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  • Writer's pictureThe Word Nerd Reviews

Headstrong (Vino & Veritas) ~ Eden Finley

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

Headstrong is the third book in the Vino & Veritas series, a collection of books written by various talented authors, based on Sarina Bowen’s True North world.

When I found out a few of my favourite authors would be contributing to this series, I eagerly applied for ARCs. Knowing the competition would be fierce, I was over the moon to find out I had been accepted for a number of titles in this series. I feel honoured to get a first look at these titles, and I’m loving every moment!

Eden Finley is one of my favourite authors and this book is an excellent example of why. She is an excellent storyteller, but it is her characters that turn an enjoyable story into an addictive page turner.

Headstrong centres around the characters of Rainn and Whit. Rainn is an employee of Vino & Veritas, first in the bookshop half, but he quickly moves into the bar section. Rainn is at a low point in his life, having had his potential hockey career unexpectedly end after serious injury. Disillusioned with anything hockey, and his life in general, he unprepared for his unlikely friendship with current college hockey star, Whit.

Whit is described as adorable a number of times in the story, and honestly, it’s the best way to describe him. He is the ultimate sunshine character, the easy-going college hockey star who has no aspirations to go professional. He just wants to enjoy his time on the ice and then move on to taking over his parent’s farm with his elder brother. He is happy with everything in his life, well almost everything, he is determined to lose his V-card!

His early attempts and fumbles to find someone to help him out with his little problem is a source of plenty of secondhand embarrassment, and more than a few laughs. It is his despair at his failed attempts that sends him into the somewhat helping hands of the straight bar tender, Rainn; of course, Whit’s seemingly unrequited crush on the man doesn’t hurt either.

An, at first, tentative friendship forms between the pair, and Whit’s continued attempts to find a partner lead Rainn to wonder at his sudden possessiveness and question if he’s really as straight as he thought.

Both Rainn and Whit are beautiful characters. I loved that once Rainn decided to follow his attraction, he didn’t really waver. Yes, he took it slowly, but that also seems like a natural response to a new situation. Once he realised that his feelings for Whit went beyond the platonic, he didn’t try to hide it. He was happy to show his attraction and affection in public. There was, essentially, no closet for Rainn, apart from a few little hiccups (which were also natural), he completely embraced his relationship with Whit.

Headstrong is the ultimate feel good story. There is no real angst. The little bit of drama that is there is quickly resolved, and let’s face it, a story all rainbows and sunshine can be a bit boring! In this case, the drama highlighted the story at certain parts and gave it depth. It was also great that the majority of the angsty issues were due to external factors and were not the result of Rainn's doubts/anxieties over his and Whit’s same sex relationship.

I can’t recommend Headstrong highly enough. It was light, very funny, and well-paced, with characters that you just can’t help but adore. Eden Finley has once again proven why she is one of my favourite authors.

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