Title: Stable Hill
Author: Jodi Payne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 21, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary; M/M/M
Page Count: 215
Reviewed by: Kristin F
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Will three men from very different backgrounds find a home and a future together?
After losing his husband to cancer, Oscar Kennedy has his hands full with their four girls, the house, his job, and his mother-in-law. When he loses his father too, keeping Stable Hill, the old horse farm where he grew up, becomes impossible. Oscar hires Jeffrey Stokes, a slick-looking real estate broker with a roll-up-his-sleeves work ethic, to get it on the market.
Russell White manages the day-to-day at Stable Hill. Russ had loved Oscar’s dad like a father, and took on even more responsibility when the old man fell ill. He is shocked and saddened by Oscar’s decision to sell.
All three men have a stake in Stable Hill, and it’s not long before they start to invest in one another too. But their complicated relationship doesn’t make having to sell Stable Hill any easier. Will the fragile triad they’re building last when the farm that brought them together is gone?
The blurb sums up the plot quite well so I won’t rehash.
For the most part, I quite enjoyed this. I liked how it wasn’t an established couple bringing in a third, it was three men who simultaneously found each other. I don’t say this often – this is my quirk about kids in my m/m books – but the family aspect worked for me in this one. The two older kids brought a bit of maturity and grounding that balanced out Oscar’s emotions. The age range and life experiences between our three protagonists was well written – especially with Russ, the youngest, and his feelings of jealousy and resentment. I think the dynamic – and thus the plot – benefited from that.
And there were a few pot-holes that bounced me out of the story:
The transition to a three-some felt abrupt. I knew the coming together would have to happen, and when it did, the timing and situation just felt off to me.
I thought the expectation of how quickly a working farm would actually sell was unrealistic, but I understand the need to move the plot along.
Nitpicking now: I also question when big developer said they were going to survey, having worked with surveyors, it’s my understanding surveying is expensive and you don’t plunk that kind of expense down unless you have a done deal. Maybe out east it’s different?
it seemed like a lot of people were working at the stable, at one point I think there was 12? Where did they all stay? If they weren’t doing a riding ring, what did they do all day? And nobody noticed Russ, Jeff, or Oscar disappearing into the house mid-day?
Emphasizing again, I did enjoy this. I liked the trio of men, I liked Oscar’s family dynamic, I liked how the emotions were balanced. There were a few things that didn’t quite work for me, and they may work better for another reader. If you like m/m/m romances, you may enjoy this.