroine. And I’m so pleased that from the very opening line, I fell head over heels for Love From Scratch and loved every moment of it. I was even more delighted to realise it was set in Australia!

After starting, I realised that this novel is connected to Hutton’s debut, Sit, Stay, Love, however, you don’t need to read that to completely understand Love From Scratch. It stars one of the main characters from that book, Ethan, but introduces Hazel, a down-on-her-luck chef who has had her confidence in her profession greatly shaken and has turned to pet minding while she recovers. When she agrees to an exclusive contract to dogsit Ethan’s separation-anxiety Jack Russell terrier Harry while he films a movie, the arrangement isn’t enough for Ethan, who has basically fallen in instalove with tall, glowering Hazel, who in turn doesn’t seem at all impressed by his usual charms.

I love a golden retriever guy, so Ethan really worked for me. I wouldn’t necessarily say that Hazel was grumpy, or that this was ‘reverse grumpy/sunshine’: to me this is definitely more that Hazel is the black cat to Ethan’s golden retriever, and while he’s used to dazzling people with his good looks, Hazel’s ‘type’ is actually the complete opposite, which was really interesting to read about. I actually wondered if maybe Hazel was demisexual, since she really wasn’t attracted to him at first (although she could see the appeal to others). I really enjoyed watching Hazel fall for Ethan, and overcome her prejudices, both about him being a celebrity and him being ‘not her type’.

I also really loved Ethan’s struggle as someone overcoming a dog phobia and working on a film set with three dogs. I enjoyed seeing his depths revealed, and his brutal honesty about not being the world’s greatest actor and knowing that a lot of his fame has come from his looks, however he was still a hard worker, ambitious, and knew what he wanted. He felt the weight of the entire production on his shoulders as the lead actor, and he genuinely wanted to do a good job.

There’s nothing angsty about this book. It’s an adorable fluffy read with cute pets (shout out to Hazel’s cat Kevin who loves Ethan but barely tolerates Hazel). The banter is cute, but I really liked the way Hutton wrote the growing attraction between the two leads, and how they definitely became friends first (this is part of my demisexual theory on Hazel), and how the book didn’t just end once they got together, so we got to see them navigating the start of their relationship, too. There’s also lots of food talk as Hazel falls back in love with cooking for others, so grab snacks while reading in case of hunger pangs!

Nemo
Nemo

About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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