This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Riptide
Released on May 20, 2016
Length: 4 hours 22 minutes
After reading another book by this author, I was more than willing to try another. It didn’t hurt that this one took the story to small town New England and the setting was a blueberry farm and there was a city boy comes home angle. It was sweet, poignant, and quietly passionate as love is found where it was least expected.
Connor Graham got out of his small town and the misery it gave him as fast as he could. Years later, he’s a successful fashion photographer and well-satisfied with his life. But then his uncle dies and he is brought back to tie up the loose ends- one being the blueberry farm he inherited with his older estranged brother.
Jed Jones leases the farm and knows that the farm might be sold. He will just have to find a way even if he doesn’t have enough saved to buy it outright. He encounters one of the new owners and is curious having known about Connor Graham for his whole life. Connor is an out to the world gay man who gladly shook off his small town roots and left behind all the bullies and critics to be free. Connor is big city now and his photo art is amazing. Connor captures Jed’s notice from the first encounter just as he captures Connor’s and his camera. Having someone see past the stammer and really listen is a gift that Jed doesn’t take lightly, but they are going two different directions, right? Jed is a quiet, deeply religious man who wants to farm, find the love of his life, but first he might actually have to share that he is gay to his conservative family.
After meeting his tenant, Connor is intrigued. Jed Jones is like no other person he has met. Connor is jaded and cynical about this place that seems to be roots deep for Jed. Jed’s stammer isolates him, but Connor isn’t even bothered. Jed brings peace to him for the first time and helps him reconcile with his past. If only he can reconcile with his brother and then what is to be done about this growing thing between him and Jed? Connor is leaving and Jed is rooted to his farm. And about the farm? What will Jed do if they sell like Connor and his brother both decide is for the best?
The story is gently-paced. There are conflicts, but of a character-centered nature. The blueberry farm sale that affects Jed, but really causes strife between Connor and his brother. Connor’s issues with his past. Jed’s quiet crisis of faith and struggles to share with his family that he is gay. Connor and Jed finding they do well together, but not knowing how to make their diverging dreams work. Yes, there was plenty for the reader to engage with and more than I didn’t even mention. The author has a gift for depth in characters and plot.
I loved the setting of the farm. It gave a nice picture of a modern farm and it was neat that Jed had his degree in modern farming methods. I liked that Jed’s farming had as many scenes as Connor’s more glamorous life. I had no idea that NYC had the rooftops farms so I got a kick out of that being included in the story.
And just as I enjoyed the farm, Connor’s photo shoots and his photography career was a lovely sizzling hot edition. I laughed at the antics of the colorful group of models he brought together for his work.
As to the characters, Connor and Jed shared the narration. They are well-drawn and I liked them both from the start. They are opposites and the author didn’t rush in with the attraction, but allowed their meet-up to lead slowly through their separate lives before coming together for tentative and slow progressing relations. There are issues that need resolution, but I appreciate deeply that this didn’t turn into a shallow angst-fest. These were adult men and they acted like it.
Connor is very patient with Jed even if his crusader instincts kick in when he wants to defend and protect Jed. Jed is not weak, but he is the quiet, overlooked guy generally. I was so moved by that scene of grief and comfort these two shared. Quite the couple and I had no trouble seeing them together and continuing to deepen what they found together.
I have to say kudos to the author how she respectfully and carefully handled the religious angle. Connor is non-religious while Jed is very religious, but this was not an issue of conflict. Just like the author showed that their beliefs about it were equally alright.
Another carefully handled bit was the family element. Both men had to deal with family and it was interesting how their families responded to the issues. Jed had to come out to his loving, yet conservative family. I loved the dynamics in his family and really hoped it would work out okay for him. Connor had a hostile brother who never had liked him and Connor wants to finally get to the bottom of it.
The audio narration was done by new to me voice, Tobias Silversmith. I thought he captured the story well. He handled characters, pace, tone, and emotions in such a way that I was easily carried off into the story while being able to appreciate the skill of the narrator. Definitely would listen to more audios by him.
All in all, this was a heartwarming treat that left me smiling and wanting some farm fresh fruit grown by Jed and a chance to flip through Connor’s photo albums. I can easily recommend this to those who enjoy sweet and slow burn passionate M/M Contemporary Romance.
My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #204 LGBT