Reviewed by Susan65
Title: Conner’s Courage
Author: SJD Peterson
Series: Whispering Pines Ranch #4
Heroes: John Price/Conner Burnett
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 198 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 3, 2012
Available at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: John Price and Conner Burnett have been part of the Whispering Pines Ranch for the past thirty-seven years. A loving couple who have overcome every obstacle thrown at them, John and Conner are a testament to the strength of true love. But now John is in the hospital with a diagnosis of cancer, fighting for his very life.
As his lover struggles, Conner looks back on when they first met. The early seventies wasn’t an easy time to be a gay man, especially in a small country town. Considering John’s pride, Conner’s need to be himself, shame, bitterness, and two stubborn natures, their love story almost wasn’t written. But they beat the odds, and Conner will be damned if he’ll let anyone take John from him now. He had the courage to stand up for what he wanted in 1974. If need be, he’ll go toe to toe with God himself to keep the man he fought so hard to love.
Please note that I am a firm believer in safe sex practices. However, this novel was set in 1974 with no AIDS in sight, and most venereal diseases treated with a simple shot, it was “The golden age of Gay sexuality.”
Conner and John were such incredible secondary characters in the previous books that I knew their own story would be magnificent…and it was. Conner especially had my heart. I can’t imagine how difficult being a gay man in the 70s was for him considering he was the complete opposite of the masculine cowboys he worked with and cooked for. John lost the battle to stay hidden in his deep closet the minute Conner showed up at Whispering Pines…it was just a matter of time before he realized it himself.
I loved seeing how the two initially met and the fact that they didn’t fall instantly and hopelessly in love…in lust, maybe, but these two almost didn’t even have a future let alone a night together.
Conner was small, appeared years younger than his age, he loved to sway, he called everyone honey, and he cooked like a Paris trained chef. John was a big cowboy who thought that men should act like men, and thought it would be a good idea to let Conner know he was embarrassing himself. I am surprised John could still walk after that scene.
I must admit that I held off reading this book because I was afraid of how it would end. The prologue alone was enough to make me back away and think it over before I braved it out and forced myself to pick it back up. And it was so worth it. This book is so real, so sweet, really sad at times, and so incredibly good for my heart. I can’t imagine anyone I would not recommend this book to…but read the others first, definitely.
Cole is the owner of the ranch and I adored him and his wife Cindy. They were wonderful side characters and played a huge part in Conner and John’s life. The fact that they accepted the real Conner and wouldn’t allow any homophobia to touch him was so beautiful, especially for the 70s. We also have appearances from past characters, and it’s always a delight to see Ty.
The ending is where I was excited to get to, but afraid at the same time. How could this story possibly end on a positive note considering their ages and the health scare? I was so tempted to just skip it, but I didn’t, I braved the storm and came out with a better perspective on the long lasting effects of a real true love relationship. Conner and John are now firmly in my top ten of favorite MM characters. Bravo SJD, you hit this one out of ballpark. Now to read about poor Jesse…sniff sniff.
Overall Impression: I loved it
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*