REVIEW: Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote


The Official Description: When two broken men look to each other for help, an unexpected romance blooms.

Stephen’s home, deep in the heart of the Welsh valleys, suits his reclusive nature. However, as he recovers from illness, he’s struggling to manage alone. As nature reclaims the land he’s poured his heart into cultivating, he becomes increasingly unhappy. His only outlet is his blog, where he documents the decline of the garden that had been his pride and joy.

Luke is more used to a concrete jungle. He was a high-flyer, living and working in London, until addiction sent him into free fall. Now on the road to recovery, he still wants to make some changes, but he’s unsure where to find the purpose and fulfilment he craves.

A mutual acquaintance suggests Luke visits Stephen to help him out for a while, and a seed of hope is planted. From prickly beginnings, shoots of friendship emerge, blossoming into a deeper connection when they act on their mutual attraction.

This was only ever supposed to be a temporary arrangement, and soon Stephen will be able to manage on his own again. But both men need each other in ways they’re afraid to admit. If their love is going to last for more than one season, they’ll need to find the courage to be honest.

Buy Links: Amazon US:  || Amazon UK: || Universal Link: – Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design

Length: 70,000 words approx.

Just the facts:  M/M romance, troubled pasts, mending each other.

A great story about two men who are dealing with hurt and struggling to get through to each other. Up there with the best of the genre! – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit:  Luke is a Londoner with mental health issues and a worrying reliance on liquor. Stephen is an accountant who is recovering from Guillain-Barré syndrome and his physical limitations. A mutual friend brings Luke and Stephen together when he realizes they are both in need of a bit of respite and may be able to help each other out.

I really enjoyed Northcote’s characterization of these two men. Stephen’s recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome was very authentic and his nightmares were disturbing. I can’t imagine living through something like that… it’s traumatic. It’s not surprising that Stephen is still coming to terms with his new limitations when Luke arrives.

The two men are in an uncomfortable situation at first… and Northcote captures that really well. They only know “of” each other through their mutual friend and have exchanges only a few short messages. Luke is going to help Stephen with chores around his house, and in the garden, as he learns more about it.

Things are going okay until the two men discover they are attracted to one another and decide to act on it. The encounter brings up both of their insecurities and causes problems quickly.

Nature is an important element in this story. There is life all around these two men: the cats that inhabit Stephen’s life, the garden, chickens. In a way, nature is part of the healing and companionship that both men need.

I really enjoyed the way the lives and histories of these two characters unfolded slowly in this story. The reader starts off knowing very little about Stephen and Luke except that they are dealing with difficult challenges. Once they come together that author reveals bits and pieces about each of them like precious little nuggets.

This was an enjoyable read and I would definitely read more by Northcote! This story has great characters, dialogue, and pacing!

The warnings bit: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) mentions/ descriptions of substance abuse, description of confinement/paralyzation, descriptions of recovering from Guillain-Barré syndrome, descriptions of living with a physical disability.

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press.



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I received an ARC of Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote via Signal Boost Promotions in exchange for an unbiased review.


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