I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program.
First, I should say that I am an outsider to this kind of book. My normal tastes in fiction are usually more towards the sci-fi/fantasy section. There was a time a few years ago when I pretty much devoured the westerns of Zane Grey and Louis L'amour, but they are a good bit different than books like this. Since this is a collection of three fairly short stories, I'll do a bit for each of the stories.
Dandelions on the Wind: Probably the best of the lot. It stays pretty well focused on the four main characters, while also making mention of others who would play parts in the later stories. The story may have seemed a bit rushed at times, but it didn't seem forced or contrived.
Bending Toward the Sun: Sadly, this one was hurried, and the ending did seem contrived. The girl's change from sensible and serious to love-struck was rather too sudden. While mention was made of the man's doubts about God, they are basically brushed over, as if his love for the girl were answer enough for his doubts.
Ripples Along the Shore: Probably the main problem with this one was that there was simply too much going on for this kind of short story. The preparations for the ride west upstaged the requisite romance, and several new characters come in who simply don't get developed all that much. This one would probably benefit from being made into a longer work.
Overall, I think a 3 or 3.5 is fair. My negativity towards the second story aside, they aren't bad story, but nor are they all that great, either. I like a good romantic element to stories, I'll admit, but when the romances become the main focus of the overall story, and a happy ending is basically guaranteed going in, it does get a bit dull after a while, at least for me. Other readers may disagree, and that's fine. I can't say that I found anything in the book that would make me tell anyone to stay away from it, so take my muted enthusiasm as a matter of taste, if you want.