Title: Moor Love
Author: Carol Lynne
Publisher: Total E-Bound
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
On the moors of North Yorkshire, American college student Caleb Winters falls in love, not only with the rolling hills of heather, but with the man who hired him for the student work program. To Caleb, Jon Cook is a mystery.
Rendered mute years earlier in the automobile accident that killed his father, Jon lives a life of secrecy. From the beginning, Caleb begins to suspect that Jon’s gruff exterior hides the soul of a lonely tormented man. Suddenly taking care of Jon’s sheep isn’t nearly as important as drawing the older farmer out of his shell and into the land of the living.
I’ve heard lots of great things about Carol Lynne’s books, but up until now I haven’t read anything by her. After reading this lovely novella, set in my native Yorkshire, I shall certainly be picking up more of her books.
The book begins with US agriculture student Caleb arriving for a year’s placement at a sheep farm on the North Yorkshire Moors. He’s surprised to find that the farmer he is to work with is a very attractive man in his mid-thirties. Jon is mute and has reluctantly arranged for Caleb to come and help him on the farm after an old knee injury flairs up and he cannot manage the hilly terrain. As the two men get to know each other, a mutual attraction begins to form, but Jon is shy and unsure of how to react to Caleb’s ‘out and proud’ sexuality.
There were many things to like about this novella, especially related to the situation of the characters and their personalities. The book is written mostly from Caleb’s point of view with just one or two sections from the point of view of Jon. Caleb is a very open, positive person and this shines through the writing in his point of view. He’s excited about working in Britain and taken aback by the beautiful countryside of the North Yorkshire Moors. I liked that he settled well into the more sedate way of life in rural Britain, especially as I was a having a few silent guffaws over his anticipation of hitting the night-life in Whitby (there are a few really good bars and a couple of clubs but nothing like he would have got in a big US city). His easygoing nature and open affection is a perfect balance to the more withdrawn Jon.
Although the viewpoint is mostly with Caleb, this is really Jon’s story as he faces his past and begins a slow journey of emotional healing. Jon is your typical Yorkshireman, even if he could speak I got the impression that he would be a man of few words. He keeps his growing attraction and feelings to himself until something happens which provides the impetus for him to act on those feelings. After that point I was cheering these guys on all the way as they develop their relationship and overcome the problems with Jon’s past together. The way that Jon’s disabilities are dealt with was done well, as we see his frustrations over his bad knee and the way he copes with not being able to communicate verbally. He could have been written as bad-tempered and dour, but that isn’t the case at all. Instead his gruffness hides a sensitive soul who just needs that special person to bring him out of his shell.
If I have any niggles at all, it would be that Jon is supposed to be a sheep farmer and yet his sheepdog isn’t trained. His excuse is that he can’t speak to train his dog, but most sheep farmers use whistles as well as or instead of verbal sounds as the sound of a whistle travels over long distances when you are gathering the sheep from over the vast distances of the moors. Jon should really have known about this (even I knew this, and I don’t farm sheep) and the fact that he didn’t was one tiny, unrealistic note in what was an overall believable story.
Despite that very tiny niggle, I would recommend Moor Love to those of you who are looking for a sweet tale of love between two seemingly different men. I finished the book with a smile on my face, glad that I had spent a bit of time with such lovely characters. There is a little angst in the book but it is so underplayed that it never seemed to take over from the romantic story line. I certainly enjoyed it a great deal and I think you will too.