Beneath the Palisade: Reliance

Title: Beneath the Palisade: Reliance
Author: Joel Skelton
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Buy Link Beneath the Palisade: Reliance
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: 300 pages
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 rating stars

A Guest Review by Raine

Summary Review: Closely detailed domestic story involving romance, career change, relocation and building a new life with the help of friends.

Blurb: Rising star attorney Harper Callahan hires Ian Burke to landscape his backyard, but it’s his heart that gets the real makeover. Cautious at first, Ian is soon won over by Harper’s good looks and charm, and before they know it they’re on the fast track to romance.

Then a brush with death makes Harper and Ian reassess their plans for the future… and offers them an opportunity for adventure. What starts out as a casual fantasy of owning and operating a B&B on Lake Superior soon explodes into reality as Harper and Ian realize that when they rely on each other, they can accomplish great things.


To be honest and up front this rather long story wasn’t really to my taste. However readers who like an easy going book with a fair amount of leisurely detail about everything from being a lawyer, garden design and landscaping, baseball, living in a small town, relocating, renovating and running a B & B with very animated main characters will probably enjoy this comfort read. Being interested in garden design and construction, these elements of the story even carried me along quite nicely for a while.

The romance between Ian and Harper moves incredibly quickly, in three weeks they are living together, having said that, it didn’t feel like that amount of time because we get all the detail of their working lives and Ian’s voluble enthusiastic friends intermingled with them getting together. The dramatic circumstances which led them to relocate involved a totally insane woman, who was bad enough in life, but Harper’s dreams about her were even worse.

The relationship between Ian and Harper, both like-able characters, was over sweet for me. They were rather too gushing and some of their sex talk, with terms like- meaty orbs and man goo – even when they were joking, gave me hiccups. However I did believe in their partnership and that they would make a success of it and their business. The description of the run down B&B, it’s amazing Lake Superior setting and it’s renovation all added to the makeover appeal.

The main story is suddenly interrupted by a subplot with a third point of view, involving Alex, a young gay man trying to make the best of bad circumstances in a small town. The two story lines do eventually meet up and all the characters continue interacting together. I did find this a rather odd add on. Moreover the way Alex’s story grafted onto the main plot and it’s eventual conclusion felt rather awkward and over dramatic to me.

There is a tremendous amount of detail here, with various digressions and cute anecdotes, all of which add breadth if not depth to the sense of place, community and friendships the guys have. This one was not for me but I’m sure the readable style will mean it has it’s own audience.

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