Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Farmer Needs A Wife, by Janet Gover


You should know that I finished The Farmer Needs A Wife over the course of exactly three days.  This is an unusually long time for me, as I have been known to finish a novel of this size in one sitting.  But you should also know it took three days because I literally savored each page. I adore how this book is written.  Sharp, witty dialogue combined with a foolproof romantic premise kept me engaged and interested. The book is really four stories told within one - another plus because I love a bargain - even in a contemporary romance.

The Farmer Needs A Wife is a clever title to go along with a clever plot. The story begins in Sydney, Australia and centers around the very modern, very accomplished Helen Woodley.  Not only is Helen the editor of Australian Life magazine, she is also touted as its savior as it is her responsibility to come up with a scheme to increase the publication's readership. It's going to take a miracle so Helen decides to shake things up by soliciting requests from single male farmers and ranchers from all over Australia. The one caveat - they must be in want of a wife.  Her plan is to have the magazine's editorial staff forward the responses back to the chosen participants, follow the individual stories, and entice the entire country to watch as love blooms throughout the Australian countryside. The idea is a good one and Helen and her staff are overwhelmed with letters from eager bachelors and the seemingly endless requests for introductions from their potential future wives.

From here, we follow the stories of four farmers.  There is Peter, whose tragic experience with love leaves him reluctant to begin any new relationship. His entry was submitted under pretense and when he finds out exactly why lovely Donna Boyd has come to live on his remote station in the Australian Outback, things get considerably hotter.

Greg is a farmer by necessity, not by choice.  He selects Jasi from his huge stack of responses because she seems to be all that he could ever hope for - at least on paper. But when his creative passion is enthusiastically embraced by a completely different source, he seriously questions his original plan.

Leigh is a woman who owns her own vineyard and is perhaps my favorite farmer.  She has also been hurt by love, but is willing to face her fears with a "what the heck" attitude as she sends in her submission to the magazine. Leigh eventually discovers that she need look no further than her own neighborhood to find love.

Lastly, there is Matt Redmond, a horse breeder and trainer.  Matt's teenage daughter thinks her dad has been alone long enough and "his" submission is a surprise to him as he receives a personal rejection letter from the editor of the magazine.  Helen and Matt appear to be complete opposites, but could Matt's laid-back way of life be exactly the kind of challenge Helen needs?

The novel weaves its way in and out of the main characters' lives, introducing us to the farmers' potential love interests in turn and then spiraling us through the blossoming relationships in the same manner. Ms. Gover switches gears effortlessly as she  moves the reader to a different story within the story at always just the right moment. But all roads lead back and at the end of the book, I was one satisfied customer.

The book is fun, romantic and hopeful. Congratulations to the very talented author and thank you, Little Black Dress for yet another winner.

(The author was kind enough to let me know that The Farmer Needs A Wife is available online at www.thebookdepository.com with free shipping worldwide.  It is also available from Amazon Canada, but strangely not Amazon US.)

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