Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Sometimes true worth is well hidden.
Ellis Campos is a successful divorce lawyer with little to no time for a personal life. His predictable routine is disrupted when he inherits a coffee farm from an estranged aunt. There’s no room in his life for all the complications that come with managing a farm in another state. But his plans to quickly sell it and go back to the big city fall apart when he’s manipulated into spending a week on the estate.
Adding to the unexpected surprises, he meets Rudá, a native Brazilian who works on the farm, and while teaching him about his aunt’s home and family, also tempts Ellis like no one ever has.
He doesn’t expect his life to change in such a short time, but as he finds value and comfort in the farm’s routine, Ellis quickly realizes that, like the land itself, Rudá has secrets that could send him running back to Rio.
Beneath These Fields by Ward Maia is another story from the World of Love line at Dreamspinner Press. This time the location is Brazil , specifically a coffee farm far away from the comforts of Rio. That the author himself is from Brazil and loves his country from the city to the rolling hills of farmland gives Beneath These Fields a warmth and depth lacking in other stories. Familiarity will do that as will fondness when you write what you know.
When he writes of the heat, the character sweating so badly that the clothes are sticking to his back, or the little used air conditioning of an older truck spraying dust and insect wings over Ellis, it feels authentic …and funny. Or of a man smelling like the very coffee he raises. That too feels real, believable, and incredibly sexy.
For me there was so much I really connected with and enjoyed. The coffee farm, its employees and inhabitants itself,right down to the dog Duke. The daily natural feel of the place, including the harvest of the beans and the way Ellis was learning to love the place his aunt built as he learned about her from her books and the people around her. It was charming, fluid, and easy. Maia made us see this place as though it was real, he gave it charm, a solidity, and heart.
Less satisfactory was some of the mystery surrounding his aunt, her lost connection to one side of the family which to my mind was never really explained. It was made a big element and then sort of left there. Also the ending felt rushed after all the marvelous story that came before. It was nice. mind you, but, left you with too many questions.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. It had a wonderful framework, some outstanding elements and characters, and I found myself many times wanting to know more about Ruda’ tribe or the region. I wanted to go exploring because this story pulled me there and made me love the people and place. That includes the couple.
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht. Not my idea of Ellis in dress or age, or background. Doesn’t really work for me.
ebook, 144 pages
Expected publication: January 25th 2019
Original Title Beneath These Fields
Edition Language English