cherry pieRating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

When John Ford packed his things and moved from L.A. to Mercury, North Carolina, it was a means to an end. The loss of the love of his life hit him hard, even harder when he discovered things he never expected. But restoring the old house in Mercury is cathartic. It gives John plenty of time to think and move on. If only he knew where or how to move on. Then he wakes up one morning and a stranger is sitting under a tree across from his house.

Conner Meecham was Mercury’s golden boy when he was younger. All-American football player turned college star, Conner got out of Mercury the first chance he got, looking for something bigger and better. But when an injury sidelined him, eventually forcing him to quit school, Conner fell into a dark hole and it took something drastic to open his eyes. A year ago, when his mother died, Conner wanted to return to Mercury, but he wasn’t ready. But he is now. Except there’s a man living in his mother’s house.

At first John isn’t sure what to make of Conner’s arrival, claiming he just wants to take a look at his mother’s house, but he lets him in anyway. Then he takes him to town to a shelter. Then he gives him a job and his spare room, which happens to be Conner’s old room. Life in Mercury is that of a small town and when old friends begin showing up, Conner realizes Mercury isn’t as bad as he once thought. And having John around only makes it better.

John isn’t sure want to make of Conner, the man who wouldn’t know what commitment was if it hit him in the face. As the tension between them heats up, John and Conner learn more about each other and themselves than they ever expect. All while sharing their lives over Conner’s mother’s award winning cherry pie.

Oh guys! This story comes out of nowhere and hits you where it counts. I’ll be honest. For me it started pretty slow and there’s way more telling than showing and there was a point that I just about gave up, but then the author picks up the pace and turns the story around with some small town drama and big time secrets. Cherry Pie (no relation to the song, though I cannot get it out of my head now) is a story of two men on two different roads in life meeting up in the town of Mercury, North Carolina. But it’s more than that. It’s a story about a formerly prosperous town, now in dire need of help, but still strong in community and friendship.

These guys are so sad. Geez. Like I said, it took me a little bit to get a read on them, but wow, they’re a little depressing in the beginning, and it’s probably why all the telling was that much more difficult to take. That being said, there is a turning point and I know after my description so far, you’re probably wondering how in the world I could like these guys so much. Well, here’s why: I love broken characters. And Conner Meecham is about as broken as they get. He left Mercury to get away from small town ideas and to live openly, to find himself, but he found out the grass isn’t always greener. Life happens to Conner and he accepts it, accepts himself, and moves on. Then there’s John. I don’t want to give away too much about his background, but he lost the love of his life to the war and then everything he thought he knew was suddenly untrue. His only solace comes in the form of his house. I love his patience and determination with Conner. He gives and compromises and doesn’t really expect anything in return. And again, I don’t want to give anything away, but the scene at the beach house and the following event. God, I love it.

Another thing that is wonderful about this story is the town of Mercury. From Toby (Conner’s former best friend and John’s realtor) and his family, to Miss Priss (ruler of the roost of Mercury), even the sheriff, this author builds a town that is a close knit community where everybody knows everybody. It adds a great depth to Conner’s and John’s story. At some point, Mercury and Conner and John turn a corner and become a big family. And the way they congregate to gossip around cherry pie cracks me up. It’s quaint and endearing at the same time.

And this story. I said already that it starts off slow; that has a lot to do with the tell/show ratio, but at the turning point—somewhere around the time that Conner and John accept their attraction to one another—the story picks up and becomes this beautiful picture of the broken healing the broken. And they make mistakes—Lord, do they make mistakes—but it’s the way they handle them that makes their relationship and this story so powerful.

I loved this story. So much. The emotional ups and downs, the hurt and healing, and the give and take of John and Conner’s relationship is just plain good. But I couldn’t overlook the slow telling start. And to be honest, the telling spans throughout the entire book, but the story does pick up and surprisingly makes up for it in some ways. So yes, I loved this story and I wish I could rate it higher, but just know that once I got past the 33% point, I couldn’t put it down. Even with the low points, I definitely recommend Cherry Pie by Samantha Kane

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