Title: Love Means…Renewal (Farm #5.5)
Author: Andrew Grey
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon.com Love Means… Renewal
Genre: M/M contemporary romance
Length: 56 pages
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A Guest review by Jenre
Summary review: A chance to catch up with Geoff and Eli, ten years on in the relationship, but this story proves to be a bit forced.
Eli Henninger is stretched a little thin. He teaches riding classes, conducts therapy sessions, takes care of his son, and helps manage the family farm. He’s tired and overworked, especially because lately, no one else seems to do anything right. He and his partner, Geoff, haven’t have time together in so long, he’s beginning to forget what his longtime love feels like.
Geoff is just as busy with the farm, the business, and working through a complicated land purchase. He and Eli labor from sunup to sundown and then some. He knows taking care of their responsibilities is preventing them from taking care of each other, but he doesn’t see anything he can do about it. To make matters worse, they’re accused of behaving improperly toward some of the children in their riding programs.
Then Eli becomes ill and the investigators suspect foul play, forcing Geoff to reevaluate his priorities and hope fate will give them another chance.
Like many fans of this series, I suspect, Geoff and Eli hold a place in my heart as the original and perhaps the best of the couples in this series. When I saw this short peek into their lives, I was looking forward to catching up with the pair and seeing how the addition of Jakey is affecting their relationship. That part proved to be one of the best bits of this story, with Jakey being as cute as a button without tipping over into nauseating, and the strains of having your relationship focused around three rather than two being honestly, and sometimes amusingly, shown. I felt sorry for the guys at times and empathised with Eli as he daydreams of getting just one afternoon alone with Geoff, reminiscing about the times they could take off for a few hours without the responsibility of a little one to consider.
Unfortunately, that aspect proved to be only one good part of a story which ended up being so rushed and too over-crammed with ideas for its few pages that the writing felt little forced and didn’t flow as well for me as is usual for this author. Not only do we have Geoff and Eli’s feelings for Jakey, but we also have Eli getting ill, Geoff being distant and too focused on things away from their relationship and a plot involving Eli being accused of child molestation. If that final theme had been taken out of the story and the focus been solely on Geoff and Eli’s relationship hiccup, then I think I would have liked this book more, especially if more detail had gone into that area. As it is, those parts are rushed with Geoff mostly absent from the story, except for sex scenes.
Another part which I found a little rushed was the accusation plot. It was suddenly thrown into the story, solved with quick succession and was remarkably off hand for such a serious accusation. I also found the way that the police dealt with the situation rather unrealistic.
Having said that, Geoff and Eli are still my favourite characters in this series and it was nice to revisit them after all this time. If you like these characters or this series, then you’ve probably already bought this story :), but really this isn’t a book in which to start the series. Go and read Love Means… No Shame and then you can read this one.