Connor Graham is a city boy—a celebrated fashion photographer in New York. When his uncle’s death drags him back to the family blueberry farm, all he wants to do is sell it as quickly as he can. Until he meets his uncle’s tenant farmer.
Jed Jones, shy and stammering, devout and dedicated, has always yearned for land of his own and a man to share it with. Kept in the closet by his church, family, and disastrous first love, he longs to be accepted for who he is. But now, with his farm and his future in Connor’s careless hands, he stands to lose even the little he has.
Neither man expects the connection between them. Jed sees Connor—appreciates his art and passion like no one else in this godforsaken town ever has. Connor hears Jed—looks past his stutter to listen to the man inside. The time they share is idyllic, but with the farm sale pending, even their sanctuary is a source of tension. As work, family, and their town’s old-fashioned attitudes pull them apart, they must find a way to reconcile commitments to their careers and to each other.
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
186 e-book pages
Edition I read:
A habit I have, when I finish a book that I loved, is to go back to the beginning and read the first paragraph or two, maybe the first page. I do this to remind myself how it all started and what hooked me. Because a great book takes a lot of twists and turns from those first words, and sometimes those first steps of the journey become a little hazy once I’ve reached the end.
I got hooked again, and I umm…I ended up reading this twice.
I don’t remember the last time that happened. I know it’s been years. I know it wasn’t a romance.
I’ve read a few Vanessa North books in the last few weeks because I wanted a taste of her style before reading this book that I pre-ordered on a whim based on the title and cover alone. I liked those books—and that made me really excited about this one.
I can now say, unequivocally and officially, that Vanessa North has been added to my list of pre-order/auto-buy authors. I don’t think I need to see a fancy cover or even a blurb—just that one-click button to buy.
These characters, that setting, and this story…man, I loved this. This is a gorgeously told story just as sweet, with a burst of tart, as the best blueberries I’ve ever had on a summer day.
This is a quiet story, a slow-burn, growing intimacy with very little Big Drama. There are a few obstacles, of course…but no huge tricks and tropes. Just a story of two beautiful men; men who are flawed, normal, know their limitations and have insecurities and some inadequacies. But, we all do, don’t we? I felt like this could be anyone’s story of falling in love, accepting so totally another person, adapting, wanting…needing. It’s opening a memory box of forgotten things, painful things, and a few happy things too. It’s finding an anchor and a place to call home—that place being a person, The One—when that dream had nearly faded.
I loved Jed’s faith, because that’s hard to have…even harder to keep sometimes. I love his strength, perseverance, and courage—and the things he doesn’t say as much as the words he stumbles over. And Connor, who is patient and impatient, knows himself but is sort of lost until he’s found.
In so many ways they’re opposites and in so many ways the same. Where one is weak, the other is strong. When one is afraid, the other has courage. It’s a gorgeously balanced partnership.
The farm and fields and the small town are as much a character as they are the setting and metaphorical for things nurturing, organic, and thriving…as well as scary, lonely, and remote. It’s a home we get stuck in, or run away from, or go back to and find our roots.
This is a comfortable read. One to snuggle down with, settle in and just be.
And now I’ll miss the blueberries until spring.
This review also posted on GoodReads and Amazon.