Monday, November 30, 2015

Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North

Blueberry Boys****

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. 


No matter how much he loved his uncle, Connor Graham would love nothing more than to avoid the small town where he grew up.  When his uncle passes away his goal is to get in and get out.  Avoiding the people who spent years bullying him for being the gay kid.  When he meets Jed, the man renting and farming his uncle’s land, Connor can’t deny the instant attraction between them.  Acting on the attraction is easy enough but dealing with the growing connection that neither of them expected is a bit more difficult.   Connor has no desire to stay and Jed has no desire to leave.   In fact, Jed would love nothing more than to be able to buy the land that Connor is so anxious to sell.

Jed would love Connor to wait on the sale until Jed can afford to buy the farm himself.  Which probably wouldn’t be for another couple years.  But it doesn’t take long for him to learn that some of Connor’s dreams are dependent on the sale of the farm.  So Jed can only hope that whoever buys the farm will continue to honor the lease.   As the two of them grow closer, it becomes more and more obvious to Jed that, no matter how happy they make one another, the two of them could never reconcile a relationship with their current lives and independent dreams for the future.   

I loved both of these heroes.   Jed was so mild and quietly passionate…about farming, about Connor, about everything.  And Connor?  He’s just kind all the way around.  The way he adjusts the things he says and does to accommodate Jed’s stutter (a stutter that is often frustrating to Jed) is unbelievably thoughtful and loving.  And it never occurs to him to NOT make those accommodations.  He’s just that kind of guy. 

Blueberry Boys is a love story and a requirement for any good love story is that there should be an obstacle for one or both main characters to overcome.  Both Jed and Connor have their individual issues to deal with but Jed definitely has the heavier load.  One of my favorite parts of this story is Jed reconciling his faith and his sexual identity.  Vanessa North handled it so beautifully.  The love and kindness that Jed finds within his family and congregation was heartwarming.

Of course, finding that happiness at home doesn’t solve the issues that are keeping Jed and Connor apart. Fortunately Connor is pretty imaginative and he is convinced there is a way that they can share each other’s lives without giving up their dreams. He only needs to convince Jed of the possibilities.

This was a wonderful feel good love story.   Two "forever boy" heroes with plenty of love and kindness to share.  This was my first novel by Vanessa North and it certainly won't be my last.  


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