Herbal Beginnings
by Carolee Snyder

AuthorHouse, 2008. ISBN 978-1-4343-9042-4.
Reviewed by Becky Lane
Posted on 10/10/2008

Fiction: Mystery; Fiction: Romance

When Callie Gardener's fiance announces, just weeks before their wedding, that he has decided to run off to California with his office sweetie, Callie decides to start a new life, in a new place, with a new occupation. She'd already been growing and selling herbs with some success at the local farmers' market, so she resigns from her teaching position and buys a farm in Heartland, Indiana. She's a fairly astute business woman, but not so smart when it comes to men. You'd think, with her previous track record, she'd know better than to try and juggle several men at once. On top of that, small town living isn't quite as peaceful and friendly as everyone makes it out to be (as Callie would know if she'd ever read any of Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles herbal mysteries).

If you have ever entertained the idea of starting your own business, I highly recommend this book. It contains a wealth of information as to the struggles you are likely to encounter, the tools you will need, and how to handle it all successfully. I only wish it had been available to me several years ago, when I was still the merchandiser at a garden center. I would have made this my bible, and borrowed many wonderful marketing and display ideas from it (not to mention a plethora of herbal lore and recipes).

I do have one complaint though. Author Carolee Snyder is obviously a woman of strength, for not only did she build a thriving herbal business from scratch, much like the one in this story, but she did it while raising four kids and hosting a gardening radio show. Although her heroine shows plenty of spunk in her business dealings and handling of misfortunes, I think she could use a little more spine when it comes to men. But that's just me.

Carolee Snyder owns Carolee's Herb Farm in Hartford City, Indiana. This grandmother of six grew up on a farm, but it wasn't until she moved to Chicago that she was struck by the urge to grow stuff. She sold herbs and veggies at the farmer's market in southern Indiana for 14 years , before moving 80,000 plants to their current location in Blackford county. Find out more on Carolee's website.

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