I have read all of the books in this series, but I have to say this was my least favorite. For me, it boils down to the characters and plot not being great. First off, Emma is a klutz to the point of it being debilitating. I did not find this believable nor endearing. She spends most of the book crying over the broken engagement which is also not my idea of enjoyable reading. My next problem is Ben - he broke it off with Emma and left, but when he comes back, he won't leave her alone even though she is obviously still upset. It just comes off as cruel. At the same time, he often treats her like a child, which was strange. It was also frustrating knowing that there is something wrong with him, but we don't find out what that is until 70% of the book is over. Finally, the plot is a problem for me - the same thing happens every chapter - Emma goes to Huckleberry Hill, has an upsetting encounter with Ben and cries. Her brother and Ben's sister Lizzie squabble over Ben & Emma. This repeats over and over. Nothing of significance happens until the last 25% of the book. What I did enjoy is the message in this book about how people deal with trials that occur in life and how we handle them - especially when we are on the receiving end of having to ask for the help. I also love Felty & Anna - they remind me a little of my own grandparents. Overall I would say that while this wasn't the best in the series, I would still recommend it if you have read and liked the other books. I will definitely continue reading the series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review and rated it 4.5 out of 5 Stars.
Matchmaking grandparents, a confused would be groom and his dumped fiancée are the focus of Jennifer Beckstrand’s Huckleberry Spring, the fourth book in her Matchmaker’s of Huckleberry Hill series. Colorful characters, emotional angst and a second chance romance kept me turning the pages from start to finish. Reminding us that “Love is patient”, Ms. Beckstrand’s story is one any romance lover will enjoy.
Ever since Ben Helmuth broke their engagement and took off for Florida, Emma Nelson has kept busy and worked on “self-improvement”. Determined to “keep on a happy face” and not others see how heartbroken she is, Emma has attended every social gathering, improved her cooking and concentrated on being less accident prone. One area where she naturally excels is gardening so when Anna Helmuth, Ben’s Mammi (Grandmother) asks her for help, she reluctantly agrees. After all, it’s not like she’s going to run into Ben since he’s in Florida. Only Emma didn’t know about Anna’s matchmaking plans, or about Ben’s return from Florida.
Ms. Beckstrand does a great job developing the characters in this story; I easily connected with Emma; she’s a sweet girl who thinks of others first, is somewhat of a day dreamer and needs help with her homemaking skills. Ashamed of being dumped by someone like Ben, who she considers the perfect man, after having overlooked so many of her failings in the past, Emma takes all of the blame for their failed engagement. Even though she’s really clueless as to why Ben dumped her.
Ms. Beckstrand also does a good job developing Ben, I was also able to connect with him even though there were plenty of times I was frustrated by his behavior. Hard working and kind, Ben has the tendency to take responsibility for everything and everyone around him. He also has a tendency to keep secrets or keep things to himself that he should share and he never thought about how breaking off his engagement the way he did and fleeing to Florida would make others look at Emma.
As usual, Anna and Felty Helmuth are fabulous secondary characters and Anna’s plan to get Ben back to Huckleberry Hill really required Felty to make some personal sacrifices. I have to say she’s been very lucky so far that her “schemes” haven’t really injured anyone yet. They both make me laugh though and their marriage is a shining example of what being in love should look like, regardless of your age.
Will Emma ever discover why Ben really broke off their engagement? Will Ben share his secret with his grandfather and take his advice about matters of the heart? Will Emma and Ben’s love really be able to conquer all? You’ll have to read Huckleberry Spring to find out. I enjoyed it and can’t wait to see what new adventure Anna cooks up next when she decides to match up another one of her grandkids.
I loved this book! I'm a klutz myself, so I could totally relate to Emma. Fortunately, my family and friends aren't constantly pointing that out like Emma's mamm. At first, I got upset with Ben for not telling his secret, but when it was finally revealed, I understood his struggles to understand why God seemed to have turned His back on him. I loved Emma's relationship with her brother, and the "bickering" between Lizzie and him. Since I don't have siblings, I like a book where family plays an important part in the characters' lives.
As always, Felty and Anna were so much fun to read about. My favorite scene between them was the first one when Anna shows Felty brochures on various diseases and surgeries and gets him to pick which one he wants to have so Ben will have to come and take care of the farm. Did she have a brochure on knee replacement in there? That would have set Felty back maybe six weeks--ha ha!
I'm looking forward to reading "Huckleberry Harvest."
Oh my! This book is a little different than the rest of the series but that doesn't mean it wasn't just as good, if not better. I did not find myself chuckling throughout this story, I was more sad and trying to figure out Ben's secret. And poor Felty, Annie put him through the mill in this one, you have to almost feel sorry for him too, lol. I am so looking forward to Huckleberry Harvest coming out on May 26th that I even read the three preview pages in the back of this book, I NEVER do that! I like to be totally surprised. I had also pre-ordered Huckleberry Spring which I have never done either. I have to say, sorry if I've said it with each review in this series but, I absolutely love this series and Jennifer's writing. Please if you have not read anything by Jennifer Beckstrand start reading this series and you will be sold on her books.
Ben's mammi is at again. She makes up a story of needing Ben on the farm so that he will come back from Florida. Then she makes up another story to get his ex-girlfriend to help her with her garden. Point being.....to get Ben and Emma back together.
You will enjoy this book, as well as the other Huckleberry Hill books. You can't help but fall in love with Annie and Felty, the grandparents, who feel it is up to them to get their grandchildren married to the right person.
The biggest problem is, you wait so long for the next book to come out, then read it straight through and have to wait again! Definitely a must read!