Author: Eli Easton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/01/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance
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.
I am not going to give a synopsis of this book, as the blurb does it perfectly. What I will say here is that as I prepared to review <em>A Second Harvest</em>, I was delighted to discover that it is the first book in a series entitled “Men of Lancaster County.” Hallelujah, because this story is an absolute joy to read!
I knew I was in for a treat when I found myself in tears over the author’s note at the beginning of the book:
<em> I love the idea that it’s never too late to change your life, to take up a new degree or profession, a new love, or even a whole new family. Because the opposite is tragic, isn’t it? Being doomed to forever walk the same path can be a kind of living hell. It’s not easy to leave a well-worn road, but ultimately it is worth it. This is the story of one man’s second chance.</em>
This grabbed me, and hard. The fact that it truly is never too late to make big changes gives those of us “of a certain age” permission to create the lives we wish to have, regardless of how far along the path we have roamed. As I witnessed David questioning his life and how he should be living it, the story became even more personal and poignant. I think this is where Eli Easton’s talent shines brightest. She finds a touching point with her audience through her characters’ internal dialogue, angst, and revelations, and these scenes hit their mark straight and true, right into the reader’s heart. <em>Zing!</em>
I felt an immediate connection with both David and Christie through the vividness of their character introductions. These scenes couldn’t have been more polar opposite, and what a wonderful way to portray the differences between these two beautifully crafted characters, the Mennonite and the Manhattanite. Superbly detailed with well-balanced earthiness, grit, and compassion, the initial impressions of both men are solidly established and carry through even as the characters change and grow throughout the story. The slow build between them, which begins as friendship over shared meals (oh, Ms. Easton, you made me so hungry while I read!), is gorgeous to watch. The tension and tentativeness are real and heady, and I loved how the relationship gradually strengthens and matures. What I appreciated even more was the fact that these two men <em>communicated</em>. I cannot emphasize enough how gratifying it is to see characters speak to one another as they work out the issues between them instead of running. Bravo, Ms. Easton!
Yes, David and Christie work extremely well together, but David is truly the centerpiece here. As the story progresses, his questions about himself and his beliefs build, his perspective changes, and his desire to honor who he is and how he wants to live grasps the reader’s heartstrings and won’t let go. His pain and inner turmoil are real, the conversations he has with himself and others are authentic and well-balanced, and his revelations are gut-wrenching (the box in the barn just about did me in).
I want to emphasize again how lovely this book truly is. Rural Pennsylvania and its inhabitants spring to life as the author’s vivid details weave a picturesque backdrop for David and Christie’s story. The smells, flavors, and atmosphere of cultures from around the world waft from the pages when Christie and David sit down to eat together. The earthiness and intimacy of the barn as a calf is born is unmistakably sweet, tender, and symbolic.
I adored this story, plain and simple. I highly recommend it, and it is going on my Read Again shelf. I only hope the wait for the second installment in this series isn’t too long. Ms. Easton, thank you for such a beautiful reading experience!
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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