“Tender Mercies” by Eli Easton

about

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.

review

I’m so pleased this story caught my attention; for not only did I enjoy it immensely but it prompted me to read the first book in the series. You don’t have to read A Second Harvest, but it would be a shame to miss David and Christie’s story. It’s not often I agree when a book is deemed a stand-alone but this is one instance I believe it’s true. We do have a small cameo with the couple from book one but if you’re at all familiar with Easton’s writing, it’s not a surprise they come together as one in the final pages.
So yes, we are back in Lancaster County and it’s a joy to visit. I reside in a small community in which my car shares the road with buggies and bicycles and I felt at home within the beautiful country setting. I find myself torn with my deep respect for the Amish and their steadfast ways and frustration that their dedication to their faith and strict beliefs permit shunning still to this day. But my heart lifts when a story such as Samuel’s comes along. I’m so grateful Eli gave him the chance of a new life and an intersecting path with Eddie. Their story is full of struggles as they both strive to create a fresh start. You don’t want to miss this one!

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Meadow Lake Farm…I can close my eyes and see it perfectly and it takes my breath away! Eddie has dreamed about building a rescue farm for years and finally took the plunge and went all in. His partner abandoned him before the ink was dry on the sale of the farm but Eddie is determined to give it a valiant effort before he admits defeat. How painful would it be to hold your greatest dream in your hands and then watch it slip through your fingers like grains of sand? However, the rescue sanctuary is far too much to maintain for one person. And this is where Sam enters the story.
Sam is a survivor. He snatched my heart from my chest within moments of his introduction. Sam is Amish, a young adult, disabled, and possesses a heart of pure gold. He should be jaded and bitter after his undeserving fate but he’s incapable of surrendering. He continues to pick himself up and try again…time and time again. I adored his strength and tenacity. I enjoyed Eddie as well but Sam? Sam is…

love…everything to love. From his innocence to his relentless drive, I adored all the pieces that create Samuel. I hated the stigma from his damaged foot but I hated the pain he suffered more. I was awestruck by his resilience and charmed by his devotion. I appreciated the slow burn between Sam and Eddie. It felt appropriate for their situation. And of course, I can’t forget Benny. I loved that little pig so hard! A stray that wanders onto the farm grants them a solution to their impossible conundrum. I am a true believer of ‘everything happens for a reason’ and this story is the perfect example. Eddie’s best friend added a sassy spark and I’m hopeful we shall see him return in the next episode of The Men of Lancaster County. I very much look forward to another romp in the hay with another country couple. Wait? There IS more to come…right?

beware

A horrifying act of violence. If you’ve read the first book in this series, you’re aware of the hate crime that was pivotal in changing the course of events that allowed the men their HEA. This book has its own sickening crime that is difficult to read but is critical to igniting their story. Also similar to the first book, there is an age gap. One of the men is quite young, legal but just barely. Although his birthdays don’t measure his maturity, Sam is an ‘old’ nineteen. I hope these disclosures don’t bother you, I had absolutely no qualms with them.

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I would imagine most Easton fans have devoured this novel already, but if not…I encourage you to do so. If you are new to Eli Easton (where have you been?!?) this is a perfect example of the power her words yield. Go get lost in this tender tale and give my love to Sam.

bookinfo
TITLE: Tender Mercies (Men of Lancaster County #2)

AUTHOR: Eli Easton
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 214
RELEASE DATE: October 27, 2017
BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner, Amazon

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