Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Image courtesy of Riptide Publishing
Genre: GLBT, Contemporary, M/M Romance
Length: 186 pages
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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.
Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North is the summer romance we all want to experience. The relationship between shy, closeted blueberry farmer, Jed Jones and out and proud New York photographer, Connor Graham is engaging, poignant and very sweet. The two main characters Connor and Jed invite support; you want to cheer for their romance. You want good things to happen to these two nice young men.
North spends much of the first half of Blueberry Boys introducing Blandford, Massachusetts, the small town where Connor and Jed grew up. Connor fled when he was young, but is back now because of the family farm, while shy Jed reared under the strictures of church and small town society is trying to find his way in a world that suddenly seems more open than before.
Almost from first glimpse, there’s sexual tension between Connor and Jed. They spark in each other’s company; there’s real heat in the glances they exchange. North writes with the skill of a natural storyteller. She doesn’t rush events. As Blueberry Boys unfolds, you meet Jed’s family, as well as Connor’s. Even the secondary characters have depth. You get to know Hannah, Mike and their young baby boy, Billy (who loves his Uncle Jed).
Connor’s home to deal with the aftermath of his Uncle Bruce’s death and must interact with his estranged older brother, Scott, the only real family he has left. There’s some real pain in the scenes between these two men who should be allies and defenders of each other. Blandford has not been kind to Connor who harbors some painful childhood memories of growing up in the shadow of his brother, the high school football player.
In addition to the conflicts caused by living in small town Blandford, both Connor and Jed have personal issues to confront if they want to build on their hot summer fling. Jed almost can’t speak with his heavy stutter, while Connor suffers from body issues due to his childhood weight problems.
Blueberry Boys is a heart-warming love story between two likable young men seasoned with a dose of small town New England farm life. North has an engaging voice that draws the reader in, even the “bad guys” are somewhat likable; they’re definitely not one-dimensional.
I want to hear more about Connor and Jed. What is their future together going to look resemble? Can they have a lasting relationship with very separate career objectives? I wouldn’t mind seeing more of their steamy and sexy interchanges either. I don’t know if North plans a sequel to Blueberry Boys, but sign me up for the next installment. I enjoyed reading about Connor and Jed’s attempt to make a life together.