Review: Half a Step Away From Love by Olga Kuno


Genre(s): Fantasy Historical Romance

Author Website


In the scheming world of palace intrigue, Inessa Antego is in her element. Being the first lady-in-waiting to the Duke’s sister, she won’t stop at anything to please her mistress. Cancel an unwanted wedding? Easy. Show a secret lover out of the Duchess’ bedchamber? Not a problem. Steal a portrait which compromises the Duke? All you need is ask. Never mind she does it all with a little help from the palace ghosts. It’s true that ghosts’ friendship comes with strings attached, but what’s a few favors between friends?

The only problem is, Inessa has to play her scheming game against Lord Cameron Estley. Who is smart, clever and painfully handsome. Can she successfully juggle her lady’s interests and those of her own heart? Especially considering that hate is only half a step away from love?


I really enjoyed this novel. It’s a translation of a book that was written in Russian, and I think it could have definitely been a five star book if not for the awkwardness of some of the translation. There were words that weren’t quite period appropriate (though since it’s set in a slightly different fantasy world, I’m not sure that matters?) and a few spelling and grammar errors, as well as parts of phrasing that I’m not sure carried over well. I think with one more good edit this would be a truly solid work, though, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone exactly as it is.

I love the main character, Inessa. She’s sassy, sneaky, loyal, and isn’t afraid to do whatever it takes to reach her goals. She meets her match with Lord Estley, and the sparks between them are blinding. It was like they were at opposite ends of the chess board, exchanging smoldering looks and witty comments. I found myself completely embroiled in the conflicts, anxious to know what twists and turns were coming next.

This is a smart and well-written novel full of intrigue, romance, and mystery. Even those who aren’t fond of historical romance will undoubtedly find something they like within the pages of this book.

Rating: ★★★★

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