If you’ve been around here much, you probably already know that I am a huge fan of Valerie Comer and especially her Farm Fresh Romance series! I started reading her books because I fell in love with the covers. I’ve never actually read a book because of its cover before these, and I didn’t even know there was such a thing as farm lit, never mind Christian farm lit! Despite all that, I loved them! I kept reading her books and then joined her book promotion team because I just love the way she writes! I find her books and characters funny and relatable and I always come away spiritually challenged and pining to move to a fictional community.
Her newest novel, Berry on Top, is no exception. I’m pretty sad that it signifies the end of the Farm Fresh Romances, but the book itself is really, really good.
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About the Book
Title: Berry on Top | Author: Valerie Comer | Publication Date: February 25, 2016 | Publisher: GreenWords Media | Pages: 299
Summary from the author: God forgave him — but can she?
Liz Nemesek’s first visit home in forever is tough enough before Mason Waterman shows up. Despite her best efforts, she’s never forgotten — or forgiven — him for the hurt he once caused.
Former bad boy Mason Waterman has returned to northern Idaho to raise his five-year-old twins. The kids are determined to find a new mommy, but Liz is the last person they should latch onto… and the last person he should find himself falling for. Again.
If Mason has really changed, can Liz re-open her heart to him… and to the God who could have prevented her decade of heartache?
Another winner from Valerie Comer and a great finish to her Farm Fresh Romances! While I really enjoyed the first three books in this series and happily gave them each 5 stars, the last three have been even better – delving much deeper into issues of faith – and, I feel that, to be fair, I need to give them 7 or 8 stars each!
In all seriousness, I love how this book delves into the nitty-gritty issues of hard forgiveness. I appreciated how it was true-to-life (rather than logical!) about how some parts of forgiving sometimes happen inexplicably quickly and you’re just “over it” while other parts are agonizingly slow and no matter how hard you try, it feels impossible to talk yourself through them. I also really appreciated how this book did not minimize the reality of the consequences that come with bad choices and how we often have to deal with those consequences for the rest of our lives but that God also often surprises us with ridiculous joy in the midst of and even because of those very consequences.
I also thought that Comer did a good job keeping the main character just likeable enough throughout the parts of the book where she was hanging on to her bitterness and unforgiveness. While there were definitely places in the book where I did not like her much, I never stopped rooting for her. I think that’s a very fine line for an author to walk and this book managed it well.
My favorite parts of this book were the community scenes. I have come to love the people who make up Green Acres and I crave the kind of community they created in this series. I especially love the children and how they have grown and how the community has changed because of them without losing any of their depth and closeness. Oh, to live in a place like Green Acres! I will miss these people in this series so much, but I also find myself really excited to meet Comer’s next crew in her upcoming series set in the city of Spokane! Being more of a city girl myself, I’m really looking forward to seeing what kind of community happens in the city-setting of this series.
Favorite Quotes from the Book
I had a lot of favorite quotes from this book, but I was actually able to narrow it down to my three favorites this time.
“You can’t stop someone from praying for you. You can’t stop God from pursuing you. Trust me, I know. He keeps at it.”
I love this quote from so many different angles. I love that God never gives up on me or those I love. I love that I can be like Him in that way and never give up on the people I love by continuing to pray for them….whether they like it or not. 🙂
“In Jesus, he was new. He wasn’t worthy. Who ever was? But he was a child of the one true King, and that counted for a lot. For everything worthwhile.”
What a great reminder for those days when we feel unworthy! We’ll never be worthy, but we are loved and accepted and adopted nonetheless!
“I’ll always love you and be proud of you. You’re a beautiful woman and smart as a whip. I only want to know you.”
And finally, I cried when the main character’s mom said this to her. It’s such a good reminder to cease my striving to measure up for people or for God. God and the people who matter already love me. They just want to know me.