Gus Meade is ready for a change in his life. So when Sam, someone he’s been talking to for four years online, suggests he pack up everything and move across the country to be with him, Gus is ready. He plans and plots with Sam, sinks all his money into buying an abandoned train depot, and gets on a plane. And half way there, he finds out that Sam isn’t who he thought. At all.
Gus is devastated, but he also has no choice but to pull himself up. He has nothing left in the world except the derelict train depot, and he’s determined to make his life work. The residents of tiny Fairville, Vermont are welcoming and helpful. And before Gus realizes it, he’s made friends.
And then there’s James. Kind, funny, sweet, attractive James. Who jumps in to help Gus, and doesn’t keep his attraction a secret. As they work to get the train depot into shape, James and Gus fall in love. And Gus finds the home he’s been longing for.
This story is a really cute, sweet read. It’s not without its problems, but I enjoyed the characters and thought the whole premise was a fun idea. I liked that Gus, though devastated by finding out Sam wasn’t who he thought, still made the best of the situation. He wasn’t going to let this set back destroy him. I also really liked that the town came together to help Gus out. At first, it was a little strange. A whole bunch of people seemed to be able to forget about their daily lives and just work on the train depot…and several of them didn’t care about getting paid for their work, willing to wait until Gus was solvent again. This seemed totally ridiculous at first, but one line from a secondary MC put it all into perspective for me, and I was able to roll with it.
James was a fun character as well. He’s instantly attracted to Gus, and since he’s ready to change his life too, he jumps in with both feet. Not only to put his expertise to work on the train depot, but with Gus as well. Their connection was cute, and I liked their interactions. The book is told from Gus’s first person POV, so we don’t get to know James as well as I’d have liked, but these guys work together.
But there were a couple of things that didn’t work as well for me. The first was the whole Sam/catphishing thing. Admittedly, it was one of the draws of the book for me, as I liked the idea of Gus changing his whole life, only to find out he’d been catphished and still making his life the best it could be. However, there ended up being a whole extra layer to this plot point that didn’t work for me at all. Sam isn’t who he said he was, either the first or second times, and…I found it too over the top and a little unnecessary. Perhaps if it had been explored further, I wouldn’t have had such an issue with it. But it didn’t work for me as is.
The second issue I had was that the writing and pacing got rather choppy in places. This was jarring as a reader, as everything would be flowing smoothly and then time would speed up and sentences and thoughts wouldn’t have the same connectivity. I liked that Gus and James were taking things slowly, sorta, but I had trouble with some of the weird phrasing and time jumps. It broke up the read for me, and brought down my enjoyment.
So overall, this is a cute fun read. There’s very little angst here, just a few gray moments that give the tale some weight. There were a few things that didn’t work for me, but on the whole, it was a good read.