Benjamin Monroe is pretty sure how his life will play out. He’ll continue teaching chemistry in his small college, and spend his free time biking through the valley. Eventually, he’ll retire to putter around in his garden and greenhouse.
His colleague, Virginia Clark, is not one for routines. She’s chatty, spontaneous, and bubbly, and before Benjamin realizes what happened, she’s talked him into collaborating on a research project—studying the mating habits of college students. Virginia knows her desire to work with Benjamin is motivated by more than the potential prize money . . . and hopes he might not be quite as indifferent as he seems to be.
Ketch Kincaid, one of Benjamin’s star students, returned to college after serving in the army. He needs something to get his mind off his recent breakup and collecting research data might do it. And there’s another distraction on the horizon—a woman who looks like she, too, knows about heartache.
Soon enough, their project, “The Chemistry of Mating,” is gaining notoriety. Friends, neighbors . . . the whole town has become involved. But no matter what the data determines, one conclusion seems inescapable: love follows its own rules . . .
Let me just preface this review with a quick disclaimer: this isn’t my typical read. As such, I might miss out on subtle genre tropes or elements, or maybe even story beats. After all, this is the third book in this series. And while they can absolutely be read as stand-alones (I just did it and I guarantee you won’t be lost if that’s what you do!) I might miss some of the world-building and Easter eggs that readers of the whole series, the romance genre, or fans of Jodi Thomas might pick up on.
But that didn’t stop me from reading this book because 1) Jodi gave it to me and it’s not even available until October 26, 2021, 2) she was the loveliest booth neighbor at the Lubbock Book Festival, 3) she bought an indie-published Dungeons & Dragons adventure guide from my boyfriend, 4) she might be the nicest lady alive.
If you take nothing else away from this review, take those 4 pieces. And if, for some unholy reason, you can’t take all 4 of them, then for the love of all that is good in this world, hold tight to #3.
Because yes, that did happen. And now all I can think about is Jodi Thomas playing Dungeons & Dragons.
And guys, I think she might be phenomenal at it. If she ever decides to DM, I call dibs on playing in her first campaign.
Good? Ok, preface over.
While this isn’t what I usually go for in a story, I have to say, I did enjoy it. Sure, I missed the magic and the monsters of your typical YA fantasy, but this was solid story-telling. I especially loved how interwoven it was, with 3 sets of couples living in the same space (that would be Honey Creek). They’re interacting with each other, their story-lines woven beautifully into the tapestry that is this novel. And as a West Texan, born and raised, I’ve got to say that I loved seeing the meandering country charm alive and well in this book.
Even though I haven’t read much by her, I could tell that Jodi knows how to pen a novel. All the story beats were there. All the characters went through solid emotional arcs, ending up as better people for their troubles. The romance was Goldilocks sweet–not too sugary and not too bland–with that specific kind of Hallmark movie charm.
I mean, even I wanted to visit the house on Primrose Hill.
All in all, this was a solid foray into the romance genre for me. And I’ve definitely become a fan of Jodi Thomas (seriously, my dudes, she is the most delightful human being ever). Though I’m thinking I might skip into her historical romances next, to check out them cowboys. Overall, 5 out of 5 stars!