Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
“You were never the tightrope. You were Kody’s anchor and Lavender’s shield.”
H. Hunting’s newest series, Lies, Hearts, & Truths, has an edge. Born out of her Pucked and All In series, Little Lies and Bitter Sweet Heart reveal the truth about families: they are messy and fraught. To date, Little Lies has been my favorite of the two books. After reading Bitter Sweet Heart, Maverick’s story, it still holds that claim, but BSH is beautifully wrought and a reminder that our future trajectories can change and family trauma impacts more than the person directly involved in the trauma. H. Hunting’s Bitter Sweet Heart is another example of Helena Hunting’s capacity to pivot her storytelling, finding a new space to inhabit for herself.
Here are my own truths as a romance reader uncovered after reading Hunting’s Bitter Sweet Heart:
**I love a hero who ensures consent. Honestly, it doesn’t seem romantic, but I love a hero, one such as Maverick, who checks in with his heroine. In my mind, it equates to compassion and care. The MMC can be a burly, alpha-hero and still ensure the FMC’s boundaries are being honored. In fact, it’s downright sexy to read.
**Maverick is nothing like I thought he’d be. He has spent most of his life caring for others at the expense of himself, and even in the end, he continues to do it. Yes, he’s gorgeous, but his compassion and thoughtfulness actually make him more attractive. Additionally, it doesn’t detract from his masculinity; it adds depth to his character. He is not fun-loving, although he has fun. He is an old soul in a young body.
**I think I’m a fan of reverse age-gap stories. Yes, they have shades of the forbidden, only because our minds are often turned by decades of patriarchal rule. Hunting carefully curates Maverick and Clover’s relationship, infusing him with maturity while keeping Clover youthful. Their physical relationship combines eroticism and responsibility, so it never reads wrong. There is something very right about Maverick and Clover together.
**I am the biggest fan of taking Hunting’s wildly popular Pucked and All In series, reminding readers of our favorite characters, ones who have doled out laughs and tears and familial camaraderie. When you finish a series such as Pucked and All In, you remember the humor of it, the off-the-cuff inappropriateness of Violet, and the quirkiness of the other characters. However, entering the Lies, Hearts, & Truths series, readers are met with the repercussions of trauma in the younger generation. These kids are messy, forcing you to consider that seemingly perfect worlds in romance don’t always mean the same for future generations. While Maverick is thoughtful, compassionate, and the perfect older brother who takes care of his younger siblings, it comes at a cost to himself. Hunting crafts this reality beautifully in his character, showing the ramifications of living life making others happy at the cost of his own happiness. Thankfully, Hunting creates parents who want to remedy the sins of their past. My favorite parts of Bitter Sweet Heart are Maverick’s dealings with his parents, especially his father, as he reconsiders his future. All of it reads messy and realistic, and I was engrossed in his struggle.
Bitter Sweet Heart is engaging, erotic, and emotional. It’s layered, and you lose yourself in Maverick’s struggle to live a life in his own light. The humor of the Pucked and All In series floats through his story, but BSH is meant to provoke your thinking about familial trauma and its aftermath. When you finish H. Hunting’s book, it feels like you’ve endured a journey of a thousand miles while surrounded by your favorite people.
“I love you.”
“And I love you. Every minute of every day until forever ends.”
In love and romance,