Reviewed by Alexander
AUTHOR: Vanessa North
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH:4 hours, 22 minutes
NARRATOR: Tobias Silversmith
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.
I liked quite a few things about Blueberry Boys, like the basic premise, how North brought the characters together, the use of secondary characters to advance the plot, for example. I also found things that seemed off, like how Connor’s brother suddenly “repents” for being an a##hole all those years, and most importantly how Jed takes the impending loss of his rented blueberry farm with such a lack of emotion.
Now once I got past that last one, I could see the gradual build up of Connor and Jed’s romance, and really liked their dynamic. Connor was such a patient and understanding guy as they navigated their attractions and Jed’s closeted status. I never doubted their feelings for each other once that one hurdle was crossed (yes, that’s three times that I have mentioned it…it really bugged me).
Something that I don’t frequently spend much time on are the secondary characters. In Blueberry Boys, the secondary characters played an integral part in the guys’ relationship. Seeing the dynamic between Jed and his family, and Connor and his brother added a great deal of depth to the characters and story, but also added to the backstory in a natural way.
An audiobook pet peeve of mine is when the narrator is not age appropriate to the characters…yes, you can see where this is going. Although Silversmith did a good job with the narration, he has a very young and energetic voice, while both Connor and Jed were older, and this caused a disconnect for me. Admittedly, Silversmith’s portrayal of Jed and his stutter was brilliant, I could not get past Connor’s description versus his voice. Technically, the performance was good, even if I found the pace a bit fast, but at least the diction and pronunciation were not affected by the “just a little too fast” way that the story was narrated.