Title: Raspberries and Vinegar — A Farm Fresh Romance, #1
Author: Valerie Comer
Publisher: choose NOW publishing
I read Raspberries and Vinegar on my Kindle app before I saw it in paperback. Both formats are well done, promising a light-hearted romance with a few thorns along the way.
Josephine Shaw, known by her friends as Jo, is a spunky young woman with high ideals and dreams for sustainable living in a rural area. She sets out to accomplish her goals with the help of her friends Sierra and Claire.
When the girls try to set up temporary residence in an old house trailer and are met with challenges ranging from an infestation of mice to rotting floors, the landlord’s son stops by to assist. Zachary Nemesek is between jobs as a veterinarian and is helping his mom since his dad was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
You might think this is a recipe for romance, except that Jo is a very opinionated woman who thinks everyone should live in the healthy manner she believes in, and Zach is a stubborn young man who would rather be in the city than back on the farm. Every interaction between them, it seems, ends in battle, yet there is an attraction neither of them can deny, if they would be honest with themselves.
The various characters of this book are well formed and realistic enough to care about, which, in my opinion, is a core element of successful fiction.
The setting is lovely, focusing on the Kootenai region of northern Idaho. The backdrop becomes part of the story as the characters settle in and begin to interact with each other.
I like the way the author brought me directly into the lives of the characters, let them form a community in my mind, then spiced things up with subplots and twists in the story road.
Lots of tension, plenty of misunderstandings, a solid faith base and strong values all add to the success of this story, leaving the reader with encouraging take-aways.
The bonus is a recipe for Raspberry Vinegar and a peek at the second book in the Farm Fresh Romance series: Wild Mint Tea.