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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 12/2020
  • 9798577936389 B08QBQL24D
  • 174 pages
  • $7.99
Ebook Details
  • 12/2020
  • B08PW343SD
  • 212 pages
  • $3.99
The Desolate Homestead
A young widower on the eastern plains of Montana in the late nineteenth century finds the answer to his loneliness, but it may come at a price. Shunned by most of his neighbors and despised by the sheriff and his minions, Tom Dowdy raises sheep by himself on the farm left to him by his late father. Will he sacrifice any chance to redeem himself in the eyes of the townsfolk by helping an outlaw who seeks refuge on his homestead? Follow Tom as he finally emerges from self-imposed isolation and tries to forge a lasting bond beyond the reach of the long arm of the law. This first book in the Montana Series explores the intimate relationship between two men in the waning days of the Wild West. The story weaves physical desire and emotional longing through authentic historic fiction.
Reviews
Vakarian’s auspicious debut novel — the first in his Montana Series — is set in the late 19th century and largely on the two square miles of western land owned by widower Tom Dowdy, a loner who has trouble with Daly, the local sheriff. When he discovers Abe Cooper, a wounded former ranch hand, hiding out on his property, Tom is initially wary. But he’s attracted to Abe, who is also “interested in men.” Abe is wanted by Daly for killing a man, but he claims it was self-defense. As Tom provides risky sanctuary and tends to Abe’s wounds, a romance develops. Tom dreams of building a life with Abe, but a bounty on Abe’s head and Tom’s need to bring on workers may jeopardize their happiness.

Vakarian makes Tom a smart, endearing protagonist who proves perceptive sizing up Abe — and judicious when talking with homophobic Sheriff Daly, who suspects Abe is on his property. Tom is comfortable with his sexuality, longing for a past lover, Matthew, and uninhibited when coupling up with Abe. The author persuasively depicts the realities of farm and frontier life, and Western terms (yannigan, sawbones, picket pin) create a sense of authenticity. The sheriff may be hissable, one-note villain, but Vakarian makes some shrewd observations about queer life, and allows for engaging ambiguity in Abe’s character.

The plot is compelling enough that readers may feel short changed when it ends abruptly. The abundant erotic passages certainly flesh out the same-sex relationship, a pairing that readers will hope survives, but the lengthy, frequent and explicit sex scenes threaten to overwhelm this thin Western. Vakarian’s effort to appeal at once to readers of historical fiction, m/m romance, and erotica will likely disappoint one of those audiences. Otherwise, this is a terrific start to a series that will have readers craving more.

Takeaway: This explicit gay frontier romance is stimulating, likable, and certain to leave its audience wanting more.

Great for fans of: Cowboys: Gay Erotic Tales, edited by Tom Graham.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: B-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: B+

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 12/2020
  • 9798577936389 B08QBQL24D
  • 174 pages
  • $7.99
Ebook Details
  • 12/2020
  • B08PW343SD
  • 212 pages
  • $3.99

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