Friday, October 25, 2013
Raspberries and Vinegar by Valerie Comer
Josephine Shaw: complex, yet singleminded. A tiny woman with big ideas and, some would say, a mouth to match. But what does she really know about sustainable living as it relates to the real world? After all, she and her two friends are new to farming.
Zachary Nemesek is back only until his dad recovers enough to work his own land again. When Zach discovers three helpless females have taken up residence at the old farm next door, he expects trouble. But a mouse invasion proves Jo has everything under control. Is there anything she can't handle? And surely there's something sweet beneath all that tart.
Josephine Shaw, a young nutritionist, and her two friends have embarked on their dream of setting up a sustainable lifestyle farm in a country town, but it will be a long process. The mouse plague in their temporary portable trailer home is just the start.
Jo is so passionate about treading lightly on the planet that she tends to do just the opposite with people, coming across as overbearing and pushy in her zeal to convince others to live as healthily and thoughtfully as she does.
Zach Nemesek is the next door neighbours' handsome son. He's a fully qualified vet anxious to secure himself a city job, yet he's helping his parents out with the running of their farm until his dad is back on his feet from a long illness. Zach appreciates the convenience of the occasional take-away meal and junk food.
I really liked the romance. Zach is a lovely fellow and I looked forward to the parts from his point of view. It might be easy to wonder whether he could find himself a more easygoing match than Jo, but he'd find it hard to discover somebody who would adore him as much as she does. She keeps trying to convince herself that she has no future with him, yet I almost wanted to start counting the number of times she sees him passing the time of day with other women, jumps to the wrong conclusion and storms off, devastated. Gotta love her.
Along with the lightheartedness and humour in this book are some tear-jerking moments of touching sadness. The ethical considerations the story raises are thought-provoking too.
I'd been looking forward to getting stuck into this book, as I enjoy novels with 'foody' themes. They add a good dimension. Although this one didn't end up with the huge town feast they were planning, I'm hoping it will take place in one of the sequels, which I expect will be about Claire and Sierra and their romances. I love Valerie Comer's warm, easy and humorous style of writing, so I'll grab those for sure.
Meanwhile, I'll definitely try the raspberry vinegar recipe.
Raspberries and Vinegar (A Farm Fresh Romance) available from Amazon