by Helena Hunting
Publication: September 1, 2022
Series: Lies, Hearts, and Truths #2
Bitter Sweet Heart is the latest from Helena Hunting. Although I’m a fan, I originally wasn’t going to read the novel because I am not very comfortable with the teacher-student relationship trope. After reading Little Lies and then the first chapter of Bitter Sweet Heart, I couldn’t help but look forward to Maverick’s story.
Maverick is a serial monogamist and doesn’t date anyone for too long until he meets Clover. They have a summer fling and go their separate ways only to meet again as student and professor. It’s entirely unexpected and uncomfortable when they try to navigate this new dynamic while continuing to feel the chemistry they have with each other.
Hunting handles this trope with care, and I appreciated her so much for it. Maverick’s maturity is emphasized, and Clover is overly conscious of how their prior relationship could be misconstrued and affect her professional life. Additionally, Hunting ensures to build an argument that it’s more than their raging hormones that have them gravitating toward each other. Her approach allowed me to move past my initial discomfort with the teacher-student age gap romance and enjoy it the way I wanted to, a love story between two individuals with undeniable chemistry.
Normally, Hunting’s books fly by quickly but Bitter Sweet Heart‘s first half felt a bit torturous–I couldn’t seem to hit the 50% mark. However, the content felt the opposite. There was a lot packed into the story, but it never felt like fodder. Bitter Sweet Heart dealt with tough topics that were integral to Maverick and Clover’s relationship and their growth as a couple. I enjoyed the book immensely and would have given it 4 stars had it not been for the pacing.