Release Day-REVIEW: Second Best Men- Fearne Hill

Second Best Men Book Cover Second Best Men
Fearne Hill
Gay Romance, LGBTQ Fiction
Nov 16, 2023

Two snowed-in men. 300 cows. And a mangy dog.
Tucked away down a rutted dirt track lives a grumpy dairy farmer.

He’s firmly in the closet. And he’s desperately lonely.

That farmer is me—Rob Langford. I have more meaningful conversations with my prize bull than people. Except, one snowy night, I stumble across a fancy car wedged into a ditch.

The driver needs my help.

He’s injured. Stranded. The snow lies two feet deep.

And over the next few days, I discover this quiet, thoughtful man doesn’t mind my run-down cottage and my lumpy old sofa. He's even quite tolerant of my smelly arthritic dog.

Strong. Handsome. Self-possessed.

A man who knows what he wants. In bed and out of it. And bizarrely, that thing is me.

But to be what he needs? I must step out of the shadows. And into his life.

Review By Ulysses Dietz

Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

This is sort of a loose-ends romance—two characters that appear minimally in the Rossingley Series—but for all that is a greatly satisfying short read, emotionally and narratively. There’s Rob Langdon, the tenant dairy farmer on the Rossingley estate, the handsome, taciturn blond who troubled the earl’s Manny, Toby, in past books. Then there’s Evan, the would-be best man for Jay Sorrentino, whose fate would lead him in another direction.

The focus of this story is Rob, the closeted 36-year-old dairy farmer, who is both deeply part of the Rossingley community and self-isolated from it. By not being able to come out in the village (in spite of a very gay earl), Rob has led a life alone—for all that he truly loves the farm his family has run for generations, right down to knowing each of his 300 cows by number.

When Rob arrives home on a snowy Boxing Day with his sister, he finds a fancy car off the road, its driver injured but conscious. Rob is the hero of the hour, and we learn a great deal (but not everything) about the mysterious, elegant Evan he pulls from the wrecked sedan.

This is a romantic comedy, with very little anxiety, but a generous dose of believable realism in bringing these two men together (about which I’ll say no more). What struck me, an elderly Kinsey 6 who could be father to both Evan and Rob, is that this is the story of two Kinsey 5’s, who somehow in the 21st century have managed to make themselves unhappy by trying to do what they think the world expects of them rather than look to their own truth. These are the kind of gay men who (again, for me, who came out 47 years ago because I had no choice) are endlessly frustrating, and yet Fearne Hill makes them understandable, likeable, sympathetic, and has her readers rooting for them almost from the first chapter.

The final, fairytale-like scene at Rossingley was beautifully handled. I loved every minute of it.

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