home grownRating: 2 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novella

Week in and week out, farmer Ethan Hart counts on seeing Peter at the farmer’s market. He doesn’t know if the man is gay, but just seeing his smile and having a decent conversation with him can sometimes be enough. Peter shows up to talk tomatoes and cheese and Ethan can hardly take his eyes of the man. Then Ethan mentions his Berkshire pigs and Peter’s interest is piqued, as he loves Berkshire bacon. Before Ethan can stop himself, he invites Peter out to the farm to take a look around.

Peter Stevens loves good food, but that’s not the only reason he visits Ethan’s produce stand every week. Something about the man calls to him, so when Ethan invites him to the farm, Peter jumps at the opportunity to spend more time with the farmer. After a day of watching and waiting, Peter makes his move. A kiss, short and sweet.

But Ethan is hesitant to start anything with Peter because he’s certain Peter is far out of his league and it’s only a matter of time until the man figures it out. But as they spend more time together, Ethan finds himself opening up to the idea of something with Peter. Until the day Peter’s ex shows up and ruins it all. Heartbroken, Ethan spirals into depression, while Peter tries to pick up the pieces of his life and hopefully the relationship he was building with Ethan.

Let me start off by saying I love me a farmer—southern, northern, Midwestern, or anywhere in between; vegetable, chicken, dairy, a combo, or something more. I’ve grown up around it my whole life, and yes, farming automatically equals sexy in my book. So of course, the second I saw that this book is about a farmer I dove in. Let’s just say that the tomatoes and the cover are this book’s greatest attractions. Everything else was simply too predictable or unable to hold my interest.

I felt absolutely no connection to these characters. In fact, I was annoyed by them more than anything. I’m going to try and be delicate here because I know the repercussions of abuse—physical, sexual, and emotional. Ethan suffered a level of trauma at the hands of his semi-abusive, asshole ex-boyfriend when he was eighteen-years old. This book takes place ten years later, and the man has yet to date, have sex, or really look at another man. (As a side note, he wasn’t raped.) From what the author describes, he was more mentally abused, although he was used for the sexual exploits of the ex. So yes, I get that he was traumatized, but seriously, I don’t see any of what the author describes in this story meriting a decade of celibacy. And then we have Peter. Peter is some sort of big time advertising guy who was in a prior relationship a few years back with a man who cheated on him, then practically stalked him. So that’s Peter’s background. Now Peter is in a budding relationship with Ethan and the next thing we know, Peter’s ex has tracked him down—how? That question is never answered—and is threatening to tell all Peter’s dirty secrets. These secrets? [spoiler]Peter—lovely, refined, rich Peter—comes from the wrong side of the tracks. Gasp. I know. I’m wondering at what point Peter and the author thought this would be a big deal to a farmer who literally lives hand to mouth.[/spoiler] I was not impressed.

Not even the supporting cast held my interest. They’re flat and bossy. The ladies want to mother Ethan and the 4-year-old kid was oddly un-toddler-like. And don’t even get me started on Jay, Peter’s ex. He’s petty, rude, and snobbishly arrogant. Peter says he was different when they got together, but gives no example of how. I had a hard time finding the slightest bit of likability for anyone in this book, to be honest.

And then the author presents secondary plots that feel forced and strange. Like Peter coming out at work. This was a big deal to him at one point, then it gets lost and muddled in the confusion with the ex. Then one guy he works with already knows he’s gay but another earlier character has no idea because he keeps a stock photo of a happy family (supposedly his happy family, the liar) on his desk. See my confusion?

Overall, I’m not a fan of this one. I was obviously hoping for more, but it just didn’t deliver. Although there is a bitch of a goat that is quite hilarious, but she’s not worth reading the whole book for. Unfortunately, this not a book I am going to recommend.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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