3 Sentence Summary
Under One Roof by Ali Hazelwood is a part of the STEMinist Novellas which follows Mara and Liam’s forced proximity romance, a quick and enjoyable read. The novella is the first of three about grad school friends finding love, with a satisfying conclusion to Mara and Liam’s story. It’s an ideal romance to indulge in for Valentine’s Day.
Summary Read Time: Approx 4 minutes
Actual Book Length: 112
First Published in: 2022
Below is the detailed yet quick Under One Roof summary:
Our leading lady is Mara, an enthusiastic environmental engineer whose life is thrown a curveball when her beloved mentor passes away, leaving her half of a beautiful house. The other half, however, is already occupied by Liam Harding, a lawyer who works for a major oil company. This sets the stage for a compelling dynamic – a grumpy lawyer whose work is antithetical to Mara’s deeply held environmental values.
The contrast between their personalities adds a layer of complexity to their interactions. Mara, with her bright, sunny persona, clashes with Liam’s more reserved, grumpy attitude. Their conversations are charged with tension and disagreements, primarily arising from their polar opposite careers. Yet, despite their differences, there’s an underlying thread of mutual respect that adds a subtle depth to their relationship.
As the story unfolds, the constant friction between Mara and Liam slowly transforms into an undeniable mutual attraction. The confined nature of their living situation and their continuous proximity stokes the flames of their burgeoning relationship. It makes the quick-paced evolution of their connection feel organic within the constraints of the novella.
The narrative starts with a steamy scene between Mara and Liam in the kitchen, and then takes us back six months prior to this moment. The story is basically a countdown to this scene, and then it quickly wraps up with a brief epilogue. This scene actually happens near the end of the book, and the entire narrative is set up to build up to that moment. After it reaches the peak, it falls flat as the story is practically over.
The book is relatively short and as a result, there isn’t a great deal of character development. We only get to know the bare minimum details about Mara and Liam and they come across as mere characters serving the plot. Their interactions are primarily driven by the narrative rather than their individual personalities or backgrounds.
The love scene between Mara and Liam is quite intense, but it also raises some questions about responsible behavior. In the heat of the moment, they decide to have unprotected sex. This scene is a point of contention in the book given Mara’s background as a scientist and the implications it could have for younger readers.
The story wraps up quickly after the climax, ending somewhat abruptly after that anticipated moment.
A theory exists that Hazelwood penned this novella, along with the other two in the series. It’s considered as a form of creative exercise while taking a break from her primary novel project. The concept is intriguing, and it offers a fresh perspective to approach the novella. It’s not a deep dive into the characters’ psyche, but rather a quick, vibrant snapshot of a unique romantic journey.
This approach lends a unique charm to the novella, which is distinctly Hazelwood. It’s a brief yet fulfilling exploration of love that blooms amidst clashing ideals, told in a voice that’s endearing and refreshing. The narrative doesn’t promise profound introspection, but it delivers an engaging, fast-paced romantic tale that will keep the readers hooked.