Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison is the Christmas romantic comedy you’ve been waiting for. I know I have. Engaging and thrilling right from the start—Lovelight Farms takes two top-tier tropes (“fake dating” + “friends to lovers”) and lights them up with the best kind of profound longing.
If warmth was a holiday novel, Lovelight Farms encompasses every bit of it in the small town of Inglewild.
The novel features the best kind of characters—a darling baker/excellent friend named Layla and a grumpy “hot farmer” named Beckett, a half brother who’s actually delightful, a shy deputy, a very Italian mother, and an entire small-town with too much time on their hands and a whole lot of love in their hearts. There’s only one character throughout the novel who’s truly unlikable, and in a story like this, it works to serve both the plot and enhance the main character’s growth.
The most upsetting part of all this? The fact that Lovelight Farms is a fictional place. (Places like this exist, right? Somewhere in the world, they’ve got to. Someone, anyone tell me I could one day leave the glowering, overpopulated streets of Los Angeles to a place as cozy as this.)
As much as Lovelight Farms is a love story, it does what the best kind of romance novels do, and it effortlessly makes you fall in love with all the characters—the setting, the essence, and even the plot. And while it’s doing all this, it’s tugging on your heartstrings as you yearn for the moment when the two idiots finally get together, for real.
Borison excels at capturing the achingly profound mutual pining that’s so often the most enticing part of reading a romance novel. And even in the first-person narrative—even as we’re deep inside of Stella’s doubts and fixated on her affection, we can feel just how intensely Luka wants her as well. The shared tenderness that threads the ardent longing with their friendship is so brilliantly evocative that the moment the ruse begins, it’s impossible to put the book down. Cancel all your plans, forget everything else on your to-do list, you’re in, and you’re in deep.
And I, for one, have mad appreciation for the type of friends to lovers they are because while most of our readers will know I detest childhood friends to lovers, best friends to lovers is always the right way to go. The best kind of love stories are between friends—as best friends, at that. Isn’t that the part of love that makes it magic? Isn’t that what makes love worthwhile? Finding your person. In every way, mind, body, and soul, Stella and Luka are each other’s.
It’s also easy to appreciate that Stella’s fears are what stand between her and confessing her feelings. It’s a detail the trope sometimes tends to gloss over, and Borison weaving it into the plot makes it that much more realistic. For the actual best of friends, more than anything, holding on to the friendship takes priority. Considering the fears of abandonment Stella harbors because her father decided to leave her mother, it’s entirely understandable that she would be terrified to lose her best friend.
Borison makes you feel every ounce of Stella’s adoration for Luka because the deep-seated fears come front and center at every angle. And Luka gets it. He understands Stella to her core, and thus, carefully considering her fears of abandonment, he reassures her of his loyalty through patience and smooth affirmations. Backed by actions and fortified through physical touches, Luka’s words are so tenderly breathtaking that when he slowly chips away at Stella’s walls, the emotional resonance hits through a captivating fulfillment. (I also laughed out loud as the phrase to describe Luka’s need to touch by “chronic cuddling.”)
Lovelight Farms is masterful in writing—Borison is an undeniable wordsmith. The imagery and descriptive language used to paint both scenes and emotions are utterly compelling throughout the novel. You’ll find yourself engulfed into the best kind of Christmas town that’d put even Hallmark’s best exhibitions to shame. “There’s a special kind of magic on nights like this, a certain sort of nostalgia when the past intermingles with the present and flirts with the future” (22). There are thousands of evocative and profoundly enchanting sentences throughout the novel that are so poetic, I thank God for digital copies where I could actually highlight. But this very sentence, this is it— it’s about the emotions that are put to words through metaphors that are piercingly transformative.
“And isn’t it silly, to love the way someone’s things look like next to yours? Little bits and pieces of a life lived in parallel” (23). See, magic. Pure magic. You’ll find yourself in awe of far too many words and paragraphs—moments and emotions. Borison also brilliantly encapsulates the magic of found families, and that’s truly the best part of Lovelight Farms, the connections between each of the characters, the way everyone’s invested in this love story, the friendships, the transparency. It’s the kind of wholesome happiness that makes reading a romance novel the best kind of experience.
Fair warning, if you’re reading this review, but you’ve yet to read the novel, maybe order a pizza, find some zucchini bread and desserts too. Trust me, with the language used to describe them, you’ll find yourself craving things even if you don’t like them.
Lovelight Farms balances humor and heart impeccably while bringing to the surface the kind of angst that hits straight to the soul. I choked up quite a few times, (and especially when the novel brought past grief to the surface). There’s no part of the novel I’m not in love with. There’s no part of the novel that made me cringe or question why such a decision was made. While stories with influencers easily make me roll my eyes, I actually found myself intrigued with Evelyn St. James’ story as well. And if an author can make me care about characters or plot points I presume I’ll dislike, then the carefully nuanced components within the storytelling intermingle superbly in the kind of dance that’s pleasantly surprising.
This is just the beginning for Borison, and I’m personally already counting down the hours for Layla and Beckett’s love stories too. I wasn’t ready to leave the fictional treasure of Lovelight Farms as quickly, but I’m glad we won’t have to for a while.
In short, friends, you all know how I feel about modern-day romance novels, I’ll only recommend it if I genuinely love it, and I have a feeling Lovelight Farms will be a must-read every holiday season for me. I also need a film adaptation, and you know what, we might as well cast Ben Barnes for the role of Luka.