Reviewed by Donna
TITLE: Cultivating Love
AUTHOR: Addison Albright
PUBLISHER: JMS Books
LENGTH: 130 Pages
RELEASE DATE: June 24, 2017
A man of few words, Joe is a hard-working farmhand who likes his simple, uncomplicated life. Ed is satisfied with his existence as an auto mechanic, but thrilled when an unexpected development in his life allows him to help Joe realize a dream.
It forces them, however, to reevaluate the casual, undefined nature of their relationship. They’re too macho to speak of love, and neither would acknowledge he doesn’t really mind when it’s his turn to bottom. When life throws them a curve ball, and the rules of their game get old, Ed tries to take every aspect of their relationship up a notch. Can Joe adapt to the open sentimentality Ed’s injecting into their relationship, let alone the new spice in their bedroom activities?
NOTE: This is a previously published story that has been rewritten, expanded, and re-edited.
I first read this book years ago, when it was released through a different publisher. I continue to re-read it at least once a year, and I love it even more each time. Now that the author has expanded this edition (can you say…perfect epilogue) this was my favourite re-read yet.
Joe and Ed are “manly men”. Ed is a mechanic and Joe is a farmhand who dreams of one day owning his own farm. The two men have been together for several years, their relationship well established and routine, although enjoyable. That routine is thrown into a spin upon the arrival of a letter informing Ed of the death of his father. A father that he believed died before his birth. A father who has left his farm to his only child, Ed. Excited by the opportunity to give Joe his dream, and confused by the family secrets that are being brought to light, Ed and Joe pack up their lives and decide to give small town living a go.
I just love Joe and Ed so goddamn much. Both are the strong and silent type, the kind of man who worries about how being gay affects his man-card. There are so many aspects of their sexual relationship that they aren’t comfortable with – bottoming, giving blowjobs, snuggling, even simply having sex face to face. All that stuff could be considered to weaken their masculinity, and they aren’t suppose to like doing it. But the author did such a great job of conveying the awkward thoughts and emotions behind their beliefs that these characters who could easily have come across as prejudice, were instead endearing. There’s nothing I like more in one of my go-to comfort reads than big tough guys who are actually caring softies.
There is little conflict in the story, and I appreciated that the small town was largely accepting of the gay couple. Of course, there’s always that one guy…but much of the story focused on Joe and Ed together, learning how to share their feelings with one another. Actually, I made that storyline sound kinda lame, but I assure you, if you’re looking for an angst free, feel good read, then you can’t go wrong with this. Readers are always complaining that male main characters never talk out their problems or discuss how they’re feeling. Well this book is about Joe and Ed facing their self-prejudices and doing just that.
I’m not normally a fan of books with already established couples, I usually feel as though I’ve missed part of the story, but I never get that feeling with Cultivating Love. I absolutely recommend this to anyone in the need for a slice of happy in their life.