By Catherine HudsonRaspberries and Vinegar is the perfect title for a book that is as tart in conflicts as it is sweet—or perhaps I should say, sizzling—in romance.
Jo Shaw is an ecologically aware, pint-sized heroine who did not intend to fall in love when she moves with two girlfriends to start their sustainable farm, Green Acres. Zach Nemesek is the way-too-attractive neighbour who has a love of way-too-many things that go right against Jo’s ecological ideals.
Raspberries and Vinegar shows the clash of these two likeable characters and the inescapable romance that ensues. Valerie Comer has given that spark of attraction between characters that creates a page turner.
Jo is a character with many issues. At times I would get cross and want to argue with her—but then the story would accomplish that for me. In the end, I could not help but like her spunk, and be glad that Zach saw that her strengths outweighed her weaknesses. Zach experiences his own internal battles that he overcomes and I was satisfied as a reader to have all this tied up in the end.
While the book has plenty of supporting characters I never felt overwhelmed by them, rather that each helped create the setting of a small farming community where everyone knows their neighbour.
For the romance genre, I would have preferred more scenes of Jo and Zach interacting throughout the middle portion of this book, however the tension and personal motivations of both kept me turning the pages. For me, more scenes with the main characters together would have deepened the ending and increased the validity of their final decisions. However, the ending was satisfying.
There were some well-developed sub-plots in Raspberries and Vinegar and excellent foreshadowing of events. There was even that sharp intake of breath that shows you have truly been caught by surprise. The book was well edited with no major flaws to pull me out of an enjoyable story.
I’m giving this four stars and I will be reading the next in the farm fresh series—those well-woven sub plots in Raspberries and Vinegar has left my romantic heart imagining where the series will lead to next (the next book, Wild Mint Tea, will be published in March). Recommended.
Catherine Hudson writes Historical and Contemporary romance for the CBA market. She was a finalist in the 2013 MARA Fiction from the Heartland contest.