Olivia is a young attorney with an ambitious, long-term boyfriend. Bridgette (Bridge) is the founder of Dirty Hands Farm, a place intended to help ex-cons like herself transition back into society. After Olivia and her boyfriend trek to the farm to select a Christmas tree, Olivia leaves with ruined suede boots and a curious interest in Bridge.
As Christmas turns to spring, Olivia finds herself drawn back to the farm, and the trip is repeated with each passing season. As a tender shoot puts down roots and eventually bears fruit, Tis the Season follows the tentative growth of a relationship between Olivia and Bridge. Along the way, the reader is treated to scenes of flower pressing, strawberry picking, and general fall awesomeness until the story makes its way back to Christmas once again.
Bridge is competent, kind, well liked, and self-aware. Although she is generally world-wise, a rough childhood followed by years spent in prison and building up the farm has left her with little romantic experience. Dreamer includes a couple of touching scenes featuring farm employees that deftly build our affection for Bridge by allowing us to see her through their eyes.
Olivia is younger than Bridge, and several hurdles stand between these two and their happy ending. Not only is Bridge a woman, but she’s also an ex-con. There’s also the matter of Olivia’s boyfriend Derick and a surprise proposal. Olivia gamely takes on each challenge, driven by an undeniable pull towards Bridge.
The Writing Style
While Tis the Season is only novella length, it features a slow burn romance. As one might expect, Olivia takes time to come to terms with a previously unknown aspect of her sexuality. The story doesn’t feel rushed because it focuses on the delicious, getting to know you phase of their relationship. There are no explicit scenes.
This is my second Dreamer book, and I’ve added him to my list of dependably good authors. His writing is unobtrusive with welcome moments of humor. Tis the Season checks plenty of the “romance trope” boxes, but it doesn’t feel too formulaic.
My Favourite Parts
Two things stuck with me long after I finished this novella. The first was the clever premise of having our mains meet at the farm over the course of a year. I could almost smell the summer strawberries and hear the delight of a fall festival. The second memory includes coffee, scones, the back of a pickup truck, and a meteor shower. If that doesn’t set the scene for the best first date ever, then I don’t know what does!
Buy this book if you celebrate the turn of every season and love a good slow burn romance.
Excerpt from Tis the Season: A Farm to Table Christmas Novella by L Dreamer
“Do I smell blueberry scones?” Olivia asked as she popped her head back around. The move brought their heads very close and Bridge felt her cheeks warm.
“Yes, you do. Good nose.”
“They’re still warm. Bridge, did you bake these?” Olivia asked, eyes wide with surprise and delight.
“I did,” Bridge answered, trying not to preen too hard.
“Oh my goodness. You’re my new favorite person.” Olivia gushed as she pulled the container into her lap.
Bridge had a hard time bringing her lips together to sip from her to-go mug as she listened to Olivia hum in pleasure as she devoured her second scone. They were only fifteen minutes into their drive.
“Bridge you should seriously think about selling these in your general store. They’re so good. Did you come up with your own recipe?” she asked after barely swallowing her last mouthful.
She knew she was probably going to have to talk about her time in prison with Olivia. She had given her permission to ask her about how she had started the farm and so she had prepared herself. The question about the recipe was as good a time as any.
“I… uh… did time with a woman who ran a bakery. She would give out the recipe to all the women who were getting out. A ‘good luck on the outside’ gift.”
Bridge hazarded a look at Olivia who took a sip of her coffee. She waited for a follow up question, but there didn’t seem to be any.
“Anyway, I make them every once in a while. And I have been asked to make them for the store. Maybe I will now,” she said as she looked over and gave Olivia a quick smile.
“I think you should,” Olivia said and then after a few seconds of silence, “Is the baker still in prison?”
“Yes, she’s a lifer. She poisoned two of her three husbands to death.”
Bridge winced. Olivia stopped mid-chew and the hand holding the scone dropped comically fast. It was all Bridge could do not to laugh. “Don’t worry. No poison in these. Besides, you saw me eat one,” Bridge said around a thoroughly amused grin.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9798567364772
Publisher: Indie author
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Note: I received a free review copy of Tis the Season: A Farm to Table Christmas Novella by L Dreamer. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site