Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North
Acquired how: ebook ARC via netgalley
Connor is a photographer from the big city come to a small town to sell the land he’s inherited; Jed is the tenant farmer on that land. The set up at the beginning is very similar to many m/f romance novels I read when I was younger, but of course dealing with Connor’s suppressed grief and both their paralysing fear of homophobia in a small town mean the story takes a very different turn.
I thought this was well written. Vanessa North has a lovely prose style. The language was delightful to read and the characterisation clear and charming. However, it was a hard read for me – sometimes you just happen to be reading the wrong book for you at the wrong time. I often struggle with stories set in rural towns because I lived in a rural town as a small child and being sent back there emotionally by reading a story this immersive can make me feel a little claustrophobic. The way Connor was both dealing and not dealing with his grief was a litle too close to home, too.
Which is not to say I didn’t like it! I did, and I very much appreciate that the obligatory break up moment isn’t over a big misunderstanding but is instead about a problem between them that at that point they cannot yet resolve. Of course, this is a romance novel, so we know how it ends – and Connor and Jed are so lovely together that it was charming, if somewhat bitter-sweet, ending.
However, I did feel like the sex scenes read very much like hundreds of other sex scenes I’ve read. While they do reveal things about the characters and the relationship, they also very much feel like I’ve read sex scenes with the same rhythms and course of action before. Downside of genre familiarity, I guess.
I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read a gentle story about normal people who deal with sadness and fear and work hard to be honest and sincere with each other! In case that wasn’t clear.