Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.25 stars
Narrator: Tobias Silversmith
Length: 4 hours, 25 minutes
Blueberry Boys has been reviewed here previously, and I share Jay’s love for the story.
Connor Graham is an out, gay 32-year-old fashion photographer in NYC. He’s put away his many years of isolation and anguish from his youth in a small Massachusetts town. Connor hasn’t been back in a decade, not since his mother’s funeral, but now his Uncle Bruce has died and Connor must return for the funeral and to help broker the sale of the family blueberry farm Bruce left to him and his elder half-brother, Scott. There he meets Jed Jones, the tenant farming Bruce’s land.
The attraction is instant, though Connor would never initiate a connection here; Jed’s not likely to be gay.
Jed is a lanky man with a sweet personality and a heavy stutter. He’s deeply religious, yet becoming disenchanted with the local church where more and more of the sermons are less about the Bible and decidedly anti-gay. And, that’s a problem because Jed knows that he is gay—even if he’s only shared that secret with one other person.
Despite their differences, Jed and Connor strike up a friendship, and a passionate love affair. It’s complicated by the impending sale of the farm and possible removal of Jed’s income. Jed prefers the quiet of farming, but Connor is a quiet man also, and he has the patience to give Jed room to speak in his own time. Jed invites Connor to stay at the farmhouse, and Connor agrees. While staying for the summer, Connor organizes a photo shoot on the land—it’s openly homo-erotic, and sparks something deep and needy in Jed.
Jed doesn’t plan to come out, ever, to his conservative family, but spending time with Connor shines a spotlight on him. Instead of shying away and directly lying, he admits his sexuality, which causes a rift. It’s so bittersweet, as Connor won’t be at the farm long and Jed has no plans to leave.
I enjoyed Jed’s slow transition toward self-acceptance. I also like the bits of religion that were present. Jed finds his family confused, and angry in some cases, but he does have some support, and his new minister is a pleasant woman who is gay-friendly, in accordance with the new doctrine. It really helps Jed feel comfortable and gives him the courage to visit Connor in New York, and to imagine a new life where he could live openly and still find a livelihood. It’s an HEA and a solid and enjoyable romance.
This is a sweet and tender story. I really enjoyed it as an audiobook. The narrator’s voice demonstrates a wide range of tones, which is particularly necessary because there are many female parts, and Silversmith makes excellent attempts at variation. Jed’s stutter came through clearly, and that made him feel real to me. Unfortunately, Connor’s voice sounded a little young. The pacing was excellent to me, and I found I didn’t have to speed up the playback at all, which isn’t always the case when I listen to audiobooks. The volume is steady and had no fluctuations, which made it easy for me to follow along. I can’t say enough about the moments of intimacy Jed and Connor share; they are very steamy.