Book Reviews

Then the Stars Fall by Brandon Witt

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Drama
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 07-April-2020

Book Blurb

Wesley Ryan’s fond memories of the small Ozark town of El Dorado Springs gives him the confidence to leave his city life and failed relationships for a new start. Seeking a safe place, Wesley moves into his grandparents' old home and takes over the local veterinary clinic. 

Travis Bennett perseveres in raising his three children and managing his business, but the death of his wife four years earlier has left him a shell of the man he used to be. Every day, every minute, is an aching emptiness. Finding love again seems far out of reach, not that Travis would even consider looking.

When an early morning visit from Travis and his dog stirs feelings in Wesley, pushing them away is the safest course—the last thing Wesley needs is to fall for a man with baggage.

Life, however, has other plans.

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, September 2014.

Book Review

‘Then the Stars Fall’ is a very special book and I totally adored it. The writing is emotional, almost lyrical in places, and the characters are so real, as are their issues, they seemed to jump off the page and want to wander into my life. And not just the two main characters either, but all of the secondary ones as well. True to the small town setting, where everyone knows everyone else, each and every person in this book was real, and had a contribution to make. Brandon Witt went as far as to include small vignettes in some of the secondary characters’ point of view, and I think that contributed significantly to my feeling of everyone being involved, listened to, and playing a role in helping Travis come to terms with not just his wife’s death, but the guilt that follows when he realizes he might just fall in love again.

The result is a gentle, slow-burning romance where none was expected. For me, watching Travis emerge from four years of heartbreaking grief about his wife’s death from cancer was hard going in the beginning because he was so sad and lost. Only as he began to come out of the depths of his despair did I dare hope for a happy ending for him – an ending in which his wife plays a pivotal role, even though she is no longer physically present. And the fact it takes him a whole year to deal with everything just made the book even more special.  

Travis is a fascinating and complex character. Within the first few pages of the novel I learned a few of the most important things about him: he is deeply loyal to people, he has only survived the last four years for the sake of his children, and he has done not much more than go through the motions. When his dog gets sick, Travis fears it may be cancer, and all the memories about his wife’s illness start coming back. The new vet in town manages to reassure Travis, and that first contact is all it takes for the two men to become friends and then more. Travis doesn’t want it to happen, since he still hasn’t stopped grieving and is not ready to move on, but their relationship soon develops its own dynamic.

Wesley doesn’t want a relationship either, he is trying to get away from the latest failure when he moves into his grandparents’ house. He is intent on setting up a veterinary practice, all about the job and not expecting to meet many (if any) gay men in the small town anyway. Travis is a surprise, but Wesley doesn’t like the baggage he carries. Luckily, as the blurb says, “life has other plans” and Wesley begins to realize there is more to Travis, and his feelings for the widower than he expected. Life for Wesley isn’t easy, so I was very glad to see he is a patient man.

If you like emotionally intense stories about real people, if you think a story about a man coming back from the traumatic, life-destroying death of his wife to rediscover love is worth reading, and if you’re looking for a wonderful story that runs the gamut from bittersweet to deeply romantic, then you will probably like this novel. I love that it’s message is about hope as much as about the power of love, and the story and its characters will stay with me for a long time.





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 441 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 07-April-2020
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link