I requested a copy of Courtney Kae’s In the Event of Love right away when I saw it on NetGalley, for two main reasons. One, because the cover is so cute, and two – more importantly – I almost never see queer holiday romance novels around. Plus, I feel like sapphic love stories (ie between two women) are really not celebrated and represented as much or maybe as openly as other relationships in books I see around. I was super pleased to see that Kensington Books (one of my go-to publishers for cosy Christmas romance novels) was publishing this one, even though in the end it didn’t quite hit the spot for me. Check out the synopsis of In the Event of Love below, and then read on to find out what I liked and didn’t about this one.
What is In the Event of Love about?
Morgan Ross can plan world-class events, but she didn’t plan on returning to the hometown that broke her heart seven years ago—and re-discovering the girl of her dreams . . .With her career as a Los Angeles event planner imploding after a tabloid blowup, Morgan Ross isn’t headed home for the holidays so much as in strategic retreat.
Breathtaking mountain vistas, quirky townsfolk, and charming small businesses aside, her hometown of Fern Falls is built of one heartbreak on top of another . . .Take her one-time best friend turned crush, Rachel Reed. The memory of their perfect, doomed first kiss is still fresh as new-fallen snow. Way fresher than the freezing mud Morgan ends up sprawled in on her very first day back, only to be hauled out via Rachel’s sexy new lumberjane muscles acquired from running her family tree farm.
When Morgan discovers that the Reeds’ struggling tree farm is the only thing standing between Fern Falls and corporate greed destroying the whole town’s livelihood, she decides she can put heartbreak aside to save the farm by planning her best fundraiser yet. She has all the inspiration for a spectacular event: delicious vanilla lattes, acoustic guitars under majestic pines, a cozy barn surrounded by brilliant stars.
But she and Rachel will ABSOLUTELY NOT have a heartwarming holiday happy ending. That would be as unprofessional as it is unlikely. Right?
My review of In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae
Ok, so it’s tricky to know where to start with this one, because I don’t often review things here that I don’t love. However, in this case I do want to highlight this book partly because we see so few queer holiday stories, and also because I can identify specific things that I didn’t enjoy that are about my own personal taste and preference. This is definitely not a terrible book, and I’ve been seeing lots of great reviews for it, so if you think it sounds good and you don’t mind some of these things that grate on my nerves a bit, then it might still be a good read for you.
Let’s start with some of the things I did enjoy…
- Obviously the queer rep. Many (most?) of the characters were queer, including the bisexual main characters and a trans woman of colour who was the mayor of Fern Falls. I also appreciated that this wasn’t about anyone’s coming out story – it was about queer people loving and living their lives.
- The book included some of my favourite tropes, including second chances, returning to small home town from the city, friends to enemies to lovers, found family, and a big ‘save the town’ event.
- It is set in winter and the setting has cosy snow vibes. I felt like this one was probably more Christmas-adjacent rather than specifically Christmassy, but I liked that other holiday were mentioned too.
- There’s a fun ensemble cast (I understand some of the friends and family will have their stories told in the following books in the series).
- The event that Morgan and her friends plan was sweet and fun.
- It felt sex-positive.
- The food and drink! There were so many delicious pastries and beverages mentioned that really added to the cosy vibe for me!
Now a couple of things that I didn’t love so much..
- It sounds weird to say because Morgan and Rachel were childhood friends being reunited, but their relationship felt quite ‘insta-love’ to me. I didn’t feel like there was a lot of development of feelings, and (at least from Morgan’s perspective) it seemed to be based very much on physical attraction rather than deeper feelings.
- Something felt a bit disjointed to me about the way the story unfolded. The first three quarters of the book were very lusty and focused on the building physical tension between the women, and then the last quarter felt like a different book that had the more heart warming/Hallmark-y plot points of the event and some other cheesy/sweet moments.
- The entire book is told in Morgan’s first person POV, and I think I could have used a break from her. She is quite self-involved and it felt like a lot of our time in her mind is spent rehashing an event from her past and admiring Rachel’s bottom.
- I found some of the dialogue and some of the description of the sex scenes really cringey.
- Everything felt quite superficial and surface level to me – I didn’t feel like we really got into anyone’s true feelings about the world or each other. Again, this isn’t necessarily an issue for a fun escapist read, but personally I think I would have liked a bit more. This was especially the case when the book touches on some serious issues like the loss of a parent (off the page) and alcoholism.
So there you go. Lots of mixed feelings on this one – not terrible, and yay for more diverse rep in romcoms, but also a few points that didn’t quite hit it for me.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this one, or if you think you might!
In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae.
Out now from Kensington Books.
Source: I received a free copy eCopy from Kensington Books (via NetGalley) for review (thank you!).
Category: Contemporary sapphic holiday romance fiction