The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O’Neal is a novel of friendship, food, and of finding yourself and fulfilling your dreams. There is nothing I like better than a novel of women and the bonds of friendship that they share. I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Joyce Bean and she had the perfect tone of voice for this novel. She has a smooth voice and is very easy to listen to which made this novel all the more enjoyable for me.
Lavender, Ginny, Ruby, and Val all met online as foodie bloggers and quickly became good friends. Lavender, approaching her mid-eighties, is worried about who is going to take over Lavender Honey Farms. She doesn’t want it falling into the hands of family who will only sell out to the highest bidder. She wants to see it pass on to someone who will love and nurture it as she has. In her mind the only good fit for this job is one of the three women so she invites them to come out for a birthday celebration and while they are there she will see if one of these women has what it takes to carry on Lavender’s legacy.
All of the women have their own issues to deal with. Val and her daughter are dealing with a family tragedy. Ginny who is running an extremely successful blog is unhappy in her marriage and has been scared to take any steps to rediscovering her life. Even the trip to Lavender’s farm is a huge step for her as she’s never really done anything on her own. Ruby is the youngest of the women, pregnant, and still nursing a broken heart. Yet, despite being young, she is also the one who shows the most interest in the land. Who is the best person? Lavender doesn’t know but she needs to find out as she’s beginning to wonder just how much time she may have left.
As the women, the Foodie Four as they call themselves, chat and enjoy food and each others company they find their friendship deepening even further. They also find that they are learning more about themselves, what makes them happy in life, and where they want to take their futures.
I enjoyed getting to know the women but I found myself most drawn to Ruby. She seemed vulnerable and sweet with a great love for everything and I liked that. Being a blogger myself I loved that this book revolved around four women who met as bloggers and became friends. It’s amazing the friendships that can be built online but I know it’s true as I’ve built a few strong ones myself. Of course the foodie in me loved all the talk of food and recipes and with the author’s descriptive writing I felt at times that I could smell the lavender (which I love!) and taste the honey. It was wonderful!
The All You Can Dream Buffet was a really enjoyable listen and it was eleven hours well spent for me. For my readers who dislike strong language or sexual content in their reading there is a bit of both in this novel – not much but it’s there. The All You Can Dream Buffet would make a great book club pick with all the issues it raises on marriage, children, old age, and starting over. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to those who enjoy women’s fiction.
Audiobook from my personal library.