1:00 AM 18th November 2023
Friends Or Lovers: Lovelight Farms By B.K.Borison
could not be more different from the last book I reviewed but as they say, a change is as good as a rest. It is a romantic comedy in which best friends become so much more – eventually, when the obvious is pointed out to them! Once started, you need to read it to the end just to discover how the inevitable actually comes about. It’s a quick, easy read, harmless fun, with the occasional hot-under-the-collar moment and some laugh aloud cameos.
Stella Bloom dreams of a magical winter wonderland at her Christmas Tree Farm, “the stuff Christmas songs are written about”. Unfortunately, business is not booming due, in part, to a hostile takeover by a family of raccoons and more worryingly, to some mysterious recurring damage which blights her plans. It appears someone is out to sabotage her future. A broken camera, a field of dead trees, smashed pumpkins just before Halloween, cannot all be the work of idle youths.
... he has just stopped by for some hot chocolate and somehow finds himself with a farm and a serious girlfriend...
In an effort to save her beloved business, Stella enters a contest which offers a $100,000 cash prize. She hopes that if she wins, the money and the publicity might just save the farm from its financial woes and turn around her fortunes. She has, however, created her own problem: to make the farm seem like a romantic destination, she lied on the entry form and said she owned Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only…there is no boyfriend and Evelyn St James, who has to come to judge the application, will expect to see one.
More than once, I found myself saying, “Just talk, will you. Be honest!”, but where’s the fun – or the plot – in that?
Enter best friend, Luka Peters, who Stella describes as being “handsome in all the ways I like best” – that’s a bit of a giveaway. They have known each other since Stella arrived in Inglewild and have shared many happy hours in each other’s company. They know each other so well. This time, he has just stopped by for some hot chocolate and somehow finds himself with a farm and a serious girlfriend in the process. All the ingredients are there – you don’t need me to point that out and it turns out fake dating his best friend might be the best Christmas present he’s ever received.
Friends to lovers and so much more, this small-town romance has the locals talking: the telephone tree is full of hot gossip after the two try a practice run in town. “At last!” Is the common cry, but Stella is too blind or too untrusting, to see what is right in front of her. There’s other “family stuff” for her to negotiate and emotional baggage which has left its mark, not least her father abandoning her mother before Stella was born and her mother dying when Stella was in her twenties. She worries anyone she loves will leave her. Having had to rely on herself for much of her life, she is scared to get too close. The banter between her and Luka is funny, tender and sincere but can be frustrating. More than once, I found myself saying, “Just talk, will you. Be honest!”, but where’s the fun – or the plot – in that?
The second strand to this narrative is the sabotage to the farm, costly to Stella but as small town as it gets, when the truth will out. Jealousy and a sense of having been cheated is what it amounts to but when facing the possibility of jail time, remorse goes a long way to healing wounds.
This novel is the first of a series and if you are drawn to Stella, Luka and the rest of the inhabitants of Inglewild who do become familiar, and you want to follow their exploits further, there’s a short extract from In the Weeds
, the sequel, at the end of the novel. Sweet and predictable, reading this novel is not a bad way to while away a few relaxing hours on a stormy day.
Lovelight Farms is published by Pan Books