RELEAE DAY- REVIEW: Fool’s Spring- Roe Horvat

Fool's Spring Book Cover Fool's Spring
Roe Horvat
Gay Romance, small Town Romance, LGBTQ Fictiom
June 14, 2024


Maybe I’ve made a mistake. My cottage, albeit charming, needs nonstop work, the weather’s abysmal, and my last bank account statement simply said, “Bless your heart.” But I don’t regret moving to the Swedish countryside. The job is great, and I’m making friends. Who said Swedes were cold and distant? I only need some cheap firewood to tide me over until the real spring arrives.

Out of nowhere comes rescue—a gorgeous Viking on a tractor. He helps me with firewood and drives me to the hardware store. I shouldn’t be crushing on Björn since he looks as straight as they come. But then the shy hunk of a man turns up on my porch with a bag of cinnamon rolls, blushing…


Life is uneventful for a gay man in a village of three hundred people, but I like it quiet. I have fifteen thousand hectares of forest to manage, so it’s not like I get bored.

Except now an American from the South bought an old cottage on the edge of my property and he’s shoveling April snow in his sneakers. The good people of Gryta are already betting on when he’ll run back to Stockholm.

Eric is in dire need of help, so here I am, dangling on a ladder, pressure-washing the gutters on his cottage. He’s absolutely charming, gorgeous, and all my wet dreams come true. I wish I could at least slow down my falling in love with him—because what if he leaves?

Fool’s Spring is a contemporary gay romance about a South Carolinian teacher moving to the Swedish countryside. Low angst and a slow burn that turns into high heat. Finding home, HEA

Review By Ulysses Dietz
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

Roe Horvat’s more erotically charged novels can be set anywhere (and can include dragons); but his more “classic” gay romances tend to be in his adopted country of Sweden. That is the case in “Fool’s Spring,” and indeed the setting becomes a major character in the book.

This book harkens back to the first book by Horvat I read, ”The Layover.” It is intentionally small, emotionally intimate, and entirely tender-hearted. It is Horvat’s great gift to be able to create close studies of personalities with subtlety and affection, and that gift is central to the charm of this particular tale.

Eric is American-born, but of Swedish heritage, so when he emigrates from the USA to Sweden, he has a head start and a reason to be interested in his ancestral country.

Bjorn, on the other hand, is not only a Swedish native, but was born and raised in the tiny town of Gryta in the north of the country. He studied in Canada, so has a keen awareness of the wider world; but he loves his tiny birthplace and the people in it. Most of all, he loves the forests he inherited and whose management is in his care.

There are few surprises in this gentle romantic story of kismet in the woods. What engages the reader is the people; not just Bjorn, but his little group of friends and his stepmother, Madde. It is not just Eric, but his American friend from Stockholm and the Swedish boyfriend for whom she emigrated. Eric overlaps with Bjorn with Madde—who happens to be the head of the public school where he teaches English and art. Madde is the reason Eric and Bjorn meet; but she is not the reason they are drawn to each other. She wants very much to meddle, but the two young men find each other on their own.

If there is anxiety in the narrative, it is due to two things: the vagaries of old buildings, and the vast emptiness of northern Sweden’s forests. Interestingly, these two features are not symbolic of loneliness (of which there is plenty in the book). Instead they are symbols of the ways in which people in small populations connect with each other. Eric is connected to the community through the shabby old cottage he buys; while Bjorn is tied to Gryta through the forests he manages with his Canadian forestry MA. His care for the forests is emblematic of his love for his stepmother and his country.

It is important that both men share sadness within their families. That sadness is both the reason for their loneliness, and their strength which comes from the independence they have chosen for their lives. If the people who care about them would happily push them together, both Eric and Bjorn are more pragmatic and not entirely ready to trust others.

While it might seem unlikely that two such well-attuned men would have to struggle to find each other, Horvat makes that struggle feel not only plausible, but essential to the final outcome.

Of course, the big burly Bjorn (Swedish for bear) and the slim, willowy Eric form a perfect fantasy duo, but neither one sweeps in to rescue the other. They are both flawed ideals, and even when the sparks fly (and they do), Horvat makes sure to keep them real—men we can relate to and like, not just fantasies to watch play out.

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