Friday, March 21, 2014
'Wild Mint Tea' by Valerie Comer
She's rooted deep. He flies free.
Local-foods chef Claire Halford envisions turning Green Acres Farm into an event destination. Weddings prove trickier than she imagined when the first one comes with a ruggedly handsome brother-of-the-bride, who has everything but a fixed address. Oh, and faith in God.
Noel Kenzie loves the freedom his reforestation company affords him. Why worry about deep stuff like God and commitment when he's in his prime? Except there's a woman who might make it worth giving up his wings...and digging in some roots. If he dares.
This is the second in Valerie Comer's 'Farm Fresh Romance' series. Those who read 'Raspberries and Vinegar' will remember Claire as the practical and undemonstrative chef, whose dream of making a go of the self-sustained lifestyle farm is nonetheless huge. This is her story.
Wanting to earn a bit more money to put into the project, she applies for a temporary position as chef with a reforestation group. The boss, Noel Kenzie, turns out to be undeniably attractive.
The two main characters are different from each other in many ways. She values the security of home and hearth, while he is a free-spirited wanderer with a thirst for adventure. In fact, the one thing they have in common is a mutual agreement that they should keep well away from each other. It's very easy and satisfying to read.
Although Claire's aversion to traveling seems extreme, given her common sense, we understand when we read the snippets about her upbringing. It doesn't take the reader long to figure out that Noel is the right man for her. I originally liked him for his humour and patience with the other women in his life; Amber, his little sister, who still has a tendency to pout and throw tantrums, even though she's soon to be married, and Jess, his foreman, who keeps teasing him about his crush on Claire until the joke gets really old.
My favourite parts of the story may be the insights we get into the rigours of the hospitality industry. As my teenage daughter wants to follow that path, it was eye-opening. The three original girls, Jo, Claire and Sierra, decide to begin catering for weddings and functions. It's soon obvious to the reader that their dream takes lots of intelligence, forethought, dedication and meticulous detail. Perhaps these books work so well because we all appreciate it when hard work is offset by a little romance.
I'm looking forward to Sierra's story in the third book.
Thanks to the author for a free review copy.
Wild Mint Tea (A Farm Fresh Romance) available from Amazon