David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm, married, and had two children. Now with both his kids in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half-lived.
Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now thirty, he figures it’s time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city. He heads to a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to rest, recoup, and reflect.
But life in the country is boring despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie’s creativity latches on to cooking, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd couple finds they really enjoy spending time together.
Christie challenges the boundaries of David’s closed world and brings out feelings he buried long ago. If he can break free of the past, he might find a second chance at happiness.
Contemporary, M/M, LGBT+
206 e-book pages
Men of Lancaster County, book 1
July 4-5, 2016
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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A Second Harvest is all about cultivating, nourishing, and reaping the rewards of a second chance after life has turned sideways.
Despite a slow start for me and moments that felt a little too bound with religion, this tugged at my heart for a lot of reasons.
David is a forty-one-year-old widower with two grown children. He’s a church-going legacy farmer in a Mennonite community. He’s always followed the rules, led a quiet, dutiful existence, and only recently begun to question his life.
Christie is his polar opposite in nearly every way. He’s a metropolitan partier, out, proud, and loud who’s gotten a wake-up call that it may be time to calm things down. He moves to his deceased aunt’s house, which happens to be just down the lane from David’s, in order to settle the estate, take a break from the city, and do some reevaluating of his own.
These guys are polar opposites — in every way. Religion, backgrounds, personalities, upbringing, and outlooks. They were an interesting match with a lot of differences to work through, but I loved that they so readily accepted each other even through some internal struggles over being too much or not enough for the other.
There’s an age-gap of about eleven years that was a cause for concern from David’s perspective. David felt old in his skin, and I kept shouting at him in my head NOT OLD NOT OLD NOT OLD. But I got where he was coming from. He married young, had adulthood and laborious career dropped in his lap at an early age. He’s kinda weathered from so many years of hard work.
David is closeted. Deeply closeted. So much so he never had any chance to accept himself or believe he’d ever get to be himself or anything other than what his church and family expected of him. He never considered that a possibility would arise that he could be out at all or in a relationship — or any sexual experience whatsoever — with another man. God, that broke my heart. But I LOVED Christie’s patience and understanding. Despite the realization of a mutual attraction and lusty thoughts, Christie was all about mindfulness to David’s emotions and comfort.
This simmered at a gentle and sweet slow burn that began simply with neighborly conversations and sharing meals. On that note, I’ll mention that you might not want to read this while hungry. Food is discussed a lot, and I found myself on the verge of gnawing off my arm on a few occasions with all the food descriptions.
Maybe I gravitated toward David a little more, but I don’t feel like I got a complete picture of Christie. I wanted more of him, but at the same time don’t exactly feel slighted. He was all about patience and kindness, never pressing David for more or faster, knowing David had a lot to sort through. For that, I loved him.
Why three stars? Welp…partly because of a start that didn’t exactly grab me. Then, well, the last chapter and epilogue launched me into a wee fit of rage. Without spoilers, I’ll just say there’s a reprehensible incident. A big one. For me, it came across on the extreme side of divisive, without clear motive, incomplete, and without adequate resolution. It segues rather inelegantly into a one-year-later epilogue that’s all happy, happy joy. Of course, I like all the happy joy. But…by that time it was a shiny red bow on a wrecked car.
I’m semi-interested in seeing where the series goes…so, we’ll see.
This review also posted on GoodReads.