✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 5 ⭐️ Review: Penny Reid’s Folk Around and Find Out ✍🏻

Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Tropes: adversaries-to-lovers; single mom; grump/sunshine; small town romance

“You don’t have to give people things in order for them to like you. You just have to be yourself and hope their kind of weird matches your kind of weird. Like us.”

Truth: I will wait forever for a Penny Reid romance, novel, story, literary work. Period. Folk Around and Find Out, her newest offering, reminds me AGAIN how much I love her storytelling. She weaves magic. She’s thoughtful and intentional with her choices, and it pays off with books that are more than their genre or trope. Folk Around and Find Out is an ode to parenthood, namely single parents, an interrogation of the idea of first impressions, and a treatise on the capacity of a person to change when they find love in all its forms. I have 41 highlights from this story because Penny Reid writes the heck out of her books, drawing you in with her prose (although is “stupid as raisins” really a phrase?) and engaging you with the story of Hank Weller and Charlotte Mitchell, as they grow as individuals and as a couple. I’m captivated by Penny Reid, and I highly recommend ANYTHING she writes. 

Impression #1: There is nothing better than a grump who shows his softer side. Insert Hank Weller. As the owner of the Pink Pony and Beau Winston’s bestie, he’s been on the radar of many a Penny Reid fan. And she didn’t disappoint in writing his story for her readers. How do you take a grump of a strip club owner and turn him into a softie? Unassuming, messy children and a heroine who cares about his bookkeeping even when he’s been a jerk to her. I’m certain that Hank’s character journey is my favorite part of Folk Around and Find Out

Impression #2: I love how Reid plays with the idea of initial judgments and suppositions that people make about others based on the appearance of something or someone. There are misunderstandings all over this romance because, mostly, Hank makes assertions about Charlotte without having a full understanding of her situation. It causes him to make decisions that quickly shift when he faces reality. Some of my favorite parts, like laugh-out-loud moments, come when he’s confronted with his preconceived notions of things, i.e. Charlotte at a car wash, Charlotte’s kids, etc. I found myself laughing at him or sighing at his ignorance. Either way, it wrought emotions in me which is high praise for any kind of book.

Impression #3: Small towns and gossip. Reid’s interrogation of gossip in small towns as she looks at it through the lens of Hank and Charlotte’s reputations is insightful. I think, as readers, we can connect this idea to our own use of social media as unfounded or demeaning gossip is common in that medium too. Reid takes up much of her book with Hank’s want to protect Charlotte from his reputation, and honestly, it becomes the thing that ultimately humanizes him and wins the reader over. The night he takes care of Charlotte and her kids also helps, but his empathic way of protecting Charlotte from town gossip shows us his soft underbelly and connects us to him emotionally. 

Impression #4: Green Valley and its inhabitants allow me to escape. As I was reading Folk Around and Find Out, I found myself at ease, even when Hank and Charlotte’s challenges were anxiety-inducing. Penny Reid’s capacity to create a fictional space/place in her stories that allows her readers to escape is profound. She’s one of a few authors who do this brilliantly, and you want to return to this place and these people time and time again. That she’s invited other authors to craft stories and characters to connect us even more to this place is just plain brilliant. 

If you love grump/sunshine, single parent, adversaries to lovers romance, Folk Around and Find Out should be your read right now. Honestly, as much as I’ve espoused my love for Penny Reid’s Green Valley world, you don’t have to have read any of her former books to understand this one. You simply need to love the type of story where a solitary, opinionated, grump of a man finds love and redemption in the messy, sunshiney, complicated life of a woman. This book is a pure delight.

In love and romance,

Professor A


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