Title: Then the Stars Fall
Author: Brandon Witt
Narrator: Andrew McFerrin
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release: 28th April 2015
Length: 12 hrs and 21 mins
Genre: M/M (contemporary)
The death of his wife four years earlier left Travis Bennett a shell of the man he used to be. With his dog by his side, Travis raises his three children, manages his business, and works as a ranch hand. But every day, every minute, is an aching emptiness.
Wesley Ryan has fond memories of the small Ozark town of El Dorado Springs. Seeing it as a safe place to put his failed relationships behind him, Wesley moves into his grandparents' old home and takes over the local veterinary clinic. An early morning visit from Travis and his dog stirs feelings that Wesley seeks to push away - the last thing he needs is to fall for a man with baggage and three kids as part of the package.
Life, it seems, has other plans.
WOW – what a saga this story is. When I use the word saga I mean it positively as this story is of epic proportions. It deals with a whole number of complicated issues and emotions, keeping me invested in Travis’s and Wesley’s story all the way. It’s a slow burn romance and this was very fitting for such a story as anything else would not have been credible.
First of all lets take a look at Travis. Travis has lost his wife to cancer and even though it was four years ago he is still grieving and misses her everyday. Of course due to this his children haven’t had it easy ether without their mother so Travis’s sister, Wendy, moves in to help. The light has gone out of Travis’s life and believes that it will never return. Travis is bi and even though his late wife new this it didn’t stop her from marrying him and having a family. Travis’s qualities are truly admirable! He’s bi but for him it means that once you have fallen in love and made that final commitment to one person, then there is no more looking around. Although he is bi the town where he lives doesn’t know, the only other person to know his secret, apart from his late wife, is his sister Wendy. What a force of nature Wendy is! I loved her from the moment I met her and my continued admiration for this women continued throughout the whole story. Wendy is key and plays many crucial roles, mother to Travis’s children, upbeat and open minded in small town America, is true to herself and takes no shit from anyone. That also includes her brother who needs a slap or two at times to give him a wake up call.
Wesley is the new vet in town. This by default introduces the theme of pets, but even Travis’s dog plays a key role in understanding Travis’s emotions. It’s first through the dog we glimpse Travis’s emotions and they are buried so deep that no one knows the true turmoil going on with Travis. the dog becomes the catalyst for the first meeting between Wesley and Travis. Wesley has moved back to his grandparent’s house from Kansas and is taking time out after a breakup from his ex. Wesley is openly gay and this in a small rural town. He makes no apologies for who he is, however, the prejudices and small mindedness of some people are all too evident. Some people are suspicious, some outright nasty and then there is Wendy and Travis. You would think it would be the last place someone like Wesley would want to move to. What he doesn’t reckon with is Travis. Of course when you’re having to deal with suspicion and bigotry in a small community then it always helps to have an ally or friend that is already settled in. This is exactly where Wendy proves to be invaluable.
There is a whole myriad of emotions, attitudes and political themes including the worst kind of bigotry to contend with running through this book. Everything you would no doubt have to contend with living in a small rural community. The romance and love that develops between Travis and Wesley is something truly beautiful. Starting out, not quite as enemies, but definitely as far a cry from insta-love as you can get. There are many issues that need to be worked through on both sides. Can Wesley ever really fit into such a community? Can Travis even contemplate coming out to everyone? Can Wesley get involved with someone who is still grieving and has three children? Can Travis even think about falling in love again? Can the love they have for each other even have a chance in this small community under these circumstances? Well, Brandon Witt does a wonderful job in providing all the solutions necessary with patience and no rushing into things. A romance that becomes a tour de force, is put under every conceivable test but comes out strong and wins respect. A delightful story where I found myself willing Wesley and Travis on to take that first step, to hold on to each other against all odds, against the bigotry and not bend, to get over their own hang-ups and issues, for them to realise what they have is truly special and is worth keeping and fighting for.
Based on the fact that you never love the same way twice, Travis and Wesley come out triumphant. Yes, you can never relight a lost love but a new love, although different, can be just as wondrous and beautiful.
Well, this is a marathon of an audiobook as far listening time goes. Over 12 hours! And to be honest wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the excellent narration from Andrew McFerrin. Easy on the ears but with so many different emotions running through this book he really understands the characters, from upbeat and feisty Wendy, to Travis’s grief and being emotionally stunted, from Travis’s children through to the more detestable characters. Giving the listener each character their own individuality, lifting them off the page and breathing life into them. A job well done.
Meet Brandon Witt
Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.
For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.
The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon's writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.
Connect with Brandon