Rating: 5 stars
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Country singer Willie Meadows is tired. He is tired of the fame and the lifestyle that comes with it, he is tired of the hangers on and he is tired of living in houses that don’t feel like home. Mostly, he is tired of feeling like a fake, of singing songs about being a cowboy when he can’t even ride a horse. On impulse, Willie buys a small ranch in Wyoming, hoping the change in location will bring him a home, a connection to the land in the songs he wants to write, and a return to being Wilson Edwards, his real name.
Steve Peterson is desperate, hungry, out of gas, and out of money. After escaping his father and a cult’s attempt to deprogram Steve of his gayness, he arrives at the ranch expecting to find a job promised to him by the previous owner, unaware the ranch had been sold, and his job gone. Devastated, he sneaks into the barn, hoping just for a warm place to stay for the night.
Wilson finds Steve and sees a young man who is barely hanging on. Steve is shaking from the cold and hunger and when the dilapidated truck he is driving dies at the end of the ranch’s driveway, Wilson decides to give him a job helping around the ranch and looking after it while Wilson is on the road performing. After the band’s road trip, Wilson returns home to find Steve training horses for his neighboring ranchers and the ranch alive once more. Wilson loves seeing horses on the land, and watching Steve brings up all the feelings he has put aside in the name of fame.
As Steve and Wilson find their mutual attraction leading into a relationship, both men find their past rising up to block their future together. Steve’s father and his followers find him, threatening to pull him away from the home and people he had come to love unless he can stand up to them. Wilson too must make some decisions. He has stayed closeted all these years in fear of losing his fan base and his band. But now he could lose Steve, who won’t be someone’s dirty little secret. Can both men find the strength they need and finally come home to love?
It had been a while since I had read one of Andrew Grey’s books and for the life of me I can’t figure out why I have let this terrific writer’s recent books go unread. I loved A Foreign Range, which is the fourth book in the Range series, and will now go running back to start at the beginning. But if you are like me and haven’t read the previous books, don’t worry, it isn’t necessary to read those in order to love this one. All the wonderful elements I associate with Grey’s writing are here. Real characters, locations described with great feeling and depth, and emotional turning points in peoples lives dealt with sensitivity and warmth.
Wilson Edwards and Steve Peterson are two great main characters whose disparate lifestyles highlight their superficial differences while their true natures and similar values pull them together. Grey does a wonderful job with this dichotomy of status while he is endearing Wilson and Chris to us in scene after heartbreaking scene. Both men seemed so real to me from the very beginning, and their emotional rollercoaster ride to a shared home and love went straight into my heart. Grey has a deft touch with creating layered, multidimensional characters and Steven and Wilson are prime examples. Secondary characters also stand up to close scrutiny. I loved Maria, Wilson’s housekeeper, and her daughter, Alicia, is an adorable young character capable of giving the viewer a change in viewpoint of the events and relationships. Howard, Wilson’s friend and manager, could have easily stayed a one-note villain he appears to be at the beginning of the story but the author shows us that Howard is real person and that his actions, however flawed, are those of a friend and agent who wants the best for Willy the star if not for Wilson the person.
And then there is the setting, Wyoming’s wide open spaces that come complete with tornados as it does with the peace, quiet and sounds of nature that speak to your soul and replenish it. I understood those passages even though it has been years since I set foot on Wyoming soil. Andrew Grey really gets it and then writes it in a manner that lets the reader feel it as well, even if they have never been there.
So, yes, I loved this book. I will go back and now read the others in the series, but no matter what I find there, A Foreign Range will always have a space in my heart. Pick this one up, I think you will find that you will feel the same.
THE RANGE STORIES
A Shared Range
A Troubled Range
An Unsettled Range
A Foreign Range
Cover. Cover Artist is Reese Dante who hits all my buttons with this one. Gorgeous men, palomino horse, and beautiful colors. Sigh. Loved this!