Author: B.K. Borison
Narrator: Pippa Jayne
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 10 minutes
Where the lovelight gleams …
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.
Lovelight Farms is the first standalone novel with connecting characters in the Lovelight series. Stella Bloom is the owner of Lovelight Farms with her business partners, Beckett Porter, and Layla Dupree (both will have their own stories in the series). To help the farm with money and publicity, Stella enters a contest hosted by influencer, Evelyn St. James. Unfortunately, Stella thought making the farm seem more romantic on the application meant she included a falsehood that she had a boyfriend. After trying and failing to get Beckett to agree, she turns to her best friend, Luka Peters, for help.
While the book features a Christmas tree farm, the story begins in the fall where Luka and Stella are discussing Thanksgiving plans and events involving her pumpkin patch. Once Luka agrees to fake-date Stella, the two of them begin to showcase their new relationship around their small town so they do not blow their cover once Evelyn arrives. The two of them continue this path for a long time as I kept waiting for Evelyn to appear, but it does not happen until a lot later than expected. The synopsis of the novel states that her visit is the driving force of the novel, so it felt very odd to have it almost minimized.
Stella’s character was both understandable and not at the same time. While I could connect to her reasons for keeping her romantic feelings for Luka hidden, I could not understand how she could brush off a lot of events at her farm. She knows that her farm is struggling, and she needs to do something about it, but she brushes a lot off as if they are meaningless. I could not understand this even a tiny bit as it would seem she would want to investigate everything to see her farm thrive. If these events were connected or not does not make a difference in the grand scheme as Stella should have been more vigilant about figuring it out.
Luka and Stella have a great connection in their friendship, but there were some elements that I wished were explored in further detail. Luka asks a lot about spending time with Stella’s family, but it seemed that he is not familiar with their traditions. It seemed weird that conversations like this happen only after they are fake dating. I also wish that there was more detail about how nothing romantic has happened in the ten years they have known each other. The two of them are close and even physically touch (not kiss, etc., but still hold, and stay close), so I wanted more as to how nothing or even a close call has not happened in ten years.
Overall, I love the concept of the story and the setting was a true standout. Stella’s denseness about everything going on around her does get a little wearing. There is being oblivious to the signs around her at times and then there is the extreme level that she seemed to be and I did not understand the reasons. I loved Luka and Stella’s friendship, but it was difficult to see this as a friends to lovers relationship compared to a friends to friends with benefits situation. They have slept in the same bed, have a very close connection, so all that changed was a sexual component. For me, I wanted a bit more to get them that extra step to lasting couple. The audiobook was a fun way to listen to this story and I love the other characters that were introduced and I cannot wait to try all of their stories next!
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and Dreamscape Media for the opportunity to read this novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**
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