#aww2019 · 2019 Reviews · Australian · contemporary fiction · new release · romance

Release Day Book Review: Illegal Love by Leanne Lovegrove

Title: Illegal Loveillegal love small

Author: Leanne Lovegrove

Published: May 10th 2019

Publisher: Leanne Lovegrove

Pages: 245

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 4 stars

Kate and Nick should never have fallen in love.

Three years ago, Kate Penrose lost her husband in a tragic accident on their honeymoon. Now, she’s trying to piece her life back together, focus on her career as a teacher and avoid any future heartbreak.

Nick Harding is a successful criminal defence lawyer. He’s invincible, that is, until he can’t acquit the leader of the Warlocks motorcycle gang on violent offences. The gang aren’t happy. Nick is no longer bulletproof as the Warlocks seek revenge. Above all else, Nick must keep his thirteen-year-old daughter safe.

As Kate and Nick fall for each other, the gang’s escalating threats place their lives in danger. 

Kate has to decide if loving Nick is worth the risk. 


Illegal Love is the second novel from Leanne Lovegrove, lawyer, wife, mother and romance novelist. Illegal Love is a great all rounder. My appreciation for this title was immediate. From the very first page, I became completely involved in the Kate and Nick’s risky pathway to love. I only intended on reading a couple of chapters of Illegal Love when I first picked it up, but before long it carried me away and I enjoyed the escape it offered me for a whole afternoon!

The leads of Illegal Love, Kate Penrose and Nick Harding form this new novel from Leanne Lovegrove. Kate is a young woman who is still nursing the shock loss of her husband, in a tragic accident, which sadly happened on their honeymoon. It has been a hard road to recovery, but she now has her life back on track, with the help of her job as a teacher to keep her busy. The hero of this new tale from Leanne Lovegrove is Nick Harding. Nick has carved out a career as a criminal defence lawyer and he has enjoyed success, but a case involving a motorcycle gang leader challenges Nick like never before. Nick must watch his back, as the motorcycle gang are deeply unhappy and want justice served. Nick is worried not only about his life, but that of his teenage daughter Evie. When Nick and Kate connect through Evie’s school, which is also Kate’s workplace, sparks soon fly. However, this budding romance is soon under threat from a dangerous source, who is determined to seek revenge.

Illegal Love is an excellent example of an opposites attract romance novel, with a strong suspense thread that runs right through the novel. It is also a fine contemporary life lit style read, with a focus on the recovery of a young woman trying to overcome intense and tragic loss. Illegal Love has an addictive quality to it and I found this one hard pressed to put down.

A number of areas in this novel worked for me. Firstly, I loved the presentation of the characters that populate Illegal Love. The main female protagonist of the tale, Kate Penrose, is a character I developed an immediate connection to. I was able to feel a great deal of empathy for Kate. We learn that Kate is still coming to terms with the tragic death of her husband, on their honeymoon. This broke my heart into pieces. What an ordeal for this young woman. But Kate is slowly making inroads. She is dealing with her grief and is passionate about making a difference in her career. As I share the same profession as Kate, a teacher, I was inspired by her can-do attitude. I did wonder if she took on more than she could chew, but Kate proved me wrong and she ended up succeeding! Kate’s wholesome veneer and fun disposition sat well with me. I longed for her to find love again.

Onto Leanne Lovegrove’s hero of the tale, Nick Harding.  Nick exudes all we come to love and embrace in our heroes of romantic fiction. He is gorgeous, a family man, protective, a little hard on the edges, but he has a heart of gold. I really loved his interactions with his daughter Evie. I came to enjoy the romantic sparks that were exchanged between Nick and Kate, that definitely set my heart ablaze! In Nick, we also to gain a snapshot into the life of a criminal defence lawyer. This was an interesting aspect of the novel, touched with plenty of insight and authenticity, thanks to the author’s background in the field of law.

Leanne Lovegrove has infused her book with plenty of tension and atmosphere. The characters were dealt with a number of personal and professional blows and the mood escalates thanks to Lovegrove’s writing. There were a few twists I did not see coming my way at all, but this increased my enjoyment of Illegal Love.  The conclusion was both satisfying and life affirming. Both lead characters seemed to let go of the weight that was on their shoulders, which followed them for a good part of the novel.

It is a good to see Leanne Lovegrove, an author I admire, tread the romantic suspense terrain with her new novel, Illegal Love. If you have a soft spot for good quality contemporary Australian fiction, with romantic suspense elements, Illegal Love will definitely draw plenty of appeal. I’m already looking forward to the next Leanne Lovegrove title!

Illegal Love by Leanne Lovegrove was published on May 10th 2019. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

For more information on Leanne Lovegrove, check out her website here.

*I wish to thank the author, Leanne Lovegrove, for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Illegal Love is book #62 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge


2 thoughts on “Release Day Book Review: Illegal Love by Leanne Lovegrove

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