Monday, October 23, 2017

ARC Review: Tender Mercies (Men of Lancaster County, #2) by Eli Easton

Tender Mercies (Men of Lancaster County, #2)
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 club foot. 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 Benedict who might be the key to life, love, money—and even a happily ever after for two castoffs.

NOTE: This title is set in the same region as book #1 but features a new couple. It can be read as a stand-alone.

Jewel's rating:

Tender Mercies is the second book in Eli Easton's wonderfulMen of Lancaster County series. And while I definitely enjoyed A Second Harvest more, Tender Mercies was a worthy addition to the series. It's a feel-good, heartwarming story.

Samuel Miller was a breath of fresh air. He's someone that has gotten lemons from life, between his club foot, being gay, (which got him beaten, tossed out, and shunned) and suddenly finding himself without any kind of support system. But instead of fretting over it, he bucks up and makes the best of everything. He may not have a lot of formal education, but Sam is a smart man and a problem solver. Problem solving skills will get you far in life and they're difficult to teach, but Sam sees a problem and breaks it down and figures it out.

Eddie Graber, I was far more slow to warm to. He was a bit of a whiner, and rather than asking for help when he desperately needed it, he fretted and worried and felt like a failure. Eddie has always had a dream of opening an animal sanctuary. But I've got to say, I don't think he could have been less prepared. He didn't really know how to care for a farm, or livestock animals and he set himself up for failure by not having people involved who had half a clue. And when his boyfriend, Alex, bailed on him and left him financially in a bind, everything got worse. I think Eddie's only preparation was reading a few books and visiting a sanctuary or two. That's not a lot of knowledge or preparation for something like that. Eddie would have failed without Samuel, I have no doubt. Sam not only helped save the sanctuary, but he also saved this story for me, hands down.

I enjoyed the story and the romance (though I would have liked a bit more steam), but there were some things that didn't much gel with me. There were more references to god and higher power than I prefer in my books. It kind of felt preachy. And while I would have expected them to come from Samuel, they mostly came from Eddie, who said he was agnostic. I dunno, that's a bit of a disconnect for me. I really don't think anything happens "for a reason" and I don't believe in fate, so when someone so readily (and repeatedly) credits fate or god for some bit of good luck or circumstance or actually doing something themselves, it kind of turns me off. I don't think this will be an issue for most people, though.

I also think that the money problems were resolved way too seamlessly and easily, but this story is supposed to make you feel good and end on a happy note, and it does manage that. Eddie and Sam get each other and the future they want on their sanctuary farm.

Overall, I'd give Tender Mercies 3.5 "make some lemonade" stars.


ARC of Tender Mercies was generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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