Author: Vanessa NorthSeries: standalone
Released: November 28th 2015
Length: 188 pages
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.
Vanessa North’s books are always such quite wonders, studies of melancholy with superb characterization. The honesty of her prose makes her books a rare find, and her rich style consistently leaves me in awe. Her two-book Lake Lovelace series is one of my genre favorites, and Blueberry Boys easily joined that list.
On the surface, this seems like a fairly simple story about two men with deep hurts and a whole lot of love. But once Vanessa North starts exploring those hurts, all kinds of things come to light and the story proves to be anything but simple or superficial. She explores these characters deeply and efficiently, giving us a complete picture and two characters we never want to leave.
Unlike Jed, Connor spent his life in the open, but it was so hard for him to be accepted and loved for who he was. His family rejected him and the people of his small town made him feel like an outcast until he finally left and never looked back. Now that he’s finally returned, things are mostly changed, but in some ways they are just the same, and Connor needs to find within himself the strength to forgive and to separate his present from his past.
Blueberry Boys packs a strong punch for such a brief novel (or a longish novella). North unfailingly delivers strong emotions, even in her shorter works. There is very little relationship angst here, but both men go through difficult journeys. Blueberry Boys is a novel I highly recommend to fans of the genre and those who are new to it.