The Official Description: Previously Published Summerhouse Publishing as “Breaking Bear,” May 2011; Forever More Publishing as “Breaking Bear,” December 2014. 2016 edition with 10,000 added words.
Former soldier Johnny Redbear is a gay cowboy who has never been with another man. He kept his desires buried deep, married, had a family and lost everything when he came out. All he has left now are horses and hard work. A lightning strike, fire and death burn his already complicated world to white-hot ash.
Johnny moves across country to escape his past—and maybe get a “do over.” Too bad his post-traumatic stress disorder is riding shotgun. Then he meets a horse trainer named Sig. He finds it’s time to saddle up and face the storm head-on. Will the next lightning strike put him asunder or spark life in the beast within?
Just the facts: Novella, M/M romance, cowboys, heavy themes
A man with PTSD travels across the country to flee his past, and finds his first male parnter almost by accident. – Kinzie Things
My thoughts bit: I’m new to Darragha Foster’s books and this was a very short novella so I’m not sure I got a good feel for the author’s writing.
This story is about Johnny Jewell, who has been through a lot… he has come out to his wife which has resulted in him losing his family and he has left to travel far away so that he can leaving his troubles behind him. When he gets a new job on a ranch he meets Sig who is a “gay, Icelandic, Buddhist cowboy.” For the first time ever, Johnny meets a man he may be able to have some sort of relationship with.
This story is well-written, but there sure is a lot going on in it for such a short number of pages. Please read the warnings below if you’re interested in this one. I thought that some of the things that crop up could have used more time… but in a work this short, that’s impossible.
Johnny is a wounded character for sure. He’s been through more than most people should have to endure in a lifetime. Johnny’s Grandmother was indigenous and he learned a lot from her. As he tries to get his life on a more even keel, he embraces some of his Grandmother’s ways. He has a true natural talent with horses and credits his work with them for saving his life. I enjoyed these references to Indigenous culture, but I can’t speak to the authenticity of that.
I was a bit bothered about how Johnny spoke about his children and how they were a big part of his life…but he had moved away from them? I wasn’t sure how that meant his children would be in his life at all.
This is a fast read… would work for a commute! Don’t forget to read those warnings though.
Things You May Want To Know: 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) character has PTSD, supporting character is struck by lightning and killed, a horse is hit by lightning and is killed (it’s a bit unclear), description of a house fire that children are trapped in (they are injured but okay).
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About the Author:
Darragha Foster writes of the strange and unusual–because that’s her life.
Connect with Darragha:
@darragha (IG) @darraghafoster (TikTok), darraghafoster (FB), authorjjandrews (FB)
I received an ARC of When Lightning Strikes by Darragha Foster from Gay Romance Reviews in exchange for an unbiased review.