“Wishing on Buttercups,” the second installment in Miralee Ferrell’s Love Blossoms in Oregon series, opens in August, 1880, shortly after the action of “Blowing on Dandelions.” Quiet Beth Roberts has finally begun to settle into life at the Jacobs’ boardinghouse with her loving but at times imperious Aunt Wilma, and her dreams of pursuing art as a career seem to be coming to fruition. However, beneath the tranquil surface of her carefully-maintained façade lie ripples of distrust and fear waiting to boil over. Years of stigma and deception have convinced her that if anyone knows her intimately, they will reject her, and she “decided early on that hiding her identity would serve her purposes the best.” She has only vague recollections of her past, and although she has always wanted to discover more, she fears that the truth will prove to be more painful than the burden of not knowing. Any sense of peace that Beth feels is quickly disrupted by inquiries about her past or by the feeling that someone may be trying to move beyond the walls she has built around her heart, and that is especially true where fellow boarder Jeffery Tucker is concerned. She doubts that she will ever be able to cultivate the future that she wishes for as she builds a life for herself in Baker City, Oregon.
This second novel provides a successful transition from its predecessor by exploring the lives of several secondary individuals who were introduced in “Blowing on Dandelions” and expanding the character base while also revisiting former characters. The apparent simplicity of the story belies an undercurrent of complex emotions and situations that demonstrate Ferrell’s uncanny ability to parallel contemporary issues facing women today with those of her characters. Her straightforward, modest writing style immediately draws readers in and speaks to the heart.
Although “Wishing on Buttercups” is mostly a character-driven book, the plot contains ample twists to keep readers engaged and invested. Likewise, the characters themselves are exceptionally relatable. They are three-dimensional, with flaws and strengths, and the overarching theme of learning to love oneself speaks to men and women alike. As Christian historical fiction, the novel emits a soothing message of reassurance and faith while encouraging self-acceptance and compassion. Even readers who do not necessarily espouse Christian beliefs or care for romance or historical fiction will find inspiration and delight within Ferrell’s mellifluous prose. “Wishing on Buttercups” can possibly be a stand-alone novel, but it is best read after “Blowing on Dandelions” and will be followed by “Dreaming on Daisies,” which will complete the trilogy. The “AfterWords” section appended to the novel itself offers an author’s note explaining how the story came to be, as well as questions for individual or group discussion and a sneak peak at chapter one of “Dreaming on Daisies.”
I received an early PDF version of this novel in exchange for an honest review.