Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Psssttt…I have a secret. Thus far, there have been three books released into the romancelandia wild for Vino & Veritas in the World of True North. And of the three newest books, my favorite to date is Eden Finley’s Headstrong. There are a couple of reasons for my love of this book. For one, I am a sucker for a grumpy hero, one who lives with a little cloud above his head. And I’m also a sucker for a sunshiny hero who brightens the life of the grumpy hero. What happens is…as the seriousness of the story progresses, the sunshine of one hero creates moments of hilarity and ease in contrast to the tension of their love affair. This happens over and over again in Finley’s Headstrong.
Secondly, I’m intrigued with the choices of Finley to take a “straight” hero and challenge his “straightness” as we find with Rainn, the $exy bartender of Vino & Veritas. What this does is open a discussion about attraction and $exuality. While one might roll their eyes at Finley’s suggestion that a man who identifies as gay could end up with a formerly heterosexually-identified male, it allows the reader to consider the spectrum of attraction, the idea that a person can be connected to another person regardless of one’s $exual identification. I love the slipperiness of this idea in Headstrong.
Even more, beyond discussions about $exuality, Finley highlights the challenges behind future dreams. With Whit, we see a man whose dream is being fulfilled, even though there is the potential for a different dream. With Rainn, we find a man who has lost his dream to injury, and he’s allowed himself to wallow in the loss of the dream instead of reimagining a new one. There is a message here about the need for flexibility and acceptance that feels necessary for our world. As we learn to live in a post-pandemic world, it feels right to remember that we can find new dreams even if our old dreams were derailed. Headstrong asks you to consider this.
Eden Finley’s Headstrong will steam your glasses and challenge your mind. It will make you laugh, and it might bring you to tears. But in the end, the journey of its pages will lead you to consider where you are at in your own life. Are you living your dreams or are you stuck waiting for your dreams to come to you?
In love and romance,