Sweetened With Honey (review)

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Sweetened with Honey (Farm Fresh Romance 3)Sweetened with Honey by Valerie Comer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sierra Riehl is the last of the threesome that established Green Acres still single. In Sweetened with Honey—the third in Valerie Comer’s Farm Fresh Romance Series—Gabe Rubachuk re-enters the picture. Gabe, with his wife Bethany, started Nature’s Pantry, an organic food store in the fictional Galena Landing in Book One (Raspberries and Vinegar).

Pregnant Bethany’s life came to a tragic end when she was killed in a collision with a truck on her way home from work one night. Devastated Gabe has spent the last three years in Rumania, working in an orphanage with his parents.

He appears in Chapter 1 just as Sierra is about to administer to Doreen (Bethany’s mother who has been in charge of Nature’s Pantry) a bee sting to help with her arthritis pain. His over-the-top emotional reaction to what he believes will harm her shows us how emotionally fragile he still is.

However, the weeks of his adjustment back to life in Galena Landing has him spending lots of time with the Green Acres crowd and softens him to the beautiful Sierra. For her part, she is conflicted—attracted to Gabe but also romantically involved with a local commercial beekeeper whose inflated ego and money-oriented business practices rub the Green Acres crowd the wrong way, so lots of delicious conflict there.

Again in Sweetened With Honey we experience the camaraderie of the farm—Jo and Zach (Raspberries and Vinegar), Claire and Noel (Wild Mint Tea), along with Jo and Zach’s toddler, his elderly parents, and Doreen are all around the table for communal meals on more than just special occasions.

Comer continues fleshing out in her characters and story line the principles of ecologically sustainable farming that fuel her stories, as well as the importance of a relationship with God. This book also deals with themes of forgiveness and honesty in relationships.

I found Sweetened With Honey a sweet and satisfying read. I’m delighted to discover it has made the shortlist in the Romance Category of the 2015 Word Awards. Congratulations, Valerie!

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Earth Song

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Toronto ON, area from the air

View ascending from Toronto, ON airport, June 2013

Earth Song

They call me sod
loam, dirt
clay, turf, dust.

In cahoots with rain, rocks and roots
worms and grubs
perforated by ants and moles
aquifers and oil

veined with lead, copper, gold
and hiding diamonds and coal
cables, wires and pipes

I hold your huts and your tents
your houses and barns
anchor your bridges, apartments and high-rises.

In beds below rivers
lakes and oceans
I slumber.
In the open I bask in sun’s warmth
sprout and nourish your food.

Sometimes I seizure
shudder and quake
vomit magma
belch steam and ash

or slump and ooze
tongues of brown porridge
smothering your villages and roads
in mud.

But mostly I am solid and safe
keeping you upright
with my mysterious magnetic powers.

Feed me wisely
for I ingest
without discrimination

and someday soon
you will join me.
I will reclaim you.
You will again
become mine.

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Humans have a deep and abiding relationship with earth. Our bodies consist of elements common to earth. The Genesis account of creation has God forming man from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7).

This poem ends with my tip-of-the-hat to what will happen someday to each of us—our bodies will return to the dust.* However, to clarify, I believe that the soul inside each of us lives on; even death cannot extinguish God’s “breath of life” that makes us living beings.

(*God’s words to Adam in Genesis: “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread / Till you return to the ground, / For out of it you were taken; / For dust you are, / And to dust you shall return”Genesis 3:19.)