Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Mistakes were made, that’s for sure. But was it the night of passion? Or walking away afterward? That’s the question Seamus Williams must face when he gets a late-night phone call from someone he never expects to hear from again.
“I miss you, Shay.”
Chancey Bo Clearwater is a cowboy through and through. He spends his days finding work on whatever ranch will take him and his nights at the pool hall. He’s always done what needed doing and never thought much about what he wanted. ’Til that drunken night with Seamus.
A world of problems now stand between Seamus and Chancey exploring what might have been, the least of which being the Atlantic Ocean. On one side, there’s Chancey’s daughter who mood swings from angel to demon in two seconds flat; on the other, there’s the new lodger, hogging Shay’s telly and his cornflakes, and making private Skype time hard to come by.
Is this relationship doomed before it ever begins? Or can a surprise announcement from Seamus’s brother be enough to help the two find their second chance?
Several things drew me to Where the Grass is Greener. I was familiar with Raine O’Tierney, one of the authors and loved her writing. It involves lovers divided, a favorite trope of mine, and one of the settings is Ireland. Be still my heart! Where the Grass is Greener pretty much fulfilled my expectations for the story, the romance and exceeded it for the characters. Oh those wonderful characters.
Where the Grass is Greener by Debbie McGowan and Raine O’Tierney is the sequel to Leaving Flowers, a story I haven’t read and didn’t need to. This novel really does work as a standalone. Having said that I will go back and read the first story. I am curious to see what parts it fills in here. At the start of the story, the story’s initial framework leaves a new reader open to so many questions. All of which could be made more substantial by laying in a little more history. Chancey Bo Clearwater is a divorced father of one, a ranch hand by job description, doing what he has to keep himself and his thirteen year old daughter afloat. Irishman Seamus Williams,temporarily in the States, was another ranch hand on the same ranch. They dance around each other during the duration of Seamus’ stay, each being in the closet, have a night of passion, and then Seamus returns home to Ireland full of regrets, leaving Chancey behind full of the same.
This section of the story feels fleeting and their relationship up to then hard to get a handle on. Then that phone call comes.
“I miss you, Shay.”
The men slowly reconnect through a serious of shaky phone calls and Skype sessions, sometimes hilarious, full of misunderstandings, bad signals, raw emotions, and frustrations. Especially of the distance they have put between themselves.
The authors give us duel points of view, necessary when you have men on two continents. Chancey dealing with his country singer ex wife and his thirteen year old daughter along with his love for Shay in Ireland. And Shay in his small village in Ireland, in his falling down cottage, trying to figure out his life and where he belongs, now that Chancey has come back into his life, at least in a long distance way. Shay’s village life is vibrant, alive in the way that small town “in every body’s business” life can be. Especially if you grew up there and are now trying to reintegrate yourself back into village life and still be gay.
The picture we get of Chancey’s life is more focused, down to his family unit of father and daughter and their troubled dynamics. His self centered wife sees only herself and her career, the daughter is at stressful age, poised between child and grownup, with emotions going haywire. Chancey becomes someone we can understand, even connect with because he’s trying so hard to protect his daughter, be the “good dad”, even if it means giving up on love, remaining stuck and alone.
McGowen and O’Tierney build a strong relationship between Chancey and Shay based on conversation and yes, Skype sex. The authors string threads of connections throughout the story from reader to the men’s growing relationship, to Michael, the young Irishmen thrown out by his family when he comes out as gay, to Chance’s daughter, Dee, so fierce and amazing to other secondary characters so strong and supportive you can’t help but wish for more of them as well.
Where the Grass is Greener is a novel that gets gains in depth and heart the longer it goes on. The narrative moved back and forth from the States to Ireland, gathered up more characters, picked up steam and got better as it headed towards the end until I just wanted to say, no, you can’t end it here! I had fallen completely under everyone’s spell and now I wanted to know how it all turned out. I want more. I want book three.
McGowen and O’Tierney have really hit on something here. They have a cast that has so much heart and staying power, and the ability to bring in others around them that can realistically move out into their own stories. So that I hope that more novels will follow, specifically Michael’s.
Now I plan to head back and pick up Leaving Flowers and see where it all started. I will let you know what I find. Until then, do what I did, and grab up Where the Grass is Greener. Get to know Chancey and Seamus and Dee. Its a wonderful story and I think its only the beginning, one I highly recommend.
Where the Grass is Greener is book two of ‘Seeds of Tyrone’ and features characters from Leaving Flowers , but can be read independently.
Cover art by Debbie McGowan is perfect for the story and characters,I loved it.