Thursday, 28 January 2016

FARM FRESH by Posy Roberts: Release Day Review

Farm Fresh by Posy Roberts

 Genre: Contemporary Romance, MM Romance, Gay Fiction, with a splash of MMM+

Length:  Novel, 202 pages

Buy Links:    Amazon      Universal Amazon Link 

 This is a sex positive story about living, loving, and working hard on a sexually free commune.

The blurb:

Jude Garrity visits the farmers market every Saturday. As an environmental engineering student, he’s curious about living off the grid and sustainable agriculture. 

And one particular farmer. 

Hudson Oliva has worked hard to support his commune, where queer people live without fear of harm or retribution. When Jude asks pointed questions about living there, Hudson realizes he needs to be honest about his home. Few people know what the farm is actually about, but Jude is insistent. 

Jude moves to Kaleidoscope Gardens, however his sexual hang-ups make it hard to adjust. He’s an uptight virgin living among people who have sex freely and with multiple partners. When Jude finally loosens up, Hudson is flooded with emotions. Falling for Jude wasn’t part of Hudson’s life plan. But when vindictive rumors about the commune begin to spread, love might be all he has left

My thoughts:

I love stories that take me of the well-trodden paths and into something new and surprising. Farm Fresh certainly does that. The community at Kaleidoscope Gardens and their lifestyle are unique and beguiling. Everybody living in the commune is at ease with nudity and sexuality. While there are established couples (and triads and other combinations), sex and intimacy are freely exchanged both within those relationships and outside of them.

Poor Jude is ill prepared for the world he’s entered, and yet it may be exactly what he needs to overcome all the hang-ups his upbringing have left him with. It is a very slow process but with perseverance from Jude and patience from those who have invited him into their commune and house he slowly loosens up.

For Hudson the process happens almost the other way around. He’s been in the commune for years and appears to have found his place with Leo and Charlie. While he is attracted to Jude he is also afraid about how it will upset the balance in his life; a balance he’s fought hard to achieve after another man broke his heart five years earlier.

And so Jude and Hudson start a dance during which they seem to move apart at least as much as they pull together. Every step forward is followed by several paces backwards until the moment has arrived where someone has to put his foot down and force the issue.

There was a lot to love in this book. First and foremost there is Posy Roberts’ writing, which is smooth and gently pulls you into her world until it feels as if you too belong there. The setting of this story is fabulous. What’s not to love about a mostly self-sufficient community where people live a life filled with love and without any of the shame society so often associates with sex and nudity?

Both Hudson and Jude at times charmed and frustrated me. While I felt the pain and issues they deal with as a result of their upbringings, they were also the embodiment of one of my pet-peeves (both in real life and in fiction); lack of communication. On several occasions I wanted to pull either of them or both together through the screen of my Kindle to give them a good talking to. And while Jude’s issues with intimacy made sense given his background, I had a harder time understanding Hudson. After all, he had been living in the commune for years and should by now have learned that open communication is vital for any successful relationship.

On the other hand I loved that the author didn’t glamorise the commune lifestyle. She freely acknowledges that while open relationships can be a wonderful way to live, they are neither for everybody nor for any time.

Overall this was a fun, occasionally heartbreakingly sad, layered and at times thought-provoking book that kept me enthralled from start to finish. I can’t wait for more stories set in this environment. Visiting Kaleidoscope Gardens in future books is going to be a pleasure; almost as good as being able to visit the place for real would be.

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