About the Book:
Popular blogger and foodie queen Lavender Wills reigns over Lavender Honey Farms, a serene slice of organic heaven nestled in Oregon wine country. Lavender is determined to keep her legacy from falling into the profit-driven hands of uncaring relatives, and she wants an heir to sustain her life’s work after she’s gone. So she invites her three closest online friends—fellow food bloggers, women of varied ages and backgrounds—out to her farm. She hopes to choose one of them to inherit it—but who?
There’s Ginny, the freckle-faced Kansas cake baker whose online writing is about to lead her out of a broken marriage and into a world of sensual delights. And Ruby, young, pregnant, devoted to the organic movement, who’s looking for roots—and the perfect recipe to heal a shattered heart. Finally, Val, smart and sophisticated, a wine enthusiast who needs a fresh start for her teenage daughter after tragedy has rocked their lives. Coming together will change the Foodie Four in ways they could never have imagined, uniting them in love and a common purpose. As they realize that life doesn't always offer a perfect recipe for happiness, they also discover that the moments worth savoring are flavored with some tears, a few surprises, and generous helping of joy.
Back in the heyday of AOL message boards we'd talk about board regulars that we'd met IRL--in real life. In those days before online photosharing when you became a member of an online community you did so under a "screen name" and other people had no idea where you were from, what you looked like or whether you were anything like your online persona. Today in the days of blogs and facebook we see each other's faces, coo over each others kids and share recipes--and just like the good old days, sometimes we meet IRL. This is the story of some bloggers who developed an online relationship who then met IRL.
One thing I really liked about the book was the varying ages of the bloggers. Lavender celebrates her 85th birthday in this book. Ginny is in her late 40's; she an empty-nester who feels emotionally abandoned by her husband, her mother and her hometown friends. Ruby is in her late 20's and is pregnant, the result of her last encounter with her now ex-boyfriend. She doesn't know what she wants to do with her life but she feels blessed to have her baby. Val is the mom of a teen; they've recently suffered a major tragedy in life. They all met via their food blogs. They are all together to celebrate Lavender's birthday and because, unknown to them, Lavender wants one of them to take over her farm. Will it be the mom and daughter who are fleeing a great tragedy? The middle-aged woman who feels smothered in her hometown? The young woman who survived cancer as a child? All four of these women are at transition points in their lives and while I didn't agree with the choices all them made, I understood the choices and rejoiced that they had the strength to make them.
Few romance novels make the men and women equal characters; most show us one of the members of the couple through the eyes of the other. While romance plays a part in this book, it is far more about the relationships between the women and what needs to happen in the women's lives at that time. Nevertheless there are men. There is Ginny's husband, and the guy she met on the road. There is Ruby's dad. There is the father of Ruby's baby, and finally, the man who has been helping Lavender run the farm.
As a blogger I enjoyed the parts where they talked about blogging, about reading comments and about wondering what to write about today.
If it is important to you, there is plenty of non-marital intimacy, though none of it is all that graphic.
Finally, the book contains several recipes that look yummy!
I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley. Grade: B+
The publisher has graciously offered my readers the opportunity to win a copy of The All You Can Dream Buffet: A Novel. To enter, leave a comment with your email address and a link to your favorite food blog. For additional chances to win, share about this giveaway on facebook, twitter, Google+, on your blog etc or even via email. Each share is worth one entry. Leave a comment letting me know you shared. Winner will be selected March 15. US mailing addresses only.