Milton Pryor is most definitely a stranger in a strange land. Sent to the north as part of a political marriage, Milton has left his family and everything familiar behind him for an uncertain future. His soon to be husband, Lord Raphael Ledford, does nothing to ease Milton’s fears. The man is cold and withdrawn and Milton finds himself emotionally alone in a loveless marriage.
After their fragile bond is nearly destroyed, Milton and Raphael must find a way to start again. Both carry a wealth of pain, but as they learn to accept one another, their relationship finally begins to bloom. Despite their developing romance, Milton and Raphael have enemies and they find themselves under threat from the past. If Milton and Raphael aren’t strong enough to finally trust one another, they might lose everything.
Honeythorn was a sweet romance between a scrappy Omega and an emotionally scarred Alpha. Now there’s nothing new here plot-wise and things play as you’d expect, but Milton and Raphael are strong characters and it’s their relationship that drives the book. Raphael has a fairly significant trauma in his past and it has nearly catastrophic effects on his bond with Milton. I appreciated that Milton was understanding, but didn’t just carte blanche forgive Raphael either. Both of them had to work at building trust and that’s really at the core of Honeythorn.
Once the bond between Milton and Raphael is established, the Alpha/Omega portion of this book almost falls by the wayside. It felt like an odd concept to use as an initial focal point and then to abandon without ever doing much more with it. The world building here was a bit chaotic. It almost felt as though the author wasn’t quite sure what kind of universe they wanted to set Honeythorn in and there’s a mishmash of vague fantasy themes and a dash of steampunk, but nothing that ever coalesces into a truly believable world. As a result, Honeythorn just sort of exists without feeling particularly integrated into the world around it. The last niggle is the antagonist, who feels blocky and rather formulaic. His evil plan is fairly obvious and the resolution comes without much real threat implied to either of the main characters. Given how important this person is to Raphael’s past, it would have been nice to see a more developed, all around character.
Honeythorn doesn’t rush to reinvent the wheel, but instead gives its readers a sweet couple whose path to happiness is more rocky than most. There’s angst here to be sure, but it doesn’t drown out for the joy and I think fans of the Omegaverse looking for a warm romance will probably enjoy this one.