Title: Beneath These Fields (World of Love Series)
Author: Ward Maia
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 25, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 154
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 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.
When Ellis receives news that he has inherited his aunt’s coffee farm in rural Brazil, he is stunned. He travels to the farm with plans to quickly sell it and return to his high pressure job and life in Rio. He encounters a relaxed lifestyle and a lovely property, but a delayed property transfer makes his planned short trip much longer. And soon Ellis comes to feel everyone is keeping a secret from him.
Along the way Ellis meets sexy Rudá who manages the farm, and slowly (very slowly) begins to appreciate the pace of life on the farm and bit by bit uncovers family secrets. I like the general premise of the story, but for only 150+ pages, the pace of this story feels very slow. Perhaps it’s because so much of the book focuses solely on the sale of the farm and Ellis learning more about his aunt Meredith. It seems every conversation leads back to this issue and the story begins to feel too “one-note.”
Ellis and Rudá’s backgrounds are lightly fleshed out and personally I wanted more in-depth character development so I felt I really knew these characters. I like the feeling that the author evoked in the unexplicit sex scenes, but didn’t sense a lot of on-page chemistry between the two MCs. And after all the foreshadowing about secrets, I feel many secrets (Ellis’ family dynamic and the reason the estate attorney delayed the transfer – was he part of a plan to get Ellis to spend more time on the farm to grow to love it?) were left unresolved. The ending and epilogue show us a HEA, but seems to skim over Ellis’ decision about the farm. Overall the story felt me feeling … uninspired, although other readers may feel differently. 3 stars.