Title: Blueberry Boys
Author: Vanessa North
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 186 Pages
At a Glance: I had high expectations for Blueberry Boys—both built up in my own mind, and then as early praise started to roll in—and I’m happy to say that it completely lived up to the hype.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: 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.
Review: When I saw the cover for this novel back in the fall, I had an immediate Gimme! reaction. And, the title just has such a nice ring to it, ya know? I had high expectations for Blueberry Boys—both built up in my own mind, and then as early praise started to roll in—and I’m happy to say that it completely lived up to the hype.
I started a list—a pros and cons of sorts—with things I loved on one side, and then a list of things that maybe didn’t work so well, or I would have liked to see done differently, on the other. Well, the ‘things I loved’ side kept growing and growing, and, well, you get the idea. This book worked for me on a multitude of levels: as a family drama; as a peek into small town Americana; and absolutely 100% as a romance.
Jed and Connor are so well-developed and relatable. I love that neither of them are ‘perfect’. I always enjoy reading characters who are real, and have flaws or quirks or hang-ups, just like the rest of us. Jed has a pretty serious stutter, obviously making communication difficult, but Connor has nothing but patience for him and puts Jed at ease like no one else ever has.
There were so many things I loved about Jed. I loved his gentleness and his sense of family—and how much Connor appreciated and respected that about him—and I loved his faith. It makes me feel good when religion is written into a story or a character in a positive way. It’s not that I go to church every Sunday, or that I’m super devout, but not everyone’s relationship status with God is ‘it’s complicated.’ And, I loved how the author used emails and/or texts to help get across some of his lengthier or more important thoughts and emotions. Vanessa North did a beautiful job of showing us the many facets of Jed.
Connor was also fantastic. I loved his self-assured, easy-going grace. And, the fact that even though the town didn’t exactly hold only good memories for him, he still seemed like he belonged. His reverence for his uncle’s farm, and ultimately his understanding about Jed’s need to grow things, made my heart happy. They were so good together, so sweet. I loved how relaxed they were with each other, how easy their camaraderie seemed.
Ok, I’ve blathered on enough. I could keep going—and I have about six or seven highlighted quotes I’d love to share—but, you guys don’t need me to say anything more to convince you to read this book. You need only look at the cover, read the blurb, and trust me.
You can buy Blueberry Boys here: