Dandelions for Dinner, by Valerie Comer (GreenWords Media, 2014)
Green Acres Farm began with three friends, all single women, who wanted to get out of the city and practice sustainable living. In Dandelions for Dinner, newcomer Allison Hart joins the growing community on the farm.
Allison is a reserved person, and she finds it a challenge living in a communal environment. Eventually she’ll have her own house and farm school, but for now she’s living with one of the other women. And all the farm decisions are made as a group.
Brent Callahan is the construction foreman for Allison’s building project. The two clash from the beginning and yet each can see hints of vulnerability beneath the other’s surface. And each one carries memories that they feel disqualify them from future relationships. Add to that Allison’s opinion of men in general, and things get even trickier.
As farm life begins to mellow Allison, she gains custody of her four-year-old nephew, Finnley. The little boy has been abused and ignored, and his only safe place is his imaginary dog, Rover. Watching Finnley blossom is a heart-warming part of the novel.
Who let his mouth go for a hike without his brain along? [Brent, wondering why he’d just said what he said; Kindle location 697]
“He’s a man. I’m a woman. I’m pretty sure God made both genders then laughed His head off.” [Jo, to Allison; Kindle location 1661]
Dandelions for Dinner is book 4 in the Farm Fresh Romance series, and it may be my favourite to date. You don’t have to have read the previous books, but you’ll learn things in this one that reveal the other stories’ endings. The characters are Christians, and their faith clearly influences their decisions. Some come from wholesome backgrounds, but others do not. Each one brings something positive to the group, and each has something to learn.
Valerie Comer is a Canadian author with a commitment to faith, food and fiction. As well as this farm-lit romance series, she writes contemporary romance novellas and has a fantasy novel, Majai’s Fury. For more about the author, visit her website: valeriecomer.com.
[Review copy from my personal library.]
This looks to be an interesting story – not over the top in wishy washy emotional stuff. Maybe one I could enjoy. ☺️
I don’t enjoy emotional stuff and angsty characters either, Lynn. This is a romance series, so there’s more emotion than I’d usually find, but the farm story keeps my interest and I like the characters. If you’d like to try the series, book 1, Raspberries and Vinegar, is free for all ebook platforms.
Thanks so much for your candid review, Janet. I’m delighted this story strikes a chord with so many readers.
Lynn, I don’t consider my writing strength to be in the wishy-washy emotional stuff! It’s one of the tools in my toolbox, but not my focus while writing. The first book in the series, Raspberries and Vinegar, is free on Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and iBooks. If you pick that up, you’ll know whether you enjoy my writing style!
Valerie, I think that’s why I enjoy your books. You bring in emotion as necessary, along with all the other aspects of a good story, but your writing style is clear and direct. Is “no-nonsense” a compliment? I can’t quite decide how to describe what I like about it. The subtle humour is definitely a key!
Thanks, Janet. I think my biggest strength is “voice” with characters right on its heels. My voice is cut for contemporary. I don’t think I could write a historical convincingly to save my life! Not that people back then didn’t have cheeky thoughts. I’m sure they did. But diction was so much more formal.
I really love writing contemporary. A lot. 🙂
I second the emotional romance-y stuff is not my style, but I like how Valerie Comer’s writing is very direct and romance is only a small part of her books. I LOVE the farm fresh series and Dandelions for Dinner does not disappoint! If you like the locavore movement, these are the books to read!
Amanda, thanks for commenting. I’ve learned some interesting things about the local food movement, bees, and farm life. I’m curious about many things, and it’s great to be able to learn organically (pun intended) from a good story. So many times writers with a message get pushy or preachy about it. Not this author — Valerie Comer knows how to let her characters speak for themselves without hiding an agenda in their words.
Thanks, Amanda and Janet! I love teaching… organically. I love putting characters on both sides of issues and letting them argue it out.