Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Release Day Review ~ Sylvan by Jan Irving

Release Day Review ~ Sylvan by Jan Irving
Sylvan by Jan Irving

Title: Sylvan
Series: Sylvan
Author: Jan Irving
Release Date: August 24. 2016
Category: Western, Contemporary
Pages: 256


Return to small-town Sylvan in Jan Irving's bestselling series—reimagined and re-edited with an all-new bonus novella.
The small Western town of Sylvan is a place for new beginnings for those who won’t settle for anything less than true love. These sweet tales of slow-simmering romance and the old-fashioned values of commitment and pulling together when times get tough prove that sometimes the best matches are also the most unexpected.
With the help of a storm, a washed-up Olympic swimmer and a carpenter cracking under the strain of caring for his Alzheimer’s-affected father learn that opposites sometimes really do attract.
A likable cowboy called Happy Nate is determined to help a mute boy speak again—and to help his father move beyond the repression of the Mennonite community to find the love he deserves.
When a hard-partying cowboy is suddenly saddled with a surprise baby, he’s at his wit’s end. Luckily the local doctor is available to help, and if the two men can find the courage to accept themselves and step into a new life, they might just make a real family. They’ll need to lend each other strength when an unspeakable tragedy strikes—and when it’s time to pick up the pieces.

Sylvan is an anthology of stories all taking place in the town of Sylvan. 

Story 1: Sylvan

I'm going to be honest, this story was very hard to get into for me. I actually found myself utterly confused on what was going on and had to skip to the next story. 

Story 2: Luke

Luke is a down and out cowboy who woke up one day hungover to realize he's the father of a baby girl born out of a one-night stand. Now caring for the infant by himself and moving from motel to motel, he's not sure if he should keep her.  A chance encounter at a local church finds Luke and his daughter going home with Morgan, a local Doctor.  

Morgan is more than happy to open his home to Luke and Jessica. He can't help feeling attraction to the cowboy or quickly falling in love with the sweet baby. Morgan is gay but as far as he knows Luke is not. But as the two get closer the attraction Morgan feels seems to be reflected in Luke's eyes as well. Now they'll have to decide if they're going to try becoming a family. 

I enjoyed this story a lot more than the first story in the book. I liked both Luke who was a tad surly but a good dad and Morgan who was very selfless. The two had good chemistry and when they were finally able to communicate with one another about how they felt I really liked them together. 

The story was good and kept me entertained. I did find the dialogue on the slow side and somewhat formal.  It made the story feel longer than it actually was. 

Story 3: Nate

Aaron and his mute son Samuel are living on the farm after leaving their  Mennonite community.  Happy/Nate works and lives on the farm. The two men start a tentative friendship that blossoms into something more. But being gay isn't easy for Aaron who grew up in a community that would not consider that okay. However, Aaron wants to explore this new relationship. 

I'm not really sure how I feel about this story.  The story itself was okay but I really didn't care for Aaron. I felt as if he didn't really like his own child and that made it hard to connect with him.  The way he spoke to him, treated him was almost cold. Whether or not it had to do with his upbringing I have no clue but it irked me. 

Story 4: Luke's Baby 

This is a sad, tragic story that thank the gods ends on a happy note, but I was pretty shocked reading it because I felt as if we'd had enough closure with Luke, Morgan and Jessie.  Maybe it's just me but, honestly, this story was just full of depressing events that made me wonder why Luke and Morgan even remained a couple. 

I know in real life love and relationships aren't all rainbows and unicorns. There are going to be challenges and drama and fights and so on. But this is fiction, romance. I read these books for entertainment, to get out of my head and live in a new world.  This book was definitely focused on a world I would want to avoid.  It's hard to enjoy that. 

Overall, I give Sylvan 3 Stars!

***A copy of this book was provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for an honest and fair review ***

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