A MelanieM Review: Stand In Place by Mary Calmes

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

One summer won’t be enough….

Kaenon Geary was done fighting the small minds in his sleepy Texas town when he made his escape and never looked back. But now, for the first time in more than a decade, he’s returned to Braxton to spend the summer with his beloved grandmother—her final summer—and no longer recognizes the home he’d left behind all those years ago.

Everything has changed.

Everything but the man he’s never stopped wanting.

Brody Scott was the local football hero who became a gridiron champ, but he retired from the fast lane to forge a new life as the Chief Constable of Braxton. He longs to put down roots in the community he is now sworn to protect. Though he’s not at all sure he can protect his heart from the quiet, earnest boy he once knew. The boy who has come back a man.

Starting something would be a mistake. Kaenon plans to fly away at summer’s end, but his love is something Brody desperately wants to have…and to keep. Their days together are numbered. Unless some simple hometown magic can make all the right things bloom and show them the true definition of love.

Stand In Place by Mary Calmes is a sort of fantastical mix of romance, forgiveness, family, and love.   Of all sorts.  Familial, friends, houses, gardens, the land they stand on, and of course, romantic love.  All lightly laced through with the aromas and touch of the mystical and magic.  Had that Practical Magic sort of feel about it….sans the murder mystery of course!

It starts with a phone call to Kaenon Geary from his beloved grandmother, asking him to come spring her from the hospital in his home town of Braxton, Texas.    It’s a phone call he can’t and won’t say no to.  Even though the town is a place he has nothing but bad memories and swore he wouldn’t return.  But it’s his grandmother and there’s nothing he won’t do for her.

The setup here is both heartbreaking and life affirming.  It’s about a journey that both looks back, inward,  and, eventually forward.  And it’s all centered in Kaelen who returns to the family, school kids, town who treated him so horrifically when he came out as gay,  All excerpt for his coach, two best friends and his grandparents and Aunt Peg who he went to live with when his parents kicked him out.

The setup is enough to rend one’s heart.  The impending loss of the last person he considers family, the return to the town who beat him for being his true self, and finally having to deal with all the memories and people Kaenon thought were deeply buried in the past.

Then come the gardens, the fireflies, and the magic.

All of which Calmes swirls around her characters like a witch with a wand.  A narrative one at that.

Kaeon is another one of the author’s golden boys she does so well, here given a glow imbued by a land that missed him so.  I believe in that, totally.    Just as I did in the romance between Kaenon and Brody Scott.   And the forgiveness that followed.  Character by character.

Too soon?  Too much forgiveness?  Others will admittedly hate that Kaenon forgave  so easily perhaps , but within this setting and context. I think the author made her case.

Did I want more?  Yes.  Of Aunt Peg, their relationship, the town, even more of Brody and Kaenon but I’m glad it ended where it did.  I didn’t need it to go past the summer and the vibrant return of the garden.  I was content to leave all three right where they were.  In that small house, facing the garden, savoring the summer night and the magic in the air.

And yes, I highly recommend this story.

Cover art: Reese Dante.  Love that cover, perfect for this story.

Sales Links:  Amazon |

Book Details;

Kindle Edition, 311 pages
Published July 17th 2019
Edition Language English

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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