Dreamspinner Press, 2010
Sheriff Grady Sullivan returns to Canyon County, Idaho, after his second tour in Afghanistan to find his department in disorder and his authority undermined. He’s determined to restore discipline, but he soon finds himself fighting for his job. The bright spot in his life is kindred soul Edward Clayton. But Edward isn't just raising dairy cows, and Grady is soon pulled into Edward’s Underground Railroad for illegal kids.
As noble as Edward’s work is, it’s illegal, and Grady is suddenly faced with losing everything he’s worked for and everything that matters to him as he’s forced to choose between Edward and the work that has always defined him.
Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, Men in Uniform, Farming
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1 out of 3 flames
Why I read it:
I received a review copy from the publisher. It was my first book by this author, but it won’t be the last one.
Idaho Battlegrounds is a well-written, sweet romance. The main characters Grady and Edward are lovable heroes who are just right for each other. Their love story takes place against the background of rural, small-town life. Grady is the town's sheriff who recently returned from his second tour in Afghanistan to find his department in disorder and his authority undermined. New in town is cheese farmer Edward, a former lawyer, who is proud and openly gay.
Grady and Edward start to develop feelings of affection for each other. They are reading books to one another and their mutual feelings cause them to share a bath and inevitably they end up in bed together. Not that we learn anything about their activities in bed... There're no explicit sex scenes in this book. Only hints that the guys are having sex. And we witness a few kisses, but those are more sweet than hot, like the rest of their blooming relationship.
What I quite enjoyed was the fact that the men were reading books to each other as well as the references to these books. A few quotes were given, and the titles, of which I recognized a few. When Edward seems to be breathless after Grady read the first part of Let The Great World Spin from Colum McCann to him on the phone and urged him to come over to read the rest of the book together, I could relate to this, because the opening of this novel is indeed breathtaking (not in a smexy way, in case you were wondering ;)).
Another aspect I rather enjoyed were the descriptions of Edward's cheese making skills and tasks, and the guys working together to make cheese. There's always such a beautiful, quiet calm to the things they do together amidst all the turbulence that is going on in the rest of their lives. That made this a pleasant reading experience. Furthermore, there’s not much of a relational conflict between the heroes - only a minor external one, caused by the fact that Edward is helping out illegal kids, something Grady knows and which could get him into trouble, being the sheriff. But they agree that it’s a good cause and worth pushing the boundaries of the law, which underlines the message that these are honest, good men.
Adding everything up, it wasn't hard for me to believe these heroes are perfect for each other - although others may say that their relationship development could've been more elaborate and done a little more convincingly. It's really just the start of a relationship, imo a very sweet and believable one, but with an ending that's not quite a HEA but more a HFN (Happy For Now). I wouldn't have mind to read a bit more about how their relationship proceeded after everything settled down in their lives, in the sheriff’s department and on the farm. But maybe the author is saving that for a sequel... who knows. This still was an enjoyable read.
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