Title: Tender Mercies (Men of Lancaster County #2)
Author: Eli Easton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 216 pages
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A Men of Lancaster County Novel
Eddie Graber’s dream of a sanctuary for rescued farm animals was about to come true when his partner backed out at the last minute. Now Eddie risks losing the twenty-five acre property in Lancaster County—and all the hopes he held for it—before the project even gets off the ground. He needs help, he needs money, but most importantly, he needs to rediscover the belief in a higher purpose that brought him here in the first place.
Samuel Miller worked hard to fit into his Amish community despite his clubfoot. But when his father learns Samuel is gay, he is whipped and shunned. With just a few hundred dollars to his name, Samuel responds to an ad for a farmhand and finds himself employed by a city guy who has strange ideas about animals, no clue how to run his small farm, and a gentle heart.
Samuel isn’t the only lost soul to serendipitously find his way to Meadow Lake Farm. There’s Fred and Ginger, two cows who’d been living in a garage, a gang of sheep, and a little black pig named Benny who might be the key to life, love, money—and even a happily ever after for two castoffs.
Tender Mercies grabs your interest from the very first page, breaks your heart along the way, makes you ugly-sob and then leaves you feeling lucky and blessed to have experienced this story.
19-year-old Samuel is beaten and cast out of his Amish family for being gay, and after walking all day to get to the interview, he is hired as a farm hand by Eddie, a New York city boy starting an animal sanctuary at Meadow Lake Farm. Samuel and Eddie seem an unlikely pair, but Eddie strives to rescue the lost and helpless and in the process finds love … and a menagerie of truly adorable creatures.
The relationship between Samuel and Eddie is a delicious slow-burn as Samuel breaks out of his sheltered life, learns that Eddie is gay, and learns about himself initially by reading gay romance. Samuel’s feelings after reading his first gay romance perfectly explains the power of M/M romance:
He cried. He cried so hard he had to bury his face in the pillow because he was afraid Eddie would hear him all the way on the other side of the house. He was overwhelmed by thoughts and images. Someone wrote a book about it, about men who like other men. And in the book, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. It was a thing some people didn’t accept, but the men in the book were still characters worth writing about. Their story was worth telling. They were not terrible people or sinful or perverted or abominations. They were handsome and nice, and they tried to do the right thing. It was all right there on the page, that was what was so amazing. It was printed there as if the story of two men who loved each other had just as much right to be written and made into a book and printed on good paper as Beauty or Treasure Island.
Tender Mercies is a gentle low-angst story that really touched my heart, and the cows Fred and Ginger and especially Benny the little pot-bellied pig and the animal rescue at the end of the book brought more than a few tears. I loved the dual POV and the lovely hopeful tone of this story. 5 stars.
He silently thanked whatever fates, angels, or guidance had brought him to this moment.
Yes, said the voice in his head. Always yes.