Author: Vanessa North
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 11/30/2015
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance
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.
Let me start off saying: this is one of those times when I’m finding it difficult to put into words how I feel about this story. It touched me, gently, but profoundly and without doubt. I’m gonna try my best to tell you why.
I fell for Jed Jones the moment he shared his first thoughts with me. They’re about poetry, and Connor, and Connor seeing the poetry, too. Yep, I fell. Hard and fast.
And Connor. He had me emotionally compromised from the get go. He’s aware, grieving, or beginning to, and going back to his small hometown unsurprisingly brings up all sorts of feelings for him. I had my first lump in the throat in chapter two.
How was it those stares could make him feel seventeen years old again? Bitter and lonely and completely lost.
Connor is none of those things back in Brooklyn, but he certainly is here in small town Mass.
Jed is… the word that keeps jumping to the front of my brain is ‘deep’. He’s deep. He understands deeply. He questions deeply. He takes the time to experience life deeply. He’s often times forced to, while many hardly have the patience to let him. Despite this, he does.
This is some of North’s best writing. Every word is important, yet without pretention. The scenes play like a film in my head, the sunshine and fireflies, everything feeling so familiar. Smack dab in the middle of all of this are these characters, Jed & Connor, imperfect and real. They’re working hard at living their lives amidst the mundane chaos that often surrounds us all.
There’s a layer of something mystical or magical all throughout this story. It feels almost lazy, unintended, yet it’s filled with purpose, draped over every nook and cranny. It’s a wonderful companion to the struggles and hard won tears and successes that all of these characters experience. It cast a constant yet unobtrusive glow about the whole thing. I kept picturing the Kevin Costner-James Earl Jones movie, “Field of Dreams”, as I was reading, getting some of the same feelings as I do whenever I watch that film. This story evoked similar emotions, warmth, like recognizing like in terms of family strife, friendship, and the love and the heart that rule them all.
~ contented sigh ~
I know it might sound overdone, but I don’t care. I luxuriated in the words, in the smooth, cozy, gripping ride they gave me. Vanessa North is connected to these characters and the proof is the ease with which I connected to them, too. They’re accessible while still maintain their secrets if and until they decide to reveal them. They’re not cookie cutter, not over the top, not walking perfection. They’re real and experience life like we all do, successes and heartbreaks and all.
Jed and Connor, I feel they have much more to share with us. How do I know? I don’t, technically, but I do. I haven’t experienced this in a while: these two are permanent residents inside my heart.
~ I also own a copy of this book.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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