Title: A Second Harvest (Men of Lancaster County #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Eli Easton (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 1, 2016 – 206 pgs
David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm, married, and had two children. Now with both his kids in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half-lived.
Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now thirty, he figures it’s time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city. He heads to a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to rest, recoup, and reflect.
But life in the country is boring despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie’s creativity latches on to cooking, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd couple finds they really enjoy spending time together.
Christie challenges the boundaries of David’s closed world and brings out feelings he buried long ago. If he can break free of the past, he might find a second chance at happiness.
This is such a sweet romance. It is the story of the collision of cultures when burned out party boy Christie moves to a small town and meets David, a conservative widower and father to two grown children. I loved the complexity of both main characters, I enjoyed the slow, gentle pace of the story and I thoroughly engaged with David’s journey of self-discovery.
This is a second chance romance for both Christie and David, but for David, it is actually his first chance to make deliberate choices about a life that was previously decided for him as a teenager. David’s relationships with his grown children are well observed and carefully written.
I keep using words like slow and gentle to describe this story, but the sexual tension between David and Christie is hot. The friends to lovers connection is a sexy slow burn that eventually explodes.
Having grown up in (and quickly run away from) a Mennonite farming community, I found the religious duty aspect of David’s life very interesting. David’s town is familiarly claustrophobic and David’s struggle with faith is as central to the story as the romance. I found his journey towards self awareness and independence very honest and incredibly moving. However, in fairness to modern Mennonites, David’s church would seem to be one of the more conservative, traditional Mennonite sects. There is a sliding scale of conservative/liberal values within various Mennonite churches, a fact that is only vaguely mentioned at the end of the book.
I really enjoyed this story and recommend it highly.
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a game designer, an organic farmer, an avid hiker, and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.
As an addicted reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.