Author: Vanessa North
Narrator: Tobias Silversmith
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release: 20 May 2016
Length: 4 hours and 22 minutes
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
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. Connorhears 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.
I loved Blueberry Boys when I read the book and I really wanted the audiobook to be just as good. I wasn't disappointed. This story is incredibly sweet, quiet and relatively drama free with two main characters that deserve their happy ending.
Connor and Jed are two ordinary guys with the same roots who have, however, followed completely different life paths. Connor is a NY fashion photographer who left his small rural town first chance he got. Being a teenager and out wasn't exactly easy in the small community, so he doesn't regret his decision to leave. His uncle's funeral and the land he just inherited are the only reason he comes back, but then he meets Jed, his shy, stammering tenant farmer, and his homecoming isn't just about social and legal obligations anymore. Jed is a simple man whose first priorities are his family and working the land. Farming has always been his dream, the reason he went to college and his working on his blueberry fields almost make up for all the things that he denies himself. Forced to stay in the closet by his faith and a traumatic past relationship, in Connor he finds comfort and hope. But what future can there be for them if being together means that one of them has to abandon everything he's worked hard for?
I was afraid that Jed's faith issues would put me off since I don't care for religious undertones but I had to give it a go since I trusted the author. It was a great decision since Jed's conflict between who he is and what his church dictates was portrayed exceptionally. Jed is a dedicated man and his struggle to maintain his belief system while claiming a full life where he is true to his dreams and desires, was an integral part of his character's growth. I loved that there wasn't an unrealistic solution , but a gradual and inevitable reconciliation between self and faith. Connor's acceptance of this part of Jed, and his respect for his decision not to be out when he himself is quite the opposite, made me appreciate his character. Connor might be a city boy now, but he knows what he wants. What he sees behind Jed's reserve is true and beautiful and he is not willing to just let it go. Not everything is smooth sailing, and while the story is a low angst one, the obstacles the main characters have to face are real and they have to work for their happy ending.
The secondary characters were remarkably well detailed but the author didn't expand on their stories to the point it would derail the plot. It's a fine line between having a clear image of a side character in order to understand the dynamics, and having a dozen side plots hijacking the main story. This isn't an issue in this case and it's no wonder, since the book as a whole is extremely well written, with attention to detail, and a vivid, flawless pace. I dare anyone to read the first scene and not fall immediately in love with the writing. Vanessa North's affection for her characters and her empathy, is what makes this book a little gem. Deceptively simple, this book is a poignant comment on family ties and small communities. Just beautiful - I loved every word.
The narrator was a perfect fit for the style of the story and he did a great job bringing Jed to life, which could have been tricky due to Jed's stammer. I was sucked into the story as if I was encountering the characters and situations for the first time, even though I had previously read the book which is what, in my opinion, makes a great audiobook. He did an amazing job breathing life into the characters and conveying their feelings. The narration was all I'd hoped for, it felt like I had the images of each sitting in front of my eyes – a great job!
Meet Vanessa North
Author of over a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories, Vanessa North delights in giving happy-ever-afters to characters who don’t think they deserve them. Relentless curiosity led her to take up knitting and run a few marathons “just to see if she could.” She started writing for the same reason. Her very patient husband pretends not to notice when her hobbies take over the house. Living and writing in Northwest Georgia, she finds her attempts to keep a quiet home are frequently thwarted by twin boy-children and a very, very large dog.
Connect with Tobias Silversmith