Tom and Frank are both not only shy, they both suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder, so when they meet it seems like a match made in heaven and then they discover that they have so much more than their disorder in common. Their meeting had been set up by Jerry, Tom’s former boyfriend, and Stanley, Frank’s brother. Jerry had cheated on Tom with Stanley and later moved in with him so Tom wasn’t a big fan of either man, but he felt he could be helpful to the shy stranger coming from Indiana since he knew what it was like to suffer from SAD.
Frank came to California to “see the world” rather than remain on the farm where his dad, Joe, still lives. When he and Tom hit it off so well, and Frank even seemed to like Tom’s dog, Pedro (an incontinent Chihuahua), Tom invites Frank to stay with him. Frank’s dad checks in via phone from time to time, and he notices that his dad sounds ill, then he seems to get worse as a few weeks go by. When it’s evident that his dad needs help, the two decide to go out to Indiana to help him, a trip expedited by the fact that Jerry has called his boss with false information about Tom, resulting in him being fired from his job at the bank. It seems Jerry is not so enamored of drug-user Stanley anymore and wants to get back with Tom so this is his way of getting even for Tom’s rejection of his offer to return.
Life on the farm is much more difficult than Tom expects. First, there’s the cows, pigs, and chickens. Tom really hates chickens! And then there’s other farm animals and all the poop they all make. (There’s a lot of poop in this story!) Then there’s Samson, a huge boar who is absolutely vicious but remains the apple of Joe’s eye. Someday Joe’s going to sell him to a sideshow or circus so that he can be seen and appreciated as the fine specimen he is. In the meantime, he scares Tom so badly that Tom avoids him at all costs.
As Tom and Frank acclimate to farm life, Joe’s health deteriorates. Tom and Frank become more deeply committed to each other and Stanley shows up sniffing around to see what his dad will leave him in his will. From this point on, the story takes an interesting turn as Stanley forges ahead with his plans to get in on the inheritance.
I enjoyed this story with its subtle humor and outrageous view of life on a farm. The author’s quick wit is evident, but to be honest, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it rather than listen to the audiobook version. I did not care for the “voice” of the narrator, especially since there was little to distinguish the MC voices, words were mispronounced, stress was sometimes placed on the wrong syllables in a word or words in a sentence, thereby changing the meaning or tone, and the delivery of many of the lines which I believe were intended to be humorous felt flat.
The romance developed along anticipated lines, and Joe’s illness progressed at the pace foreseen, but the author gives us a whammy of a surprise conclusion when Stanley discovers a map to the will and pursues it with all his despicable zest for leaving Tom and Frank out of it. I’m not usually caught off guard or shocked by where an author takes us, but in this case, I was, and it was truly a unique ending in a sweet romance.
I would recommend this book to those who love a sweet and simple romance between two very shy MCs, humor in their stories—sometimes subtle, sometimes overt, a little bit of angst, and a completely unexpected ending. However, I would not necessarily recommend it as an audiobook—as I said, I didn’t care for the narration on this one.
Cover art by Paul Richmond is highly detailed, beautifully drawn, and is perfect for the story, depicting Tom’s antics on the farm with his animal charges as Frank watches with a smile on his face.
The eBook was previously reviewed here by MelanieM
Cover Artist Paul Richmond
Narrator Tommy O’Brien
Length 7 hours and 54 minutes