Review: Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai


Title: Hate to Want You (Forbidden Hearts #1)
Author: Alisha Rai
Genre/Themes: Contemporary romance, Depression
Release Date: 25 July 2017

Author links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads
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My Rating: 4.5 Stars


One night. No one will know.

That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts-and the last names that made them enemies.

Until the night she didn’t show up.

Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want…so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?

Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence–and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families.

Being together might be against all the rules…but being apart is impossible.


This is my first book by Alisha Rai and I absolutely loved it. It had everything I enjoy in contemporary romance - interesting, complex characters, a captivating love story, passionate scenes of intimacy, tightly woven plot and very fitting and real HFN.

I love romances with strong heroines and Livvy is definitely one of them though she didn't see herself like that. Just the opposite, she though of herself as weak because she let a man break her heart and still she loved him and couldn't stay away from him. She thought she was weak because she had depression and some serious episodes brought her to the edge. But she was a fighter, strong and determined, and everyone knew it, all the people who loved and cared for her saw her strength and beauty and free artistic spirit and the author made it so that the reader saw it too. There was not a moment of doubt in my mind as to her strength despite her own doubts and misgivings, despite seeing her lose herself in her fears and insecurities. She always got up again (it was not always easy and she needed help and got it), she fought for herself (though she carried her shame in her all the time), fought to build a life for herself and to find a path to happiness.

She had her heart broken and her life torn apart and she came back to reclaim it all, her life, her family, even her love (though it was much more complex then just winning Nico back). She was a force of nature  though she never quite realised it herself. I found her depression and her struggles with mental issues to be presented in a very compassionate way which made it easy for me to relate to them. She was not being dramatic, just struggling with mental health issues which made her sensitive and fragile. We get to see the lying face of depression and anxiety, the build up of I-am-no-worthy, I-am-a-loser mentality and it was scary and painful and raw. We saw how she struggled with it, how she tried to have some control over it, how she fought with herself and the world to be able to live a fuller life. 

And Nico, he had issues of his own. His love for her was no weaker than hers for him - all-consuming, the center of his existence. It brought him both pleasure and pain, relief from the pressure of in his professional/family life but also tension because it appeared to be impossible.We see how the verbal abuse and emotional manipulations of his father made him who he was - someone who shut down his emotions, who compartmentalized every aspect of his life, who became obsessive with controlling himself at all cost. He also carried the sense of being responsible for everyone - he placed himself under enormous pressure all the time, never giving himself the chance to feel, to act on his feelings. Apart from that day once a year he spent in a hotel room with Livvy. It was pretty dysfunctional arrangement, hurting them both but it did take a lot of effort and even more pain to try to change it. It was all worth it.

This is powerful, emotional story, told with depth and compassion. All the characters we meet feel like real people with strengths and weakness, fighting very real battles while trying to navigate their lives. 

Highly recommended read to all fans of contemporary romance!

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Apple / Kobo / Google Play

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