Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
“Courage wasn’t being big, looking strong—it wasn’t a matter of being stronger than your opposition. You only had to be stronger than your fear.”
Since their cousin’s story, Friends with Benedicts, I have fallen deeply in love with Staci Hart’s Blum sisters. What is there to love about them? For one, Hart has granted us access to a wholly female community. Supportive, compassionate, and loving, these adjectives don’t just define their relationship with each other, but also their relationship to their small-town community. There is a power in their love for each other as it is also manifested in a love for their community.
In her newest story in this world, On The Honey Side, Hart has written a heartfelt, engaging romance about second chances in life. Daisy and Keaton, her heroine and hero, are not renewing a former relationship. No. Daisy and Keaton have faced personal losses that have led to them living sedate lives. Hart deftly illustrates how loss can be paralyzing as a protection against future hurt. When Daisy and Keaton finally acknowledge their attraction to each other, what Hart grants us is a beautiful love story, one crafted to show a couple who is fated. Daisy and Keaton’s love feels easy and right. There is freedom gained in their love for each other, and Hart impresses upon her readers a quiet and frank love through her characters. Their love eventually becomes a catalyst for change in their community, one fraught with turmoil. When their love seems lost, their immediate community, their families, come together to help bring them back together, illustrating the power of community for change.
I think this is what I love most about the Blum Sister’s stories: the way that Staci Hart is pulling from the challenges of our world and mirroring it in her small town, Lindenbach. Starting in Friends with Benedicts, the town management is shown to be problematic. Thankfully, Presley and Sebastian, with their family members, force change and protect their small town. In For Love Or Honey, there are more trials for Lindenbach. And once again, Hart empowers her heroine, Jo, along with their familial community, to impact change into their community. With On The Honey Side, we are challenged with the issue of homelessness, and Daisy and Keaton’s immediate communities come together to provide a solution. Story after story offer solutions to the challenges we find in our own world, inspiring readers to see our world through a different lens. It is important to note that Hart isn’t heavy-handed with this; instead, it’s enlightenment within the folds of a romance. Hart’s intention here makes me love these stories even more.
If you have yet to read a Staci Hart book, I suggest you start now. Her prose, her story arcs, her characterizations are some of the best in romancelandia. When you meet Daisy and Keaton in this newest story, though, you will love the ease of their coupling in contrast to the complexities of their pasts. And this is intentional. In On The Honey Side, the most tragic characters receive the most beautiful happily ever afters.
In love and romance,