In the Event of Love (2022)

Cover of Courtney Kae's In the Event of Love, which features a cartoon of two white women, one in a brown rimmed hat, pink coat, ripped jeans, and boots, holding a coffee cup and a smart phone. The other has long dark brown hair, a beanie, a flannel, khaki pants, and work boots, and she holds an axe. They stand in a wintery landscape over the background of Christmas trees and holiday lights.

Author: Courtney Kae

Content Warnings: Alcoholism (not depicted); cancer (not depicted)

Genre: Spicy!! Sapphic Romance

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?

Book Blurb

RATING out of 10 violets, with 1 being the least and 10 being the most pain

1/10 Hallmark movie violets.

Ten violets. One is purple, and nine are gray.

This review contains spoilers.

Debut author Courtney Kae’s In the Event of Love (2022)–the first installment of their Fern Fall series–is the feel-good, incredibly safe sapphic Christmas romance we’ve been waiting for from Hallmark and Lifetime. This, of course, means that this novel is virtually pain-free (save some parental issues that have nothing to do with Morgan and Rachel’s queer identities).

I am the biggest sucker in the world for a best friends-to-lovers story, and an even bigger sucker for ones where the euphoria of finally getting together is amplified by the years that have passed since their initial romance–and Kae delivers both in their novel! The bisexual duo Morgan Ross and Rachel Reed are reunited when an untimely high-profile scandal in Morgan’s event planning career sends her home to Fern Falls, Connecticut (a small town with a Gilmore Girls/Stars Hollow-esque vibe), for some time to gather herself and let the gossip simmer down. Upon her return home, she immediately runs into not only the Reed Family Christmas Tree Farm sign with her car but Rachel Reed herself, Morgan’s swoon-worthy lumberjack fantasy and former best friend. And from this moment on it’s fireworks.

My favorite part of Kae’s debut is their dry sarcasm and wit throughout. They masterfully embrace the embarrassment of their protagonist’s imperfection, and Morgan’s self-conscious clumsiness is so incredibly charming and familiar that it’s easy to feel very close to Morgan and her desires for love and professional success. One of my absolute favorite moments of this cozy novel is a really brilliant (and hilarious) juxtaposition that takes place fairly early on where one of Morgan’s own intimate moments with herself (during a Hallmark Christmas movie viewing!) happens just seconds before she spots her neighbor petting her cat (and I mean this literally) on her porch. You’ll see what I mean when you get there.

If you are tired of stories where the author makes it extremely difficult for the characters to finally make their long-sought-after, heard-earned relationship work, then look no further: Kae’s romance puts very few obstacles between Morgan and Rachel in this second-chance romance, and the obstacles that exist are neatly and swiftly handled so that you can continue to bask in the lovely easiness of this fiery (and I do mean fiery) sapphic romance.

As I read, I kept thinking about how much this novel felt like fan fiction, where the cozy and flowery moments were long and blissful and, frankly, seem to be the point of the whole thing rather than the plot. Selfishly, I do love these kinds of stories where the main focus is the characters and the romance and the plot falls away at times. I’m also a HUGE sucker for pining sapphics, and Kae gives us not only one but two of these. There’s nothing more poignant than finding out that Rachel refused to leave Fern Falls in hopes that Morgan would return to her and that they’d get another chance to be together.

Now for a few minor (very subjective) criticisms. Most of what I’ll say here is irrelevant because this Hallmark/Lifetime-type romance is known for being devoid of heavy-hitting situations that cause even the slightest bit of discomfort–that would defeat the purpose of the relatively “safe” romance genre, after all. If you know me or have read any other entry on this blog, you know that I am masochistic and appreciate painful and complex difficulties in every genre, so I did find myself wishing that there were more obstacles to Morgan and Rachel’s happily-ever-after (Have they changed at all in their seven-ish(?) years apart? Does this cause tension between them? What about the proposal-turned-wedding scene at the end? Are there no snafus?). I was also very bitter about the fact that Morgan’s dead mother (whom I would have loved to learn more about in terms of her impact on Morgan’s character) leaves her a large cashier’s check… how very convenient!

Even though this novel takes place around Christmas, this winter wonderland romance is still in-season! If you’re looking for an entirely pain-free (and spicy!!) sapphic Christmas romance (or perhaps something to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day!), In the Event of Love is definitely for you.


One response to “In the Event of Love (2022)”

  1. Sappy holiday TV specials could take a lesson from this. We’ve had enough of women returning to their hometown after establishing a successful career in the big city only throw it all away and fall into the arms of their hunky male former high-school sweetheart. It’s like the lyrics of Midnight Train to Georgia come to life again year after year. The solution is so obvious. More axe wielding lesbians in flannel to expand the playing field. And in that regard, this book looks like a good one! I await the made for TV movie in December.

    Liked by 1 person

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