Author: Ros Baxter
Ros Baxter is a talented multi-genre author published across multiple publishers and genres. I have enjoyed everything I have read by her and her recent foray into rural fiction has been an interesting new direction.
Second Time Sweeter is quite a short book set in the small NSW tale of Sweet Pocket; a small farming town that is suffering financially because of their stand against big business.
Genevieve Jenkins is a single mother to two young children, running a farm, caring for her ill mother and trying to ensure the survival of the town. It’s a lot to take on and she’s only just keeping her head above water. Things are not going well with her ex-husband and everything seems to be snowballing.
This years annual Spring Fair is extremely important, the future of the town may just rest on it going off without a hitch and Nelly has roped her nephew into returning to town to help out.
Brodie Brown skipped town a decade ago to make something of his life and now he returns as The Crop King; with lots of business contacts and a healthy bank account. He was the town bad boy when he left at the end of school and he hasn’t been back since, preferring to catch up with Nelly in Sydney than return to his hometown.
Genevieve and Brodie were high-school sweethearts, their love scorching so hot it was feared they would combust. They had huge plans for a lifetime together and then out of the blue Gen broke it off, claiming to have feelings for his best friend.
A decade later they are back in the same town with a common goal to save the town but can their shared history remain in the past so that they can work together.
The sparks have not gone out between these two but neither has the heart break been mended so it is compelling to see where Baxter is going to lead them. We also soon discover that there is more to this situation than meets the eye, will the truth come out?
I sat down with this last night planning on a chapter or two over coffee as I was exhausted and my eyes were dry and achy before I even started. I had taken the kids out Trick or Treating and was waiting for them to calm and drift of to sleep before I could do the same…. next thing I knew the book was finished, it was after midnight and my eyes were gritty and drooping. I don’t know where the time went but I certainly had not been planning to stay up.
Baxter wove the history and chemistry between Gen and Brodie brilliantly around the very real and dire situation that Sweet Pocket found itself in. The small town, small time dairy farmers decided to stand up together against the big companies trying to maximise their profits at the expense of the farmers. It was an interesting look at a real issue facing our farmers and the way this town pulled together to take a stand.
I saw a meme just the other day that said if a book is well written book it is always too short and that was definitely the case with Second Time Sweeter.
Second Time Sweeter is book #62 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2015.