Then the Stars Fall by Brandon Witt

Then the Stars FallTitle: Then the Stars Fall
Author: Brandon Witt
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m, contemporary
Published: September 29th 2014
Rating: Five Stars
Blurb:
The death of his wife four years earlier left Travis Bennett a shell of the man he used to be. With his dog by his side, Travis raises his three children, manages his business, and works as a ranch hand. But every day, every minute, is an aching emptiness.
Wesley Ryan has fond memories of the small Ozark town of El Dorado. Seeing it as a safe place to put his failed relationships behind him, Wesley moves into his grandparents’ old home and takes over the local veterinary clinic. An early morning visit from Travis and his dog stirs feelings that Wesley seeks to push away—the last thing he needs is to fall for a man with baggage and three kids as part of the package.
Life, it seems, has other plans.
Review:
I had never heard of Brandon Witt. I knew nothing about him or his writing. Then I went to GRL 2014. One of my favorite events is the author readings. During my first GRL, last year, I found some wonderful authors through this event, and this is how I found Brandon Witt this year. I listened to him read from Then the Stars Fall.  I cried. Then I bought the book.

I was not disappointed.

The story is set in El Dorado, Missouri, a small town which the author describes with such detail and richness that it is like being there with the characters. His characters feel real. Whether they were ones that I liked or not (and there are some that were very unlikeable), they were well developed and I felt invested in their stories.

The main character, Travis Bennett – widower, father of three, still grieving four years after losing his wife and best friend, Shannon – is a character that I did not immediately connect with. He is conflicted, angry, confused and at times abrasive. He is trying to navigate a life that he had never planned for, and he is not sure how to keep the promises he made to Shannon before she died.

When his dog, Dunkyn, needs medical attention, he meets Wesley Ryan, the new veterinarian in town. It is definitely not the best way for these men to meet. Wesley stirs feelings that Travis has been pushing aside for years, which just adds to his surliness. Wesley, knowing nothing about Travis or his past, is confused by his attitude and yet sees there is more there, an underlying story, a pain beyond his fear for his dog.

When Wesley becomes friends with Wendy Bennett, Travis’s sister, it brings the men together again for dinner at the Bennett’s house. Travis cannot deny his attraction to Wesley and while he feels guilt over his attraction to Wesley, he also has promises to keep to Shannon.

The excerpt the author read at GRL was from this scene and it was so incredibly beautiful.
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They kissed.
Animals slept.
They kissed.
The barn continued to stand.
They kissed.
Maybe a few stars fell.

(From Then the Stars Fall, by Brandon Witt.)

Photo courtesy of Bonnie Herbert, GRL 2014.

I enjoyed the way the author gradually develops the relationship between Wesley and Travis. It is slow and realistic, with misunderstandings as well as humorous moments. I loved the way we meet the family and people in the town as they interact with both men. The details and events give the story such depth; I felt the pain, the anger, the frustration, the grief, the sense of betrayal, the laughter, the love and the hope as the story unfolds.

The book is divided into seasonal sections beginning with autumn and ending with spring and an epilogue. The chapters are written from particular characters POV, not always Travis and Wesley. I thought it was a great way to get to know the characters better and how they perceived what was happening in the story.

This book can be read as a stand-alone book although I understand that the book The Shattered Door is actually the first book written in this world and contains back-story and more detail about some of the characters in this book.

Then the Stars Fall is beautifully written and one I happily recommend.

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Happy Reading,

Melyna

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3 thoughts on “Then the Stars Fall by Brandon Witt

  1. You’ve only increased my need to read this book. And, thank you for putting in the fact that the story had more than one pov. Another selling point for me. I sometimes have trouble staying with a story if I’m unable to really know what the other characters are thinking. Great review! It’s definitely been added to my TBR list.

    Liked by 1 person

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