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Letters from a Cowboy (Morning Report Stories) Paperback – June 10, 2015
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Chip and Simon's love was forbidden when they met, but thru their ups and downs, interfering ranch hands and bosses, they made it to the other side and got the happy ending they deserved.
A beautiful well written story.
At a time when rural America was a dangerous and unforgiving place for anyone who was not male, white, and straight, Simon and Chip find in each other a deep, abiding love. Even appearing to be gay could be a death sentence, tied behind a pick up truck and dragged to death, so when Simon and Chip can’t keep away from each other as they work on the Tamar ranch, they are taking a huge risk. Bullies in 1954 are not people who sneer, call names, and beat someone up. They are killers without a conscience. Eventually Simon sees the only solution is to leave the ranch and Chip behind, in order to save his lover’s life. The result is not what he hoped for and Simon gets word that Chip has fallen into despair and the life of an alcoholic.
There is an HEA to this book, although it is not an easy road to get to it. Sue Brown writes us back in time and then forward again to take us full circle in the Morning Report series. Beautifully done and a book that was needed to provide a backstory for not only the characters of the series but also an important part of the history of gays in America. It may make you cry and cringe but in the end we come back to love is love. I highly recommend this book, which can be read as a stand alone novel, and the entire Morning Report series.
It does have a different feel to the other books, but that's not surprising as it's set in a completely different era. I enjoyed seeing the glimpse of life in drought-ridden Texas in the 1950s. It was also satisfying to have the mystery of the letters solved.
The characters were wonderful, the story engaging, the ending happy. 4.5 stars.
Simon Wood is an ex-solider cowboy going from ranch to ranch looking for work. Simon is gay and trouble seems to follow his dick. With his new job, it should've been a clean slate and then he meets coworker and fellow cowboy, Charles "Chip" Henson, with his "movie star chin". Both men share the same predilection for men and try to deny their shared feelings. Being gay in the fifties could lead to a lot of different atrocities. This is Sue Brown though...so of course they're going to hook up.
I thought their getting together was quick, their shared feelings were kind of insta-lovey but somehow it worked. Also the dialogue read like I was reading something in 2015 at times, not saying in the fifties the language was vastly different but something about it felt modern at times. I also like the way the story is broken up. I did have to go back to read it because I was afraid I wasn't going to get a HEA (there is one).
Simon was good at everything: cooking, cleaning, befriending other cowboys, finding lost people, etc. He reminded me of Weber, the cowboy from Mary Calmes' "Frog" a little bit. And Chip, he definitely is a Sue Brown character. He goes off the rails once things change. It seemed like a lot of people in Chip and Simon's life had a family member that was gay and was sympathetic to their relationship. Not everyone but a lot of characters. It made their secret relationship easier and (at times) sloppy hiding techniques also easier to get away with. Because sometimes those two namely Chip, just couldn't keep it together. And yet I enjoyed it.
I should warn there is racism, homophobia that is authentic to the time period. Also there is minor character death and animal death. Sue Brown is known to bring the angst and she did but it wasn't extreme. If I had to describe this book it'd be as if "Bareback" and "Brokeback Mountain" had a soap opera baby, because I couldn't stop reading. So much sex between cowboys who were supposed to try to keep it secret. That was hot. And the letter writing, that was the reason why this book was created. The letters Chip and Simon wrote to each other to hook up and share their feelings, were found on the Low Cost Ranch in present day.
The author gave the letter writers their own story. :) Hot, angsty and a little bittersweet with a HEA.
This can be read as a standalone as I've not read the previous books.
But I definitely will be rectifying that.