Across the Hall – Kat Jackson

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
This was a nice easy read that I enjoyed a lot.

Caitlin is recently divorced, moved into a new condo next door to her best friend, and about to begin a new job as a substitute English teacher. The only thing she’s interested in right now is work.

Mallory is a history teacher with a reputation for being difficult and unapproachable to the rest of the faculty, but there’s something about her that draws Caitlin to her.

I’ll read a blurb to pick the books I want to review – but after that I don’t revisit them before I start the book, so for the first chapter or so I thought this book was going to go very differently than it did. I’m glad. The book I thought it was going to be would probably have been very good – but I like this narrative more!

I liked the slow burn direction the narrative takes. Whilst Mallory is depicted as cold, and oftentimes pulls away from Caitlin, prolonging the slow burn aspect, I liked that it never felt like either Caitlin or Mallory actually broke from their characters. The relationship progression felt quite natural to me – but perhaps it’s because I’m a bit of an armadillo myself!

One thing for me that I did struggle with was some of the character names. A couple of the secondary characters have names that are very similar to Mallory, and in some of the school scenes I had to slow down my reading in order to ensure I fully kept track of what was going on.

Caitlin’s ex plays a part in the storyline, and I thought Jackson did a good job of keeping this interesting, causing tensions on both sides of the relationship, and providing closure in a way that didn’t set up for any further dramatic conflict.

I also really liked Catilin’s best friend Lina. Their friendship is great and ensures you get to know Caitlin further, plus the way Jackson depicts her experiences, both in the romantic sense, and the military, added to the storyline for me. I wish we’d had a bit more closure on her storyline though.

I’ll definitely be going back to check out Jackson’s first book, and I’m looking forward to what might come next.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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