The reason I like the Farm Fresh Romance series is because of how real the characters feel to me. They are people dealing with issues and concerns I can imagine facing myself, and they don’t always have the right answers or do the right things.
Dandelions for Dinner lived up to those standards despite a rocky beginning. While I found the time jumps in the early section a distraction, the characters drew me in, and as the story unfolded, I knew I’d found my absolute favorite.
Of all the novels in the series, this one felt the most Christian in focus, an odd statement when both Brent and Allison, the main couple, were already religious and firm in that position at the beginning. What made this story my favorite is in no small part the themes of learning to accept yourself and others.
It speaks to the need for true forgiveness, forgiveness of the heart instead of grudgingly because you know you have to if you’re to live as a Christian. To me, this is more powerful than discovering faith because it’s the harder part.
It’s a powerful story about the big questions. The novel addresses the mistakes people can have in their pasts and the way they haunt the future until acceptance is reached.
Brent and Allison both have to learn and grow from their past and past mistakes rather than running from them. They both think they know everything and have their lives laid out before them in a clear path of faith.
They could not be more wrong.
From the first page, trouble is brewing that will upset the calm, collected future Allison envisions for herself. Nor is Allison in Brent’s view of the future either. Their struggles with that difference, between expectation and reality, forms only one aspect of their rocky relationship.
The other big part of what makes this novel click with me is Finnley. Allison’s nephew ends up coming to live with her on the community farm, bringing with him a ton of complicated issues. He really forces Allison to grow as a person, or more to the point, to become the person she could have been if she didn’t keep trying to protect herself from life. Life is full of bumps and bruises, but also joys. Denying the one keeps you separate from the other.
Anyway, my comments focus more on the themes because each key element piles up on another and I don’t want to spoil anything for you. I’ll say only one last thing: A lot of the story surrounds Finnley and his needs, but while I enjoyed that aspect, I especially appreciate how he is the icing on the cake rather than the foundation of the love growing between Brent and Allison. Their attraction starts before his arrival and continues to develop on its own. Too often kids and responsibility end up a substitute for a true connection. That’s not the case here.