Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Forrester Giordano comes from a huge, nosy Italian family, and with their homophobic jokes and slurs, he’s decided to stay in the closet. He finds respite in his bookstore in the quaint village of Gilead—where he has a huge crush on one of his customers, Kyle Benson.
Kyle is determined to live his dreams, and though life isn’t easy being deaf, one by one he’s making them come true. He’s scored a great job practicing law, bought a cute bungalow where he can finally have a big flower garden, and he has a dog he loves, Jasper. Now he just needs one thing to complete his happiness: a family of his own to make up for the one he never had.
Forrester and Kyle’s relationship starts off hot and heavy, and neither man can deny the depth of their connection. When Forrester’s little brother gets mixed up with their heroin-dealing cousin and his mother falls ill, Forrester has a decision to make—maybe the hardest of his life. For the first time, he’s found a man worth coming out for.
Unfortunately nothing ever goes according to plan with la famiglia.
I’m just in love with this series and the town by the river, Gilead. After my first introduction,The Rhubarb Patch (Men of Gilead, #1, where we met author Scott Howe and organic farmer Phineas Robertson, I was enamored of place and men. That holds true the second time around. Such a quirky place this Gilead! You never know what you will find there. In this case a huge population of Italians everywhere all coming from one foundation family…that would be the Giordano clan. Home to one Forrester Giordano, also known as Frankie to his huge, extended, and incredibly boisterous Italian family.
Forrester is the odd family member. He left for college away from the family, only managing an escape for a short time until tragedy pulled him back. Now he’s opened the bookstore of his dreams in Gilead, pouring all of himself into it, leaving little of nothing else, except what his family expects him to give to them. The demands on him are huge, and the pressures have kept Forrester firmly in the closet. With Wadsworth’s writing, you absolutely feel for poor Forrester. On one hand he loves his family, and fears losing them if he comes out. One the other? He so wants to be known for himself…Forrester and not the Frankie they call him. He’s an easy character to connect with.
Then Kyle Benson comes into his bookstore and life. Kyle and Jasper really, his Boston terrier. Kyle is deaf and has a profound hurt hiding in his background. It makes trusting people, even when he wants to, close to impossible. But something about Forrester makes Kyle want to try.
Two men, full of complications, past histories, and in one case, pain, find an immediate connection but then have to figure out if they can have more. Because that’s the difficult and adult part. Sex is easy (mostly) but a relationship and HEA? Well, that’s the tricky part as Kyle and Forrester work to navigate not only Forrester’s family dynamics but Kyle’s history.
Deanna Wadsworth did an incredible job with so many elements here. Of particular note is the portrayal of Kyle as a deaf person and how it feels growing up deaf in an audible world, complete with communicating and those in the deaf culture who believe that Kyle’s use of a hearing aid is a betrayal. It rings true and hits hard. Also feeling authentic is the large Italian family and its dynamics that flow around Forrester at all times. Warm, frustrating, loving…and believable.
This is an amazing story in a series that just shines. Take a trip to Gilead today, you can start here or backtrack to the first story and then head here where the first characters make an appearance as well. Now I can’t wait for the next book in the series!
Cover art by Anne Cain is gorgeous, just like the first.
ebook, 324 pages
Expected publication: January 23rd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Series Men of Gilead #2