Erryn reviews Then the Stars Fall by Brandon Witt (Republished by author, April 7, 2020 , 441 pages) The audiobook was narrated by Andrew McFerrin, was released on April 28, 2015, and is 12 hrs and 22 mins long.
Why I read this book: Brandon Witt audiobooks are a must for me.
The death of his wife four years earlier left Travis Bennett a shell of the man he used to be. With his dog by his side, Travis raises his three children, manages his business, and works as a ranch hand. But every day, every minute, is an aching emptiness.
Wesley Ryan has fond memories of the small Ozark town of El Dorado Springs. Seeing it as a safe place to put his failed relationships behind him, Wesley moves into his grandparents’ old home and takes over the local veterinary clinic. An early morning visit from Travis and his dog stirs feelings that Wesley seeks to push away – the last thing he needs is to fall for a man with baggage and three kids as part of the package.
Life, it seems, has other plans.
This book takes up about four years after “The Shattered Door.” There are a few familiar characters in the Ozarks town of El Dorado.
The new veterinarian is the talk of the town. From his pink shoelaces, colourful Miata, and rainbow bumper sticker, he is clearly comfortable with his homosexuality. But many of the townsfolk are not. Sure, there was that gay couple a few years back, but they left town. There’s that kid who has grown up and gone to college, but there are no gay pride parades in this town. Two of Wesley Ryan’s first clients are reminders that he’s not in Kansas City anymore. One man calls him a fag and the other all but attacks him, expecting a blowjob.
But Wes is able to keep his head about him because he’s only here long enough to get over the heartbreak of losing his long-time boyfriend who has replaced him with some twink.
His first meeting with Travis Bennett was all about Travis’ sick dog Dunkyn. A chance meeting with Travis’ sister Wendy leaves Wes with a better picture of the gruff man who doesn’t say very much.
Travis Bennett has been living as a ghost of a man since losing his wife four years ago. With an eight-year-old son and young twins, he was at a complete loss. His wife had been the love of his life and he had planned out their future with her and their children. But life can be a bitch and plans change. His sister Wendy moved in and Travis has been going through the motions ever since.
Wes’ arrival in town has managed to shake him from his torpor. Now he’s having feelings he had believed long-dead.
Life in El Dorado, however, is not easy. Being gay is not embraced. Secrecy is important. Both men have baggage. So where does that leave them? One man is out and proud and the other is in the closet because of fear of losing what he has. He never wants to disappoint his parents, his children, his sister, and his former in-laws. It feels like a no-win situation.
But chaos is about to descend upon the man who has been living in stasis for four years.
Can Wes and Travis survive or will the dark forces of evil destroy the love between them?
This book has only minor religious overtones, far fewer than “The Shattered Door.” But small-town life in America is still portrayed in vivid detail. Some people are accepting of homosexuality while others are vitriolic and bigoted.
Andrew McFerrin has again done a wonderful job. The book is told from multiple points of view and McFerrin handles the kids’, the women’s, and the villain’s voices well. This is another Brandon Witt book that I love.
Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly influenced by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about…