Also by this author: In the Weeds (Lovelight, #2)
Series: Lovelight #1
Published by Barnes & Noble Press on November 10, 2021
Pages: 416 •Format: E-Book •Source: Kindle Unlimited
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, she enters a contest with instafamous influencer Evelyn St. James. With the added publicity and the $100,000 cash prize, she 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 the application and said she owns Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only … there is no boyfriend.
Enter best friend Luka Peters. He just came home for some hot chocolate, and somehow got a farm and a serious girlfriend in the process.
I decided to treat myself to a Kindle Unlimited subscription for my birthday this year, and I’m so so happy that my first read using KU was Lovelight Farms, because WOW it was amazing! I was seeing it hyped up a lot on Booktube and adored the look of the cover, so decided to give it a shot despite not usually being a fan of the friends-to-lovers romance trope. B.K Borison has converted me! Not only did I love the romance, but the Christmas Tree farm setting, the small town, the quirky cast of characters…I wish I could crawl inside this book and live in it.
Lovelight Farms follows protagonist Stella, a woman in her early 30s who has forged her own path and bought a farm, determined to recreate the holiday magic that was so important to her as a young girl and make the experience accessible to all. With little to no family left since her mother’s untimely death a decade earlier, the small town community has really banded together to become her found family and cheer her own. Unbeknownst to them, however, the farm is in financial trouble, so she convinces her best friend to pose as her boyfriend/co-owner of the farm so that their fake love story can potentially help them win a social media competition that will provide much needed funds and exposure for the farm. As you can probably guess, the “fake dating” trope starts unearthing real feelings on both sides.
As I mentioned before, I’m usually not one for the “Friends to Lovers” trope as it often feels cheesy and lacks tension for me. It usually gives me the same vibe as when a heroine chooses the boring human guy in a paranormal romance over the hot supernatural character (I said what I said). Usually a total snoozefest for me. HOWEVER I was so, so invested in Stella and Luka’s fake romance. It was definitely a slow burn which helped build the tension, but there were already cues from both sides in the beginning of the book that hinted to deeper feelings. Luka was the perfect contemporary romantic interest for readers in their 30s, IMO. Attractive, with a successful career in data science and a close relationship with his mom and aunts, and not scared of showing affection to friends. I think what made the romance so good was that it was believable– sometimes they both did something that felt stupid or lacked communication but in a way that scared humans toeing that line between friends-or-more actually might. It was also hilariously heartwarming to see all of the secondary characters completely aware of what Stella and Luka had ignored for ten years. Their chemistry was really off the charts and has really set the bar for friends-to-lovers for me.
While the cover and synopsis make this novel seem like a Christmas romance, it actually isn’t that Christmassy- it’s more about the lead up to Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas and how the farm preps for it, which was interesting to read! And though it’s a romance, I also loved that it wasn’t the only focus of the book- there’s a whole plot around vandalism that’s happening on the farm that ties into their financial struggles, the town’s sentiment toward Stella, etc. There’s also a good amount of characterization given to the secondary characters (Beckett, Layla, Dane, etc) and I’m SO glad there’s two companion novels already! In my opinion, this book had a perfect balance between romance, subplots, small town shennanigans, and holidays!
Some other things I adored:
- Kittens riding around in Beckett’s shirt that are named after reindeer
- Amazing food descriptions, from Luka’s family’s Italian home cooking to Layla’s decadent sweets she sells on the farm
- Evelyn’s video montage at the end (IYKYK)
- Stella’s half brother, Charlie (he needs his own book!)
- Adorable epilogue
Overall: Run, don’t walk to this series if you love small town settings and well written romance!