Chelsea Lambert is an unhappy receptionist, working for Honey, a glitzy dating website that she thinks is more than a bit sleazy. But she’s got bills to pay, especially if she wants to avoid her manipulative aunt’s clutches. She didn’t plan on spilling her views on Honey to the handsome stranger who rescued her from being late for work – and she certainly didn’t plan on him being the gold-plated sleazebag she was mocking – yet here she was, ready for the earth to swallow her up.As Sweet As Honey Synopsis
Neil O’Connell, a Californian businessman, thought New Zealand would be an idyllic escape. The perfect place to get some space, avoid his past and definitely to avoid complicated attachments. When he is the unwitting target of Chelsea’s vitriolic diatribe, he unexpectedly finds himself having complicated feelings, the exact kind he needs to avoid.
When Chelsea’s aunt puts pressure on her to find a rich husband for her cousin, Chelsea sees an opportunity. She proposes a deal to Neil: three dates with her glamorous cousin, who is the perfect match for him. And three date with her. Three dates to show she can’t be dazzled with dollars. Three dates to prove they don’t belong together.
It’s just three dates. What could go wrong?
As Sweet As Honey is the perfect name for this novel, as it is exactly that sweet. I know that I go into every cis-het romance with my cringe face ready to activate asap. It was not needed in this. The cast is all well rounded and balanced. I was surprised with some queer representation that was actually pretty well written.
Let’s talk about our leads. Chelsea is a quirky, colourful artist in a world of black and white corporate chic, which is about the most New Zealand thing I have ever read. Yet she is also very capable and smart. Neil is a powerful businessman who is used to buying what he wants, except for women. One of the things I like the most about this was that Neil was respectful, he doesn’t push things when Chelsea says no, he doesn’t “know better than her”.
“He was sorry he’d never get to know her, never get to explain himself, but ultimately, she didn’t owe him anything. Not time, not a chance to explain.”Quote from Neil early in the book.
There is a nice semi mystery to this and a nasty villain which I was surprised to find rather thrilling and interesting. I was especially pleased to see how the things with the villain ended and how realistic it all felt. The author’s love of Auckland also clearly shines.
One thing to note was this book isn’t “steamy” or “raunchy” there is not one sex scene in it. I personally really enjoyed this as it makes the book much more accessible to me as a trans woman. I could easily have seen myself as Chelsea. It also did not detract from this book at all.
This is totally a modern romance with obvious feminist roots and written through this lens. Probably one of my favourite cis-het romances I have ever read.
I give As Sweet As Honey 4 out of 5 Stars.
As Sweet As Honey by Anna Klein is out TODAY 18th of July 2019 by Bonnetpunk publications. You can get a copy on Amazon.
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A Review Copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.