Author: B.K. Borison
What I’m Talking About:
Yes, I am one of those people who watches the Hallmark “Christmas in July” marathon. Although…since the book contains sexual situations, maybe a better comparison is Lifetime’s Christmas movies. For readers like me, Borison is completely valid in releasing her loosely Christmas themed Lovelight trilogy over the course of this summer, one a month starting in June 2023. Lovelight Farms is a Christmas tree farm in rural Maryland, a few-hours drive from Manhattan. Main character Stella Bloom purchased it out of sentimentality. Some of her best childhood memories were made there when she and her single mother would visit because it was free. Stella now has plans to update and expand it to make wonderful memories for a new generation of children…except since purchasing it, she’s having a lot of unexplained problems. Costly problems.
After Stella’s mother passed away, she literally ran into Luka Peters, coming out of a hardware store while he was home visiting his family in Stella’s little town. Luka is a first-generation Italian-American with a flock of fast-talking Italian aunts joined at the hip with his mother and grandmother, forever trying to feed the world and make his life difficult. After their cute-meet, Luka makes Stella a grilled cheese sandwich to cheer her up and they become best friends forever. Over the next ten years they become inseparable in the way that only the very best friends can be, thick with inside jokes, shared memories, and an intimacy that can speak volumes just with a look.
Stella enlists Luka to be her fake boyfriend to win a contest. She needs the prize money. It’s a role he falls willingly and whole-heartedly into since he’s been in love with Stella for most of those ten years. The book, told solely from Stella’s POV, is like their relationship, a slow burn. Honestly, the gradually building anticipation of their new coupledom completely overshadows the actual storyline. Like a good Hallmark movie, none of the mild conflict actually feels stressful. In fact, when it is finally resolved, it’s almost anticlimactic. All we really care about is if Stella can overcome her fears to embrace what has always been right in front of her.
My one criticism is that I would have loved this story in a he said/she said format, alternating POV’s. Borison did give us a bonus chapter where she goes back to a significant plot point and gives us that one chapter from Luka’s POV. We also get to know Stella’s staff, Beckett and Layla, who will be featured in the next two books. Borison has plenty of characters and settings to play with. I will enjoy each one as they come!
My Rating: B+ Liked It A Lot
About the Book:
A pasture of dead trees. A hostile takeover of the Santa barn by a family of raccoons. And shipments that have mysteriously gone missing. Lovelight Farms is not the magical winter wonderland of Stella Bloom’s dreams.
In an effort to save the Christmas tree farm she’s loved since she was a kid, Stella enters a contest with Instagram-famous influencer Evelyn St. James. With the added publicity and the $100,000 cash prize, Stella might just be able to save the farm from its financial woes. There’s just one problem. To make the farm seem like a romantic destination for the holidays, she lied on her application and said she owns Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only…there is no boyfriend.
Enter best friend Luka Peters. He just stopped by for some hot chocolate and somehow got a farm and a serious girlfriend in the process. But fake dating his best friend might be the best Christmas present he’s ever received.
Release Date: June 6, 2023
Series: Lovelight #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): paperback (336 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher / NetGalley
Amazon (affiliate link)