Author: Pat Henshaw
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: MM Contemporary
Summary: Everything about thirty-five-year-old Stone Acres hardware store owner Frank McCord is old-fashioned—from his bow tie and overalls to the way he happily makes house calls to his dreams of lasting romance, true love, and marriage. Frank’s predecessors have run the store and been mainstays in the small California town for over a century. While genial Frank upholds tradition and earns the respect of friends and neighbors, he fears he’s too dull and old to attract a husband.
Then handsome thirty-six-year-old electronic games designer Christopher Darling and his fifteen-year-old son, Henry, come into his life. Christopher has everything Frank could want in a potential partner: charm, kindness, and compatibility. Also, he’s a terrific father to Henry. When their Stone Acres home turns out to be uninhabitable, Frank offers the Darlings temporary lodging in his ancestral farmhouse, where he and his tenant Emil reside. Since Emil thinks Frank is his, sparks fly. Suddenly, Frank’s monotonous life promises to explode with love and threatens to change him forever.
Review: This installment in the Foothills Pride series centers around old-fashioned Frank, the owner of the local hardware store who has done things, worn things, spoken things exactly as his grandfather did and he thinks that is what people expect. But Frank is a romantic, he wants a partner to cherish, someone who will love him and see him. It takes the moving in of Christopher and his son, Henry, to shake Frank up.
I liked the characters very much, Frank in particular because he just yearns so even as he is helping and caring for others in the community. The story is told first person point of view by Frank, so we don’t get much of a voice from Christopher but it was enough for me. Those readers who are not fans of insta-love may have a problem with this one, because they do fall in love very quickly. Frank also makes huge changes in his life pretty much just based on meeting Christopher, but I was on board with that. You see what you need and you work on getting it. Go Frank!
When Frank offers Christopher and Henry a place to stay while their house gets fixed, as well as offering Henry a job (legitimately earned, I might add) at the hardware store, all three get the chance to know each other and maybe learn to be a family. There is drama in the form of Frank’s renter, Emil, which at times was over-the-top. You have to wonder what would have happened had Christopher not entered the picture.
I liked that Henry, who is 15, actually acts like a 15-year-old. I did question if he never saw his other dad. Granted, Christopher’s ex pulled a douche move but I was curious why Henry didn’t see him. I also questioned what happens with Frank’s house (don’t want to spoil!) because I had just listened to Redesigning Max, where the same thing happens, and I thought, “What kind of place is this!”
Christopher and Frank are not without baggage, a divorce, Emil, panic attacks and past trauma, but they learn to be there for each other. There is a moment of misunderstanding on Frank’s part that I rolled my eyes at but I’ll give him some slack. He is, after all, new to romance.
This is a sweet addition to Foothills Pride and I liked Christopher, Frank and Henry very much.