The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O’Neal

dreamImmediately after the feel-good Good Luck Girls book I started in on this one, also some feel-good women’s fiction.  The premise is that an old woman is nearing the end of her life and wants to see her organic farm/thriving business put in good hands after she’s gone.  Those hands would not be her greedy nephews, but she is sure one of three women would be perfect.  The four women became friends years ago online and have become very close.  Each of them has a thriving blog with a huge readership.  There’s Lavender, the 80-something year old owner of Lavender Honey Farm in Oregon.  Her organic farm is important to her, as is being close to the land.  Ruby is from California, and she’s a 20something vegan chef who survived childhood cancer.  She’s just ended a long relationship and feels adrift, though she is miraculously and happily pregnant.  Valerie is a retired ballerina and wine expert.  A few years ago her husband and two of her daughters were killed in a plane crash.  She’s trying to help her surviving daughter, but they are having a tough time. And finally, there’s Ginny.  I had mixed feelings about Ginny.  On the one hand I related to her because she loves to cook and photograph and that’s what her cake blog is all about.  On the other hand I found it unrelatable that she had been profiled by Martha Stewart, was blog-famous, making a good living off of it, and….her entire town shunned her because of it. She has lived in the same small Oklahoma town her whole life, her husband is kind of a jerk, and they haven’t had sex in 12 years.  Ginny, Ruby, and Valerie all have fantastically funky vintage Airstream trailers (of course they do, there’s a lot in here that’s just too good to be true, but just go with it) and the plan is to all go to Lavender’s for a big 85th birthday party (and unbeknownst to the Lavender hopes to choose an heir.)  For Ginny this is a huge deal. She’s never gone anywhere and people in her family tell her she’s bad to leave and go on a trip. (What?!)  The solo trip is a true challenge for Ginny as she’s been so squashed her whole life.  And wouldn’t you know, along the way she meets a sexy trucker who she’s undeniably attracted to.  There’s also a sexy farm manager for Ruby.

I really liked this-Ginny’s journey, the few scattered recipes, the Airstream descriptions, and the farm. There was even a strange (and wonderful) bit of magical realism in it.  A nice weekend read.


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