Book Reviews

The Blacksmith and the Ex-Con (Farthingdale Ranch 2) by Jackie North at Blue Rain Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Cowboys / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 21-June-2021

Book Blurb

“If anybody ever needed him, Ellis did. Ellis was broken. Jasper liked to fix things.”

Jasper has the perfect life. He’s a blacksmith at a small guest ranch in Wyoming. The last thing he needs is to have that perfect life interrupted by a shifty-eyed ex-con, but the ranch needs the tax benefits the ex-con program will bring.


Traumatized by his time in prison, Ellis can barely speak. He’s about to be offered parole. He knows he will hate working on the guest ranch, but what other option does he have?


It’s not love at first sight. It’s not hate at first sight, either, but something in between.


Book Review

“I've been through it all. Soft and hard, thick and thin, possibles and the impossibles, even hanging by a thread. But it’s all worth you.” ~ unknown


Two years in prison has nearly destroyed Ellis, of ‘The Blacksmith and the Ex-con’ by Jackie North. Within a few years, he went from being an English high school teacher to an ex-con. Finally he has been offered parole at a guest ranch. Ellis doesn’t think he will like it, but it’s been so long since he had anything to appreciate that he is unsure what it feels like anymore. When he meets big, bulky Jasper, the ranch’s blacksmith, Ellis fears the worst; he has exchanged one bully for another. To his surprise, in Jasper Ellis finds someone who, although gruff on the exterior, is compassionate on the interior.


Jasper isn’t too keen on participating in Farthingdale’s new parolee program, but since his boss and ranch owner have put their first candidate in his care, Jasper will try his best to make it a success. When Ellis arrives, it appalls Jasper to see how badly the corrections officer treats him. As soon as Jasper has Ellis in his care, he assesses him for any problem that may come up. The first thing he notices is that Ellis can’t speak. After ascertaining that it’s not a physical problem, Jasper calls upon his military experience. He has seen this kind of behavior in the field by men traumatized by a mission. Jasper learns to read Ellis in a way no one else has ever cared to do. He sees beyond his tough-guy exterior into the vulnerability Ellis tries so hard to hide.


Ellis has trusted no one in a long time, but Jasper, with his perception and forgiving nature, is impossible not to open up to. Ellis needs someone to trust and to be trusted, someone to protect him even from himself. He needs someone to help him find his way out of the horrible darkness that has encompassed him for the past two years and into the light. Jasper doesn’t realize how much he has closed himself off after his ex's betrayal. By helping Ellis, Jasper is helping himself as well.


‘The Blacksmith and the Ex-con’ is another touching addition to the Farthingdale series. Ellis broke my heart. Yes, he committed crimes, but he had a good reason. His mom’s situation is a good argument for Universal Health Care! Jasper and Ellis needed each other in ways they weren’t aware of. That’s what made their match a perfect one. Thanks, Jackie! I’m looking forward to book three.




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 312 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 25-May-2021
Price $4.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Buy Link