Cover Image: At First Sight

At First Sight

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

At First Sight is a powerful, charming and emotional story that has some surprises along the way. Mental helpline worker Nell meets Charlie in a cafe during a break from work. They have an instant connection and she regrets not giving him her number.  Fate steps in and they begin an unexpected friendship. It's clear there are strong feelings developing but something is holding Charlie back.  Nell, at a crossroads herself, has to be brave to step out on her own.  Hannah Sunderland weaves a story that will leave you inspired to take second chances.  

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest feedback.
Was this review helpful?
Do you believe in fate? Well an unexpected meet in a coffee shop for Nell and Charlie leads to a friendship like no other. She was in a long term relationship but keeps revisiting it, especially when feeling like sex. Whereas Charlie is alone, lost and at a crossroads in his life, with no idea which way to go. But fate for them both has its own ideas. A wonderful book into how just having an ear to talk to when your down is the most important thing in the world.
Was this review helpful?
𝗕𝗲𝗮𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗳𝘂𝗹. 𝗨𝗻𝗲𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗱. 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗳𝗲𝗹𝘁. 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗰. 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗹.⁣
Those are adjectives that describe At First Sight. It surely made me feel a lot. What an emotional roller coaster (but in a positive way)!⁣
I had no idea what to expect as I tried to avoid other reviews before reading the book. Sometimes it is just better to see what happens without any spoilers. ⁣
My original assessment of “cute and light romance story” wasn’t accurate after all. The cover promises you a lighter story than you get. However, I think this story was better than many other romance stories. At First Sight will make it to my April favourites list (and maybe even 2021 list). It just hit all the right notes.⁣
Nell and Charlie were such lovable souls. Their mutual understanding and care for each other was admirable. You can’t stop rooting for them. Other amazing characters like Charlie’s uncle and Nell’s housemate added to the story too. Not to forget poor Magnus cat. ⁣
Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend this captivating story to everyone who isn’t afraid to feel. ⁣
TW: loss of loved one, grief, mentions of suicidal thoughts⁣
Was this review helpful?
A great book, goes deeper than most with some heavy topics. It's a beautiful story and I absolutely loved the characters. You'll cry, you'll smile and you'll love every page
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy. 

This book isn’t your normal love story, 

It deals with loss, grieve and with how friendship and counselling can help you  to overcome the pain, and help find a way to happiness again.

It’s a beautifully written story, written by a very talented writer in a very sensitive way,

Highly Recommend It.
Was this review helpful?
At First Sight hits hard, and I'm not entirely sure I was expecting that. It can be hard to properly discuss mental health and things like suicide, especially in a romance, but Hannah Sunderland does so extremely well. Still, at times, I found it difficult to get through, but that is likely my fault. I don't think I was personally in the proper headspace for a book like this.
Was this review helpful?
While this story did deal with the serious topic of suicide/loss, I feel that the author did a good job making it part of the story but developed the characters beautifully so they could take us through the journey. It tugged at my heartstrings and I appreciated how well it was written. I will say it took me a bit to stick with it- I felt the beginning was a bit of a hurdle so that's why I did not rate it higher. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Nell meets Charlie for the first time in a cafe and sparks fly; however, they part without providing any contact info. They meet again in a truly once in a lifetime fashion. 

I thought I was in for a typical Rom-Com, my favorite, but this was so much more than that.

Don't let the cover fool you, it's not all light and airy. There are some deep topics covered. Some of which are uncomfortable and sad. At times they are handled with levity and sometimes with seriousness. I liked the balance between the two. It was perfect. 

This was such a REAL book. Everything wasn't easy, most things actually weren't, just like life. This book moved me so much. It also made me laugh. It even had me believing in fate and a bit of magic. 

There is a quote that really moved me: "I held my future and my past and I didn't want to let go of either of them." 

TW: Nell works for a mental health hotline so discussions of depression and suicide are covered.

Thank you Avon Books and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This got 3.5 Stars from me!

This book was literally nothing like I was expecting. The  synopsis makes it seem like a light romance but it was NOT. The book approached issues ranging from suicide to grief— so not a super light read. 

That being said I did enjoy the book, it was good and I was happy that things were resolved in the end. I understand this was a book but things seemed to resolve almost a little too nicely. The book was laugh out loud funny at times while also addressing really big topics in a way that was easier to digest. 

The characters have a chance encounter that leads to them moving on and changing their lives. Their chemistry seemed to fluctuate for me— it seemed like sometimes they were so involved in dealing with their own things that their conversations took a hit. 

Overall I enjoyed the book, the writing was good and so was the plot. I am definitely interested in reading more from the author. 

Thank you for the opportunity to review!
Was this review helpful?
At First Sight is the kind of book that can have you believing that storybook kind of romances can happen in real life. This was a wonderful, sweet, romantic read that dealt with emotional and string topics in the perfect balance. 

Charlie and Nell hit it off after meeting in a coffee shop. They by chance come into each other's lives again, as if they are made for each other. Charlie isn't ready for a relationship though and Nell has to deal with her job at a suicide hotline. Watching these two grow and find their happiness was wonderful. 

I really enjoyed Sunderland's writing and the way they smoothly mixed character development, deep topics, plot, and romance altogether. I would love to read another book from them. 

I would really recommend this to someone who wants a slightly more somber read with all of the beautifully sweet moments of a typical romance book. I really enjoyed this book. 

- 4 stars - 
Thank you to NetGalley,  Avon Books UK, and Hannah Sunderland for an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
Very Nearly Normal was in my top 5 books of last year and I was excited to read Hannah’s new book At First Sight. It definitely did not disappoint, Nell and Charlie have found a special place in my heart. 

Please be aware this book may cause some triggers as it explores grief, depression and suicidal thoughts throughout. That being said, please do not think that this book is bleak. Think of it more of an exploration of tough subjects that surround us everyday in society, those that are not often spoken about. 

On a personal level, my family were rocked by an attempted suicide almost ten years ago that has left my Uncle permanently disabled. Since this happened I have often wanted to explore the questions of why and what ifs?

Hannah writes in such a way that will leave you with both tears of sadness and joy. Nell is an absolute sweetheart who goes above and beyond to protect those she loves, unashamedly protective and selfless. When her and Charlie meet, neither could determine how much of an impact each would have on each other. A love quickly developed but both were honest enough to know they were not in a position to be in a relationship. 

Alongside the tough subject matters, Hannah allows the characters to also be fun and often humorous. Special shout out to Uncle Carrick and Ned - those guys were great father like figures. The essence of Ireland was truly captured and I enjoyed meeting Charlie’s friends and family.

There is so much to explore in this book that I don’t want to spoil anything but please pick it up! 

A beautiful story of grief and the impact of strangers.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book.  The characters snd the plot were well developed and the book was written at a good pace.  I’m looking forward to reading more from this author!
Was this review helpful?
I adored Hannah Sunderland’s debut novel Very Nearly Normal last year, so I was delighted when I was accepted for a copy of her follow-up. Emotionally charged flecked with sparks of joy, At First Sight is a beautiful unique story.

Nell works the phones at a mental health charity, where she spends her days helping people during times of great distress. On her lunch break, she gets chatting to a handsome Irish stranger called Charlie at her favourite cafe but when they don’t trade numbers, she’s pretty sure she’ll never see him again. Then a familiar Irish lilt comes through the phone at work.

Nell is compassionate, empathetic and observant -all qualities that make a fantastic therapist. She finds it very hard to let go of past pain and she seems to take on the pain of others. This actually makes her incredibly emotionally mature and she continued to amaze me as the story progressed. 

Charlie is wonderfully charming but there’s a hidden well of darkness and mystery surrounding him. When the source of it is revealed, my heart went out to him. As more of the story unraveled, I began to realise that only someone as emotionally strong as Nell could help him get through it. I began to will Charlie to realise this and to hold on tight with both hands to the friendship that he and Nell built.

Given the nature of Nell’s work, the book has a lot to say on mental health. Indeed, a lot of the plot revolves around mental health issues and the devastating effects they can have. There are some lovely wise paragraphs where Nell explicitly talks about the importance of seeking help and openly discussing our problems. I can almost hear the author behind Nell’s voice letting her readers know that it’s ok not to be ok. Wise, profound words that could easily reach someone at exactly the right time.

Death and grief are other strong themes in the book. The notion that it’s inevitable is an ever-present motif, which reminds us of the fact that our time on this Earth is limited and we actually never know when the end will come. Spending big portions of our limited time not living life to the fullest is always a waste. 

It’s also a novel about love in all its forms. It’s full of celebrations of platonic, familial and romantic love as well as the ghosts of past love that continue to haunt the characters’ present lives. When I finished the book, I was left with the thought that some love stories leave a permanent impression on our lives and because of that, they’ll always be a part of us, even when they’ve ended. If someone has been lucky enough to have experienced a love like that, it will only ever make them richer and stronger.

At First Sight is a romantic, uplifting, thoughtful and hugely heartbreaking book. It will make you laugh, cry, gasp and pretty much everything in between. You’ll probably recognise yourself in one of the characters and they may even teach you that you can overcome seemingly insurmountable things. Overall, it’s a story of unique friendship, learning to trust the process and the incredible things that humans can achieve when they discover their inner strength.
Was this review helpful?
At First Sight is a book that gives you all the feels. I laughed. I cried. I hoped. Nell's charming character faced life with bravery, enthusiasm, and strength. She had an unmatchable faith in people, and you couldn't help but adore her. Charlie's loneliness and grief was so palpable, you felt it in your own heart. At First Sight is a beautiful and emotional story of a second chance at life and love.
Was this review helpful?
This is a definite case of the blurb hiding a major part of the story when it really shouldn't. This story is about grief, mental health, suicidal ideation, and death of a spouse, elements that are not hinted at anywhere. Judging by the cover, you'd expect a typical feel-good romance. So I can imagine quite a lot of people would pick this up, only to be disappointed by the end of the second chapter.

That's not to say that this story isn't great in how it handles those heavy topics. In all honesty, the way it discusses mental health was very open and informative. But that's also where it stops for me. The characters themselves were rather dull and flat, their chemistry non-existent. Two pretty major flaws when it comes to a romance.
Was this review helpful?
Second chances, coping with grief and serendipity all make this romantic story an enjoyable read. Nell and Charlie meet by chance and feel the attraction, but as they don't know each other's contact details, they think they won't meet again, but they do. Initially, Charlie has secrets that keep them apart, but gradually he shares his pain, and they form a connection.

This story explores grief and mental health issues which gives this serendipitous love story something that resonates. An engaging read with relatable characters, contemporary issues and a little magic.

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Heart wrenching, emotional and beautiful all wrapped into one. Can surely say it made me think about a lot in my own life and it’s a good read. Dealing with grief without judgement. Loved the ending, it flew by.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and Hannah Sunderland for an advanced copy in return for my honest review. At First Sight is available to read now!

Though she loves her job at the crisis call center, Nell is starting to feel stuck in life. On a quick lunch break at her favorite café, she finds herself sitting across from a handsome man, Charlie. Failing to get his number before they departed Nell is convinced she’s lost her change. By happenstance, they find each other through the call line when he calls about a family member he is concerned about. But Charlie has a few secrets of his own and every time he and Nell get close, he disappears. 

I really enjoyed this book, especially the ending. Everything was tied up into a perfect bow, which doesn’t always happen with books. I will say I found some parts of the story to be dragged out a little more than I felt they needed to be. Overall, this was a great read but be prepared for some heavy topics – trigger warning for suicide.
Was this review helpful?
CONTENT WARNINGS: Loss, grief and mention of suicide. 

My expectations of this book was that is was going to be stereotypical romance where two people meet and fall in love 'At First Sight' but boy was I wrong. This is a story about grief and the process of coming to terms with your loss and how this process is unique to everyone who experiences it. 

Nell is such a wonderful character. Her job at a suicide prevention helpline, her caring nature, her loyalty, her wit, her humour. I just adored her so much. Charlie's character at first is slightly mysterious. There is something he is hiding from Nell and he us struggling to disclose something to her. Charlie's character development is amazing. You learn throughout as to why Charlie behaves in certain ways and my heart went out to him throughout. 

I had no idea how this story was going to pan out in the end but it did not end how I was expecting it to. The story is raw and real and I cannot stress how important I feel it is that a book has explored a mental health storyline in a realistic way. 

Thank you so much to Netgalley, Avon Books UK and Hannah Sunderland for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review!
Was this review helpful?
This book was such a good read. It was a slow burner in the sense that the story wasn't fast paced but it didn't need to be. It was tied together perfectly with the characters coming together at different stages and the story, although touching on very sensitive and serious matters, it was done with respect and very sensitively. Hannah is a great author and I love her books.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers and the author for the privilege to read this book for my honest opinion
Was this review helpful?