Author: Vanessa North
Narrator: Tobias Silversmith
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Story Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Release Date: 05/20/2016
Length: 04 hours 22 minutes
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.
When Connor Graham returns to his family’s blueberry farm following his uncle’s death, he doesn’t expect the attraction he feels for the kind, stuttering tenant. Jed Jones is a Christian man committed to his calling to be a farmer while remaining firmly in the closet. As the connection between the two men grows, tensions arise with the pending sale of the farm and Jed’s struggle with the barriers that church and family present to living his life as a gay man. Now Connor and Jed must overcome obstacles, both as individuals and a couple, in order to have a committed relationship and a possible future together.
In Blueberry Boys, Vanessa North crafts a story with a great deal of heart, wrapping the reader in a down-home coziness that is at times uncomfortable and maddening, but that also has a warmth and authenticity that small town settings often provide. Connections between family and friends are strong and imperfect and portrayed realistically and honestly, with a compassion for the characters, their love for each other, and their flaws and shortcomings. Dialogue rings true, ranging from blunt and raw to tender and emotional. Refreshing in its honest look at family dynamics, particularly those within the Christian faith, the story brings various views, levels of acceptance, and seemingly insurmountable barriers into the mix. The reader is allowed to see a natural progression of conflict, resolution, and everything in between as Jed and Connor work on their own relationship and those within their respective families.
Jed and Connor are sweet together, and their attraction to one another is clear and immediate. Though things move rather quickly for these two, their concern and passion for one another is earnest and well-written. Jed is a particularly sympathetic character with a strong sense of duty and honor to his family, his faith, and the farm he tends. Quiet, stuttering, and utterly devoted to those he loves, he is a beautifully crafted character who remains within the reader’s heart long after the story is finished.
Overall, Blueberry Boys brings the reader into the lives and hearts of two people connected through the land, the love of family, and a desire to be together. It is a sweet m/m romance that I highly recommend for its engaging characters, its honest look at the ups and downs of relationships, and its declaration that above all, we must honor our own selves and live our own truths.
Unfortunately, the narration for this story fell short for me. The narrator’s voice felt too light and youthful for the subject matter. There was a definite lack of annunciation that made it difficult to enjoy all the text, and I had to slow the speed down on my Audible app in order to get the full effect of the story. Overall, it was a rather disappointing reading of a lovely story by one of my favorite authors.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the audiobook of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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