A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A successful musician learns that a life lived behind a mask is no life at all.
Blurb: Country singer Willie Meadows is a fake. He’s never ridden a horse, and his “Western” gear comes from a boutique shop in LA. No wonder Wilson Edwards, the real man in those fake boots, is suffering creative block. Determined to connect with the music, Wilson buys a ranch in Wyoming to learn the country way of life, even if he has no intention of running the business. Then Steve Peterson shows up desperate, destitute, and hungry, having just escaped a gay deprogramming hospital run by his father’s cult. Steve was supposed to train horses for the ranch’s former owner, but the job is gone along with his would-be employer. Luckily Wilson has a temporary solution: Steve can ranch-sit while Wilson does business in LA. But when he comes back, Wilson barely recognizes the place. There are trained horses in the paddock, and the ranch is in great shape. Suddenly he finds himself inspired not by the cowboy lifestyle but by Steve himself. But the cult is still after Steve, and Wilson’s fear of scandal means he’s still in the closet. Coming out could kill Willie’s career—but denying his feelings for Steve could kill the only part of him that’s real.
“I learned when I stood up to my father that the only thing that was really at stake was my own self-esteem. The things my father did to me were nothing compared to the things I did to myself when I hid who I was.”
Steve Peterson has learned the hard way, at the hands of a maniacally abusive father, what it means to hide. He has done many things he is ashamed of to escape a life that would mean never being who he really was, that would never acknowledge that he was gay. On the run and living in fear of being returned to the prison that his former life was, he stumbles upon another man, desperately in need.
Wilson Meadows has a decision to make. Continue to live his life behind the carefully crafted mask of country singer “Willie Meadows” and drown his needs in a bottle of whiskey or come out…break free and take the consequences. The decision may very well cost him everything from fans, to a movie deal, to, most importantly, his own happiness.
They meet, and fall in love. And when their relationship is sold to the press, Wilson must face that decision head on, or lose everything he has come to cherish–everything that is now, his life.
A Foreign Range carries us to the world of cowboys and country music and plops us right down in the middle of second chances. Author Andrew Grey asks us to contemplate what it means to deny who we are and how the impact of maintaining that close rein on our desires and needs ultimately can lead to self-destruction and a world of hurt and pain.
This book was, at its core, a love story between two men who had to learn to trust once more. Both, in their own way, had been betrayed by someone they loved and allowing themselves to be vulnerable again, to be open and responsive to another man, was not only difficult but risky. Both had much to lose if this relationship went south.
Mr. Grey always weaves a solid story, his characters evoke a deep resonating response in the reader due to their “everyman” qualities. Even though Wilson is a famous musician, he is also, most assuredly, your brother, your friend, the guy who lives next door–he is familiar and sweet and you want to know him, like him–find yourself caring about him. The same goes for Steve–these two wend their way into your heart and take root there.
This author writes descriptive passages that transport you to that place–you can feel the coming storm, hear the horses hooves pawing the earth, smell the freshly laid straw. His stories are a visceral experience due to his ability to paint word pictures that stay with you long after the last page.
In A Foreign Range, I found the only element that left me wanting was the back story to the mysterious lover who had hurt Wilson at some point and firmly convinced him not to trust easily and that the closet was the safer place for him to be. I felt that the author didn’t really take the needed time to develop the carefully laid “hints” as to their former relationship and so, I was left wondering about what really happened to leave such a strong feeling of betrayal behind in Wilson.
However, this was a minor misstep to me and once that element was left out of the story plot line, I found myself thoroughly entranced and totally hooked. The novel was well developed from that point on and completely satisfying. The story had an element of suspense that only added to the enjoyment of seeing all resolved in one fashion or another by the last page.
I encourage you to pick up a copy of A Foreign Range. While it is the 4th in Grey’s cowboy series, it is most assuredly a stand alone and can be enjoyed as such.
As always, dear reader, the decision is all yours. Perhaps you will choose to lasso a seat on the sofa tonight and curl up with a few cowboys–I think you might just enjoy the ride.