Review of ‘A Roll in the Hay’ by Lola Keeley
I was thoroughly impressed with Lola Keeley’s debut novel ‘The Music and the Mirror‘ which got into LezReviewBook’s list of Best Lesfic Books of 2018. I have to admit that my expectations towards this author skyrocketed after such a formidable debut but unfortunately, I didn’t like her next two books that much. To my own delight, I enjoyed ‘A Roll in the Hay’ a lot.
After a relationship breakup which left her single and jobless, veterinarian Tess Robinson moves to a small town in the Scottish countryside. When she meets local landowner Lady Susannah Karlson they don’t get off to a good start. Lady Karlson is a wealthy closeted lesbian with an infamous ice queen reputation. But when a family feud over her vast estate escalates, she finds an unexpected ally in the newcomer vet. And maybe the sudden truce between them could develop into something else…
This was a light, funny and entertaining countryside romance with the beautiful setting of rural Scotland. ‘A Roll in the Hay’ exploits well the opposites-attract and ice queen tropes with an interesting immersion into the world of the British class system. People outside the UK might be mystified by this social structure that seems to belong to Middle-Ages granting privileges to a rich cast beyond the excentric royal family. Ms. Keeley highlights these social contradictions with a big dose of self-deprecating British humour. Personally, I enjoyed this as much as the romance.
The romance part of the plot also subscribes to the lightness of the rest of the story. Tess and Susannah’s relationship is full of sharp-witted dialogues, funny banter, and even some ridiculous situations that guarantee angst-free entertainment. I didn’t particularly find their chemistry off the charts but it’s good enough for the reader to keep invested in the leads. The secondary characters are all multi-dimensional and all together make the small town realistic and with an eclectic feel. As a bonus, there is a short subplot with a mature lesbian couple.
Overall, this is a fun, entertaining and cleverly critical lesbian opposites attract romance novel. If the publisher hires a good narrator with experience in a Scottish accent, this will surely make a great audiobook. 4.5 stars.
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.