A sheltered dance teacher discovers how the less privileged live when she falls for a struggling college dropout trying to gain custody of his half-sisters in this opposites attract romance.
Dance and music teacher Ava Santoro has led a sheltered life, and she likes it that way. Now she’s ready for Mr. Right to come her way. He’ll be a kindred spirit, a gentle, bookish guy, and a life-long Christian. Not someone like the somewhat-reformed temporary worker in her favorite refuge this summer.
Seth Donahue is scrambling to gain permanent guardianship of his two half-sisters. Too bad he’s dropped out of college — twice — and is struggling to find flexible employment. When his new neighbor offers him a job in Bridgeview’s food forest, he’s surprised to discover he enjoys working with edible plants. He didn’t expect to meet a vivacious dancer who challenges him to choose joy over dulling the pain of his past.
When Ava discovers Seth’s background, it might be too late to guard her heart. How can Seth convince her he’s a changed man?
JOYS OF JUNIPER is the eleventh story in the Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, an off-shoot of the original Farm Fresh Romances. If you love Christian contemporary romance series that focus on engaging characters, strong communities, and deep faith — clean, wholesome, sweet, and inspirational romances — you’ve come to the right place!
I enjoyed reading Joys of Juniper (Urban Farm Fresh Romance Book 11) and visiting with the characters in the fictional riverside suburb of Bridgeview in Spokane, Washington State. The story is standalone and, since it’s a later book in the series, we meet up with many characters from earlier books. It’s always fun to catch up with couples after their happily-ever-after story closes, and see what’s happening in their lives.
Ava thinks she has it all worked out. After dating a few guys who didn’t meet her expectations, she knows what she’s looking for in her future husband. When she first meets Seth, who’s a waiter at her cousin’s wedding, she’s surprised by their mutual attraction because he doesn’t seem to meet her future husband criteria.
Seth is blown away by Ava, but he believes she’s way too good for him. He has made many poor choices and doesn’t consider himself a good catch. Since he’s come to faith, he wants to finish his college degree in engineering around caring for his newly orphaned and much younger half sisters. He has nothing to offer Ava, and he needs a permanent job ASAP to keep a roof over his head.
Bridgeview is a close knit community where the long term residents look out for each other and help their neighbors who are in need. Most of Ava’s extended family live in Bridgeview, and Ava reconnects with Seth at the food forest. They both start wondering if they could have a future together until big hurdles stall their developing relationship.
The faith element in the story is strong, and the characters are challenged to forgive and seek God’s will. I highly recommend Joys of Juniper to contemporary romance readers who like fun romance stories with adorable children that deal with complex family issues.