A guest review by Jenre
Geoff is in the city, living the gay life to the hilt, when his father’s death convinces him to return to the family farm. Discovering a young Amish man asleep in his barn, Geoff learns that Eli is spending a year away from the community before accepting baptism into the church. Despite their mutual attraction, Geoff is determined not to become involved with him, but Eli has discovered that Geoff shares his feelings and begins to court him, neatly capturing first Geoff’s attention and then his heart.
Their budding relationship is threatened by closed-minded, gossipy relatives and the society at large, a whole new world to Eli, and he must decide whether to return to the community, his family, and the world and future he knows or to stay with Geoff and have faith in the power of love.
This is a review where I get to eat my words! I’ve read several Andrew Grey books and stories in the past and had pretty much come to conclusion that whilst I appreciate that he’s a well loved author with a large, loyal fan base, his writing just doesn’t appeal to me and I wasn’t going to read his books any more. Then someone suggested that I read Love Means…No Shame, and so I decided to give the author one more chance. I’m glad I did because I really liked this book.
The story begins with our hero, Geoff, who works as an accountant in Chicago. He spends his days crunching numbers and his nights out on the town picking up anonymous men for one night stands. Then one day he gets a call from his father’s partner, Len, to say that his father has died. Geoff then comes back to the place where he was brought up to pick up the running of the farm. It’s a sad time for him and Len, but things get easier especially when Geoff finds a young Amish man, Eli, sleeping in his barn and offers him a job. As the two men get to know each other their feelings grow, but Geoff is not certain whether Eli will leave his Amish family and stay with him permanently.
If I was asked to describe this story it one word it would be ‘charming’. I was charmed by the whole book, the characters and the plot from start to finish. This was a book about a couple of good guys who find love with each other. There are a few potholes on their road to love, but mainly this was a gentle tale of meeting, falling in love and then settling into a HEA. The characters of Geoff and Eli are perfect for each other. Geoff has spent the last few years living it up in Chicago, sleeping around and looking for the next distraction. When he returns to the farm he is worried that he will find the pace of life dull, but instead settles into a hard working routine of learning about running a business. When Eli comes into his life, the gentle, peaceful man steals his heart with his naivety about the life of a ‘white man’ and his innocence when it comes to sex. This led to a number of tender and beautiful sex scenes between them, which were emotionally fulfilling for me as a reader, as well as hot.
Another part that I liked a great deal was in Geoff’s relationship with Len, his Dad’s partner. There’s a lot of respect between them and their shared grief over Cliff’s death helps both men through that difficult time. Cliff is never relegated to ‘the dead guy’ and forgotten after the first few page, but rather both Geoff and Len’s memories of Cliff are dealt with at different points in the story. This made Cliff just as real as a character as some of the other secondary characters in the book. The emotional intensity of some of the scenes between Len and Geoff brought tears to my eyes on a number of occasions, a sign that Andrew Grey has done his job well.
This was also a book which taught me a little of the Amish community, of which I am woefully ignorant. I liked that it was an important aspect of Eli’s personality and that I got to learn much about the way he had been brought up and the expectations placed on him. I also liked that it made him a kind, hard-working man and compared to some of the ‘white men’ we come across in the book much more civilised. It made the choices that Eli makes later in the story all the more believable for me, when you compare his sweet, gentle way of looking at the world with the cruelty of others.
If there were any niggles in the book, then I thought that maybe the character of Geoff’s evil aunt was a little too overdone. Geoff is also rather too good to be true at times, especially for such a young man and I was rather sceptical at the expert way that he managed the expansion of the farm, as well as negotiations with neighbours, given his lack of business experience. Also (and this is really minor) at one point in the book Geoff and Eli go for a ride with one of the farm hands, Joey, and then he is mysteriously forgotten about. None of these niggles were enough to spoil my enjoyment of the book too much.
If you’re looking for a sweet, but not overly sweet, story of two nice men who fall in love then you can’t go wrong with this book. I enjoyed it a great deal and recommend it to those who like emotional, romantic stories. This is the first of a series and I’m very much looking forward to reading the other two books which are now on my TBR pile.