Monday, March 10, 2014

(20)The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O'Neal

The All You Can Dream Buffet

Pages: 400
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: March 4, 2014

The "Foodie Four" are popular food bloggers who met through their craft, but have never met before  They have decided to gather on the Oregon farm of Lavender Wills to celebrate her 85th birthday. Getting there is not so easy for all of them, first there is Ruby, she is the youngest of the four, a vegan, and newly pregnant with a broken heart.  Next there is Valerie, her whole world was shattered a few years ago when her husband and two of her three daughters were killed in a plane crash.  The healing has been a long time coming for her and her remaining daughter, Hannah. Will their time at Lavender's farm finally give them peace?  Finally there is Ginny, the trip to Oregon will be only the second time in her life that she will leave Kansas.   No one in her home town can understand Ginny's desire to go to Oregon.  Not her friends, not her family, and especially not her husband.  But after decades of playing the obedient daughter, wife, mother and friend, Ginny is ready to live for herself.   The three "Foodies" descend upon Lavender's farm and their friendship moves from the internet to real life in a seamless transition.  Together the women help each other in ways that only family can.  They laugh, they cry and they celebrate Lavender's birthday.  But what will happen to the Foodie Four when real life comes knocking?

I absolutely adored The All You Can Dram Buffet.  So many things resonated with me.  The blogging aspect of the story, the internet friendships that are very real, the desire to do something MORE with your life.  The whole book just really spoke to my heart.  And then there is Lavender's farm, the beauty described by the author left me longing for the Midwest farms of my heart. I also liked how the author highlighted the fact that Lavender was sixty when she took over the farm.  An age when most people are looking to retire and there she is making a great success out of her organic farm, it was inspiring.   Of course the scrumptious recipes you have come to expect from Barbara O'Neal find their way into the pages of this book. 

Bottom line, The All You Can Dream Buffet is a beautiful novel about love, friendship, and reinventing oneself. The characters and their stories are all unique and as interesting as the beautiful Oregon countryside depicted in the story.  Every now and then you come across a book that really feeds your soul, The All You Can Dream Buffet really did that for me. 


Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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