Spunky Josephine Shaw has dedicated herself to a sustainable lifestyle and is no less than fanatical about it. She and two of her friends, Sierra and Claire, recently graduated from college and purchased a tract of land in northern Idaho they affectionately call Green Acres where they are building a straw bale house and living off the land. Unpredictable, argumentative and somewhat stubborn, Josephine is bound and determined to defeat the mice infesting their mobile home and to convince the residents of their new town, Galena Landing, to eat a menu consisting of organic, locally grown food.
The friends' new neighbor, Zachary Nemesek, is jobless, and his friend, Gabe, senses he's drifting and encourages him to ask God what He wants. Zach doesn't believe he's drifting, he has a couple of employment prospects, feels God is ignoring him and that praying is like talking to a brick wall, and he doesn't see the point in it anymore. Even though he grew up in a Christian home, he and God aren't on speaking terms any longer. He sees himself as an honest man, a trustworthy man, but wonders if he can ever become a God-centered man. In recent years, he hasn't been in the habit of talking with God, and fears if he gives in, then God is going to want to meddle in every facet of his life, and he's definitely not up for that.
Dead set on city living, Zach temporarily puts his dreams aside to help his parents run their farm during his father's prolonged illness and convalescence. He doesn't like rural life or living in a dead-end town, and he can't wait to be gone from Galena Landing. He longs live and work in the city as a veterinarian where he believes life won't be so hard.
Even though Jo admires the way Zach tenderly interacts with his grandmother, an elderly woman she takes care of in her new job at the local care facility, she doesn't believe they'd ever be compatible, not with his attitude toward farming and living in a rural community. Their differences abound and are magnified in Josephine's mind as she makes comparisons between the two of them. Zach uses Styrofoam and eats greasy, calorie-laden fast food while she cooks from scratch and eats as organically as possible. She majored in holistic medicine and is all about herbs and natural remedies, while he prefers modern medicine and prepackaged meals. Will their attitudes regarding food choices, their relationship and dependence upon God, and their personal views on rural living hinder or help the romantic connection between them? She's convinced he can't stand her and is secretly trying to undermine her attempts at the nursing home to serve his grandmother good, whole food. He brings his grandmother treats of candy and fast food, while Jo is doing her utmost to make sure the residents have healthy snack choices. Polar opposites, they are attracted to each other, but she wants a man who walks with God, who values rural life and the work of God's hands. Zach has chosen to find a job in the city and live a life of convenience and comfort.
Zach thinks Josephine is a softie beneath all the bristle, but they struggle to agree on what constitutes healthy eating and the benefits of rural living. He believes she is a high-and-mighty environmentalist snob and definitely doesn't think they're a match made in heaven. He knows where he stands with her and knows he's not good enough and never will be good enough for her. He struggles with his attraction to her and wonders if she is worth everything to him. Could he stay in Galena Landing for her and give up on his own dreams? He fears he will never be good enough, never environmental enough, never green enough to live up to her standards.
At one time, Zach had experienced peace and joy in being right with God and now longs to find his way back to Him. Despite rubbing each other the wrong way on so many levels, both he and Jo come to realize putting their hopes and dreams into God's hands will cause the future to work itself out. Being right with God is what really matters, a concept neither of them has considered in a long time. God expects them to do everything within His power, not their own.
This book was really fun and entertaining to read, and I'm looking forward to the next story from Valerie's pen, Wild Mint Tea, which releases in March 2013. On her website she offers her readers a preview. Once you read it, you'll be hooked!
She blogs where food meets faith, and if you’re interested in God’s perspective on the topic, she invites you to get to know her through her website and novels.
She also owns and maintains How To Write a Story, a site teaching an overview of the fiction writing process via blog posts and a free course by email.