Title: Down on the Farm (Ames Bridge: Book One)
Author: Silvia Violet
Publisher: Self-Published/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 196 Pages
At a Glance: Though not quite the enemies-to-lovers story I had been expecting, Down on the Farm is well written and a fairly enjoyable read.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Down on the Farm, a sexy, enemies-to-lovers, small town romance, is the first book in the Ames Bridge series.
After quitting his teaching job on the heels of a scandal, Beck Davis moves to the house his grandmother left him in Ames Bridge. He finds the town stifling, but it’s a quiet place to hide while he regroups. Or so he thought.
His neighbor Cal McMurtry shows up, demanding to buy Beck’s land. Cal is as infuriatingly sexy as he was ten years ago when he and his jock friends spent their summers taunting Beck.
Beck expects to hate Cal as he did back then, but Cal isn’t who Beck thought he was: he’s hardworking, passionate about revamping and diversifying his family’s farm, and—far more shocking—he’s gay, and interested in Beck.
But as much as they want each other, Beck has no intention of staying in Ames Bridge, and while Cal is technically out, he refuses to date openly. A real relationship seems doomed from the beginning, but love can be a powerful motivator for those willing to take a chance.
Review: Down on the Farm is a well-written and engaging story, and when I finished, I can say I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Cal and Beck have known each other since they were kids, and upon Beck’s return to Ames Bridge, they can’t really avoid each other, with it being such a small town and them being neighbors. They start out disliking one another for their past, but quickly find common ground and attraction. The only problem? Cal is scared out of his mind about how the people in town will react after he has done so much to modernize and grow his farm, and Beck has no idea what his future holds—other than the fact he knows it won’t be in Ames Bridge.
One of my favorite things about stories set in small towns is the secondary characters. I love the whole “everyone knows what everyone else is doing, and can’t help but be nosy and be all up in the MCs’ business”, and oftentimes, the supporting characters play fairly big roles in the ongoing plot and ultimate romance. Small towns, set in certain areas, can create their own angst and almost become their own character. The key is making the town still somewhat desirable enough so the reader can understand why the protagonists would even want to remain in that kind of life and location in the first place. Especially when there is bigotry and hate in the community. In this case, I found it was a healthy balance of accepting, caring people, and intolerant homophobes, keeping the town negative aspects from becoming one of those places I can’t imagine someone wanting to stay.
Both Cal and Beck were flawed individuals with baggage. They are dimensional and their emotions are mostly understandable. I was totally Team Beck! He truly wanted to help, out of the goodness of his heart, in the way he saw potential in Cal’s farm, and a way to make the farm more profitable and also add to the community. He didn’t want the glory of the ideas, he was just a genuinely good person with the ability to think outside the box. I had a little trouble connecting with Cal because of his desire to have Beck but refusing to be the one to make any sacrifices. Cal plain frustrated me. He was so caught up in his own head, in his own fears, and always wanted Beck to be the one to give, so much so that he never tried to think about how his decisions were affecting Beck in the long run. Sure, he noticed when he hurt Beck but would then grab hold of his own dread and focus on that instead. When Beck would put his foot down, Cal would push him away or create distance. It was immature and I felt for Beck so much as he tried to navigate what was happening, all the while trying to figure out what to do for his future.
This wasn’t quite the enemies-to-lovers story I had hoped for, but I suppose it still could be classified as one. That’s more just a personal preference on this particular trope—I salivate for lots and lots of disagreements, confrontations and anger on the part of the MCs. One of my favorite things is to read the explosive confrontations and drama, all the while having a nice slow-burn as the characters grow to something more, and slowly figure out their attraction to one another. Though Beck and Cal, in the beginning of the story, feel anger towards each other (from their time as teenagers), and there is one main confrontation, the dynamic changes very quickly from antagonistic and volatile to sweet moments. There really are only two real instances where the enemies part shows itself in the present, and the internal dialogue has both of them thinking about how good looking the other happened to be from the get-go. I guess, for me, the anger and tension just wasn’t quite believable to the whole being adversaries in the present. Maybe if there was a wee bit more exploration and time spent on page in their treatment of each other during their teenage years, I would have found that aspect more believable.
That’s not to say there isn’t a fair amount of drama, though. There is, it just wasn’t as focused on the enemies part as I had thought. Cal and Beck face intolerant townsfolk, nosy yet well-meaning friends, plenty of misunderstandings, as well as just straight up stubbornness by one of the protagonists.
Though not what I had expected, I still found the story to be well written and entertaining, with engaging characters and a nice foundation for a new series.
You can buy Down on the Farm here: