A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

As is typical of Jay Northcote’s work, this romance is between everyday people going about their everyday lives in the UK—something I always appreciate. In this story, the setting is Wales, and the characters have disabilities unseen to the naked eye. Yes, anxiety, depression, addiction, and recovery from Guillain-Barré Syndrome. A tough subject, but the author does an outstanding job showing all facets of both of their diseases and their work on recovery from past traumas.

Stephen is finally on the road to recovery from the Guillain-Barré Syndrome that has left him too weak to do more than work from home doing small bookkeeping jobs. That suits his reclusive nature, but he deeply hates the fact that his once beautiful garden and lawn is now a tangle of weeds, and he uses his blog to bitterly relate his distress over his loss of mobility. 

Luke is recovering from a breakdown after overuse of drugs and alcohol sent him into a decline. He’s fairly wealthy from the IT company he established, but that intense work is something he can’t currently face and he debates whether he even wants to return to the pressure. His assistant sees an opportunity to link Luke with his old college friend Stephen in the hopes that Luke can assist Stephen around his house while getting a heavy dose of country fresh air and Stephen will get someone who can perhaps help him with his garden.

As evidenced by the wording in the blurb, “a seed of hope is planted,” the author uses garden similes to move the story forward. Luke grows, changes, blossoms under Stephen’s pride in his work on the garden. Stephen, in turn, becomes more outgoing, flowering under Luke’s watchful eye and helpful hands. The bottom line is they grow closer, eventually have sex, then more sex, then friends with benefits, and then when Luke realizes he wants to stay, he puts his big foot in his mouth and causes enough turmoil to get booted back to London. 

Their internal conflicts, past experiences, family issues, and Luke’s history with addiction, as well as Stephen’s slow recovery from the disease that weakened all his muscles provides the meat of the story. It’s slow-burn, sweet, packed with the flavor of the UK, and ends on a HEA. I very definitely recommend it to lovers of MM romance.

The cover by Garrett Leigh is a black-and-white photo of a shirtless man standing in a dejected pose. It’s a bit dark to attract attention; however, it does nicely depict the emotional burdens the men in the story carry. 

Buy Links:
Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 259 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Jaybird Press
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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