Plum Upside Down, by Valerie Comer (GreenWords Media, 2015)
Chelsea Riehl is fairly new to the farm that her sister Sierra and friends founded. The farm community offer courses and event hosting and Chelsea thought her event planning skills would be her contribution to the mix, but so far she’s spent most of her time peeling plums, processing tomatoes, and cutting up beef.
Everyone else who lives on the farm is married or engaged, except Chelsea… and Keanan, the hippie-style guy with the guitar. Neither one of them is looking for a relationship – especially not with the other.
Chelsea and Keanan are polar opposites – and they start out with an instant dislike for one another. I found that a little irritating at first, but they quickly discover a budding attraction and I just as quickly developed a fondness for them both. Keanan’s faith is so deep that it stirs a longing in Chelsea’s spirit and causes her to struggle with comparisons and a sense of unworthiness.
This is book 5 in the Farm Fresh Romance series, where each novel features different characters from the expanding Green Acres farm community. I’m not really a fan of romance as the main plot thread, but what I like about this series is that along with engaging characters and the romance thread, there’s also a faith thread and the chance to vicariously live life on a self-sustaining farm.
Most, if not all, books in the Farm Fresh series include a recipe (this time it’s Plum Upside Down Cake). New for this story, the author has created a playlist of Keanan’s songs, and a list of the Bible verses that he shared with Chelsea.
Don’t let that last item scare you. This isn’t a preachy novel. Chelsea’s biggest issue is that she doesn’t dare believe that God really loves her personally. Naturally, as she opens up to her friends about this, the conversation will be about faith, but it’s clearly Chelsea’s need and not an author-driven agenda (although I’m sure the author agrees!)
Valerie Comer is a prolific Canadian author of Christian romance (plus one clean mainstream fantasy novel). As well as the Farm Fresh series of novels, she writes the Riverbend Romance novellas. For more about the author and her books, visit valeriecomer.com.
[Review copy from my personal library.]