Thursday, September 15, 2016

Vanessa North - Blueberry Boys

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.

Comment: I got interested in this book after reading some positive comments and seeing how well graded the book was in certain places. I got it in my radar and now it was time to get to it. I have to say I wasn't as marveled by it as some other readers seemed to have been.

This is the story of Connor Graham, a young man who returns to his family's farm after his beloved uncle dies. Connor is a successful photographer who hasn't many good memories of his childhood and whose relationship with his brother isn't perfect, mostly because he's gay and successful. The farm, however, has a tenant, Jed Jones, and he has a two year lease yet. Although Connor doesn't plan on owning the land for long, after all, he only wants to leave bad memories behind, can he really make a decision that will affect Jed's livelihood? And does he have more in common with Jed than what he thought?

I understand why this story was successful with many readers. The main characters develop an interesting relationship, share confidences and there's an HEA and hopeful positive changes in their future. Many things to enjoy and I liked that.

However, the story didn't make me eager to read nor amazed by how things were developing. The relationship between Connor and Jed, one of the obvious strengths of the book, wasn't as compelling as I imagined it would.
It was great to see the two guys falling in love but it was at the same time too lacking in passion and too focused on the wrong elements for it to be perfect for me. I mean, the way they fell in love wasn't strong enough in terms of chemistry. I think the way things happened wasn't meaningful enough. I believe they were developing feeling for one another but the way the author wrote it didn't make me think it was as special as that.
The fact we got the focus on several aspects, that should be rightfully the ones they had to bear in mind of course, didn't make their relationship as amazing as I wanted. Yes, they got together, they had to put aside memories but there was no spark in the way we are told things that it almost feels unimportant.

The plot had its moments but the photo shoot at the farm didn't seem realistic, or should I say, didn't strike me as anything else besides a means to make Connor and Jed interact in a situation that would make Jed decide what he wanted. I guess it lacked some harmony in terms of how it was placed in the plot.
The same thing happened with the decision Jed makes towards the end. I get it it has merit but at this point I was still not convinced they meant to be together for it to become more meaningful.
Overall, my sense of this story is that the author didn't put what mattered in evidence and that means that, to me, the story is too bland and almost boring here and there.

There's a religion topic here and I understand how that would influence Jed in his decisions but honestly I couldn't read much interest into it because it just seemed, again, another way to insert feelings and stuff when it wasn't truly well thought.

The secondary characters have their interest but, once more, I wasn't obsessed with none of them and like other readers, I finished the book and immediately thought about the next so, in reality, this didn't leave such an impression. It was the first book by the author I read and perhaps I'm being unfair but I don't feel the need to go and read more of her work.

The HEA was sweet and I liked it, which sort of saved the book, I think it takes guts to just decide something so, great for Jed. But all things considered, this was too plain and too bland for me to keep it in my everlasting memories of a great book...
Grade: 5/10

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