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Approaching middle age, Garrison Gaines is aware that all his humble hopes for the future have crumbled into dust. He’s travelling through the vast Unorganized Territories of the central United States when his path crosses that of Randy Everett, a young man who dreams of great adventures in exotic far-away locales – and, while no one can accurately predict the future, one thing is quite certain: that neither man will walk away from the encounter completely unaffected.
There aren’t enough good historical novels—and especially westerns—in the m/m genre, in my opinion, so I had high hopes going into this experience. Sadly though, things just didn’t work out between Randy and me.
The book starts off well enough: MC Garrison is in a great big bunch of trouble. He’s a trapper, alone in a remote and largely unoccupied part of the United States when he has a catastrophic accident that leaves him horribly wounded and unable to move, his horse dead and his supplies damaged. MC Randy happens along and comes to Garrison’s rescue, for no apparent reason other than Randy is a truly good human being.
I liked Garrison and Randy well enough, and I especially liked their age difference. Their lifestyles and experiences were definitely a study in contrast.
But then a few small things started to niggle: using words like “mom” and “grocery store” in a book set in the 19th century? I’m not buying that. Just, no.
Garrison’s repetitive, never ending internal dialogue and fantasies were…never. ending. Then there was Randy’s asthma. As far as I can tell, asthma wasn’t as commonly known/understood/diagnosed, yet it was a huge part of Randy’s character. I’m sure the author did her research (I hope?), but it came off as far-flung; for me it was a hard piece of the plot to swallow.
I suppose what I disliked the most about Randy was the utter lack of chemistry between the MCs. They were so different, and I simply never found any common ground between them. I went into the story thinking there would be a hard fought, hard won May/December romance, and there was almost none. In fact—yes, epiphany here!—the novel read more like a (very boring) friendship, with one character coming to the realization that he might actually be attracted to men. (Queue annoying internal dialogue.)
Even with a smattering of action and some housekeeping play, I wasn’t satisfied with the conclusion. In the end, I think it’s best Randy and I ride off into the sunset on separate horses (and with different cowboys, too).
Author: Jane Elliot
Publisher: Manifold Press
Release Date: Aug. 1, 2014
Purchase Links: Manifold Press