Eric moved away from the family farm in Vermont to the city. He wanted to get out because he was bullied for being gay and the memories are difficult to live with. One day, when Eric returns from work, he sees his boyfriend (at least he thought he was his boyfriend), Drew, packing up and moving all his things. Drew also has a man with him…a man who actually is his boyfriend. Drew is moving to New York and Eric is completely blindsided. While he’s trying to process this, he gets a call from his Mom. His Dad has had a stroke and they need him to come home to run the farm while his Dad recovers. Eric’s not enthused, but his loyalty to his parents has him taking three weeks off from the bank he works for and heading to Vermont.
Phil is a farmhand for Eric’s family. He knows of Eric because they went to high school together. They weren’t friends, but Phil’s family has been working the farm for years. Phil’s shy, but he’s an excellent worker and keeps the farm running smoothly. When he sees Phil again, he feels an attraction, but he can’t understand why Eric doesn’t like the farm.
As the men spend more time together, they begin a tentative relationship. However, Eric isn’t the only one with a secret. His Mom and Dad have been holding back on him and they need him more than ever. Also, a big misunderstanding comes between Eric and Phil that may stop their blossoming love before it is able to take off. Can Eric and Phil get past these obstacles and begin their lives together? Or will they be too much to bear?
I love prodigal son stories. They make me feel good…if done correctly. Home is Where You Are was done right. I enjoyed it very much. Eric and Phil had a strong chemistry, and even though it wasn’t a long book, it didn’t feel as if they fell for each other at breakneck speed. They gradually went from a bit of jealousy and resentment to getting to know each other, to dating, to bed. All of this was very smooth. It gave me a chance to connect with Eric and Phil. I loved them both, and I especially loved them as a couple.
There was a strong family dynamic that was easy to understand and felt real. Eric’s Mom and Dad were easy going, accepted his sexuality, and loved him unconditionally. I also liked how kind they were to Phil and made him a member of the family. I especially saw this with Phil and Eric’s Mom. She treated Phil like a second son, and when she noticed Eric and Phil becoming closer, she was thrilled and encouraged them. I thought it was really funny when she sent them off on a date and gave them knowing winks because it was obvious they’d be having sex that night. The men were embarrassed, and I laughed out loud.
There were two other stand out background characters other than Eric’s parents: Drew, Eric’s sort of ex, and Darla a great bartender at the local gay bar. Drew was the “bad guy,” but he wasn’t dastardly. Darla was funny and supportive of Eric and Phil. They both filled their roles nicely.
As I mentioned, there is a big misunderstanding in the final quarter of the book. It was well written. It made me sad and a little angry, but it wasn’t drawn out, and it was settled without overtaking the whole plot of the story. The ending was pretty much as expected, and that was fine. It was as it should have been. No surprises, but it left me feeling good. That’s what Home is Where You Are is…a feel good story that will lift your spirits. Also, it will make you want to head to Vermont to see the leaves and have gallons of real maple syrup.
I highly recommend this one.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.