Cheris Hodges. Forces of Nature. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2013.

Forces of NatureIn the 1970s,  jealousy drove Douglas Wellington Jr. to great success in establishing his manufacturing company, Welco Industries. As a young man, Douglas Jr. was ashamed of his poor background, and his intellectual interests led his peers to dismiss him as nerdy.  But “money changed things and changed the way people viewed” Douglas Jr. He wielded his power and money to exact revenge on the people who once thought of him as just a poor boy from Waverly. His most ambitious sights were set on the Hughes Farm. In Douglas Jr.’s mind, Joel Hughes stole Erin Hamilton from him. Although Douglas Jr. married another woman, he was still besotted with Erin. And if he couldn’t win Erin back, then he would make them both pay.

Fast forward into the present day and Douglas Wellington III is now CEO of Welco Industries. Much of nearby Reeseville has been developed by Welco. But not quite the entire town has been dug up and gentrified. Not the Hughes Farm, at least. Douglas hopes to solidify plans on the Douglas Wellington Jr. Business Park as soon as possible to honor his deceased father’s memory and to appease his board of directors. The chairman of the board, Clive Oldsman, hounds Douglas relentlessly about speeding up the project. Originally Douglas had dreams of making a name in the music industry, but when his father fell ill with colon cancer, he was lured into the family business to please his dying father. So his sights are fastened on the Hughes Farm.

Crystal Hughes, daughter of Joel and Erin Hughes, is not about to let Welco steal her family’s farm out from under her. She’s feisty and full of ideas to protest the business park, including handcuffing herself to the desk of Douglas’s receptionist. Crystal’s determination is understandable. After all, the Hughes Farm is a legacy. The farm was the first property owned by African Americans in Duval County. Under Crystal’s management, the farm produces vegetables that are donated to the local homeless shelter. Also, Starlight House, a group home for young girls, sits on the property. Crystal has a fierce devotion to the girls at Starlight, who in turn, show their affection and appreciation by helping with chores around the farm. Crystal loves the farm and she is confident that anyone who spends time on the land will fall in love with it too. She is so confident, in fact, that she challenges Douglas to spend one week on the property before he continues with his plans to destroy the farm. Douglas accepts the offer, if only because of his attraction to Crystal.

In Forces of Nature Cheris Hodges offers a light rendition on Romeo and Juliet: two sworn enemies stifling their attraction to each other out of familial loyalty. Will Crystal’s proposition change Douglas’s mind? There is plenty of intrigue and family secrets to keep readers turning the pages of this book.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Hodges, Cheris F., Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

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