Review: Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North


Title: Blueberry Boys
Author: Vanessa North
Date of publication: 30 Nov 2015
Genre: M/M Romance

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My rating: 4 stars


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've read Vanessa North before and enjoyed both Double Up and The Last Drop. I was immediately attracted to this book because the blurb read a cute small-town romance, just what I needed. And the story didn't disappoint, I had great fun reading this.

It's a lovely slow burn small-town romance, low on angst and drama and with very life-like characters which made it very easy for me to relate to their story.  

Ms. North has a created a rich story with well-drawn complex characters, who are real people with imperfections and flaws, They are not physically perfect, Connor has a slight belly and has struggled with his body issues all his life and Jed's stammer makes even shy and closed-off, limiting his expression of feelings and emotions. 

The small-town setting with the town gossips, Jed's close-knit religious family worked really well for me. I like how Ms North showed her characters immersed and involved in the life of their community - family and small hometown for Jed , the world of male fashion photography for Connor. 

What I liked the best in this story is how real the characters and their struggles felt to me. I appreciate that despite being sweet and cute this story never became sappy. There were these little things that held it safely grounded in reality - family issues, the difficulties of coming out for someone who hates to be the focus of attention, Connor's difficulty at being with someone who is in the closet, the practical side of two people who live and work in different cities coming together.

I liked the religious aspect of the story as well. Religion was important for Jed and I felt happy for him that he found a way to accept his gayness and his belief in God in a way that make him happy and gave him peace and satisfaction. His beliefs were something personal and intimate and the way it was not made flashy and preachy really resonated with me.

I absolutely loved the romance in the story. It was a slow progression from friends to lovers to true partners, overcoming fears and forming deeper connections for both Connor and Jed. Their intimacy grew naturally, at a pace that suited them both. 

The main conflict was also well done, Connor and Jed had personal issues to overcome as well as some rather practical obstacles to being together. Their relationship was a work in progress, the differences between them being there and numerous and they didn't disappeared overnight. Both Connor and Jed wanted to make the relationship work and tried hard to do it. There were the inevitable mistakes but, thankfully no misunderstandings or lack communication to drive them apart.

The story was made even richer and more engaging with a great set of side character. I liked how it all fit together - the big city and the small town, the farmer and the fashion photographer, the male models and the Jed's family. They are so different on the surface but Ms North presents them as people mostly, with strengths and weaknesses and as such they grow and change, make mistakes but also learned from them. 

Overall, it's a sweet, slow burn romance between real people dealing with real issues which I greatly recommend.

Pre-order link: Riptide

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