Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Frank Greerson and Gregory Young have been discharged from the Army and are headed to their childhood homes. They both defied their parents in 1861 when they joined the Army. After battling southern rebels and preserving the Union of the United States of America, the two men set out to battle the Kansas Prairie and build a life together. Once they find their claim, they encounter common obstacles to life on the Kansas Prairie in 1866: Native Americans, tornadoes, wild animals, and weather.
When a prairie fire destroys their crops and takes their neighbor’s lives, Frank and Gregory are instructed to find their young son’s aunt. Faced with leaving a destroyed claim, the railroad coming through their land, and dwindling funds, Frank and Gregory must decide whether to leave the place they have worked hard to make their own or fulfill their friends’ dying wishes.
When I first started into A Place to Call Their Own the pacing and style of the story was at once both so different from all the other stories I’ve read (or am reading) and yet so oddly familiar as well. It was in the matter of fact tone of the narration, the “plain speaking” manner of its characters, and the precisely lived hours of their days that Dean Pace-Frech lays out for us that niggled at my brain, telling me I recognized, not the story or characters, no…but the old style, slower approach of storytelling and the affection for the past in the author’s heart.
Then it hit me…the author already laid it out for us…right at the beginning…something I had glossed over too quickly.
“Six miles beyond them, two bachelors were living in one house. They had taken two farms, and built the house on the line between them…they cooked and ate together in the middle of the house.” —Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie
Dean Pace-Frech may have used that quote from my beloved Laura Ingalls Wilder as inspiration but maybe he loved the matter of fact every day descriptions too. For some of A Place to Call Their Own conjures up visions of the Little House on the Prairie sage, M/M style, in a wonderful way, making history alive again through the lives of two men who love one another.
As we enter the story, Frank Greerson and Gregory Young are already a couple, albeit a hidden one, and have decided on a course of action, taking their savings and heading out to the 1861 Kansas territory and making a land grab for the free land where they figure they can be themselves, a “safe” couple.
Their back story will come along later. Its their journey, their relatives, their wagons, cows, building the cabin, interaction with the local Osage Indians, that will have a lovely (and well researched ) feel. The author includes the expansion of the railroad and the Homestead act and the villainy associated with claim jumping. Such a life always included its perils, and angst. And both young men still have much growing up to do, even having served in the Civil War and survived.
This story is low on sex and high on love and survival, in a place where they find that having used their energy to make an extra bed in their first prairie house just might ensure that their reputations stay intact enough for their neighbors to lend them a hand when necessary.
I sank into this story much that same as I did the Little House in the Prairie books and when I came to the end, I was saddened to see that there was not another waiting for me so I could know how the journey continues for Frank and Gregory and others. That was really my only issue here, that the story ends too abruptly.
I hope that Dean Pace-Frech will consider taking it further, letting us know what the next leg in their journey was and how it turned out. A new M/M Western Historical Saga is just the thing I’ve been looking for. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Consider A Place to Call Their Own by Dean Pace-Frech a story I absolutely recommend if you love historical stories and a look into the past. Or even are, as I am, totally fond of Little House on the Prairie. Pick this up, and prepare to fall in love all over again.
Cover art by Written Ink Designs. I like the cover but its too generic and I could swear I’ve seen it used before.
Sales Links: JMS Books LLC | Amazon
Kindle Edition, 156 pages
Published May 31st 2015 by JMS Books LLC (first published July 1st 2012)