Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
“What they valued had to do with the whole, not the individual, and the truth was the only way in.”
In the space of a week, I read three different rom-coms, and it’s clear: not all rom-coms are created the same. When you read Staci Hart’s For Love Or Honey, you know that, while her hero, Grant, and her heroine, Jo, exude the funny behind a enemies-to-lovers rom com; there is a gravity to Hart’s rom-com that challenges her readers behind a light-hearted laugh.
For Love Or Honey is a story about honesty or truth. Staci Hart weaves this message through the story of Grant and Jo, playing with those ideas in ways specific to her characters. As the face of Flexion, the company keen on buying the Blum farm for its mineral rights, Grant lives a life wanting to please his father, a father incapable of loving him. In the pursuit of his father’s acceptance and love, Grant’s life is conscripted to being or doing anything to gain his father’s interest. This means that Grant lies to himself about what he truly needs. Even more, Grant lies for a living to gain control of people’s farms for Flexion. Basically, Grant’s life is one big lie…and until he comes to Lindenbach, Texas, his life is empty because it has no substance. Hart points us to his lack of authenticity.
Jo is as real as they come. She sees Grant as a challenge to her generations-old family farm, and she has taken on the mantle to run him out of town. Unfortunately, she lies to herself initially about her attraction to Grant Stone. Their chemistry is undeniable, but as the face of the enemy, she must deny it and him…until she can’t. Instead, she helps Grant recognize his authentic self as she challenges him to farm life. As he becomes more honest with himself and his needs, Jo becomes honest too. When they acknowledge their interest, Hart creates another level of dishonesty when Jo and Grant grow feelings for each other, and they deny it. When their web becomes entangled, the depth of Hart’s storytelling moves us away from the comedy aspects of her small-town romance and moves us toward something more grave and serious. This is a convention of Hart’s brand of romance.
As lighter fare on her booklist, Hart’s For Love or Honey still challenges her readers. With her newest story, she reminds us to be authentic whether it’s to our $exuality, our life choices, or our love. Through the scope of Grant and Jo’s journey, she tethers them to truth, and it feels like a response to our world right now where truth seems flexible. She highlights the consequences of living your lies and the discontent that follows. We need stories like For Love Or Honey whether it be for entertainment or inspiration. I love the world of Staci Hart’s Blums, and I cannot wait for more of their stories.
In love and romance,