'Foxglove Copse' is the 5th book in the 'Porthkennack' series. I haven't read all the books in this series and while I hope to do so at some time I'm really enjoying being able to pick and choose the ones I read without feeling like I've missed anything in the ones that I do chose to read.
This is actually my first time reading a book by this author and I really enjoyed this story. Sam Atkins had the life...the money, the home, the job all the material things that are often taken as signs of success but for Sam the price that he's paid for this has been extracted from his heart and soul and when he finds he can no longer pay that price he runs. Divesting himself of his material gains he begins to live the life of a wanderer and six months into his vagabond life he finds himself on the road to Porthkennack. It's a road that not only leads him to the place he'll ultimately call home but the man who will help him begin to heal.
Whatever flaws this story may have contained were by far outweighed by the heart of this story. 'Foxglove Copse' is more than a love story it's a story about love. I know it seems like semantics but love is probably the most complicated four letter word in any language and while it has can be defined by just a few words there can be a zillion different meanings and in this story we get to see some of those meanings through the eyes of Sam a man whose family has abused him mentally and emotionally leaving him floundering for a place to seek shelter and call home until he meets Ruan.
Ruan is a man whose family loves him unconditionally. Ruan knows what it's like to have that surety that no matter what he will always be loved...he will always have a shelter from the storms that life may bring his way.
Together Sam and Ruan discover that home is where the heart is and both men realize that they can trust each other to protect their heart. But there's more to this story than just the romance between Sam and Ruan there's a mystery because someone's trying to scare Ruan's Aunt Jennifer and as things escalate Sam and Ruan get drawn into the heart of events whether they want to be or not. People are being stalked, harassed and bullied...people that Ruan cares about, people that Sam is beginning to care about. Somehow events at Aunt Jennifer's farm are connected to things even more sinister and if Sam and Ruan are going to have a future than they need to work together to figure out what's happening and why.
While I love a good mystery and this one was more than a little interesting what enchanted me the most about this story was Sam. For Sam this was about more than falling in love. This was Sam's second chance...his chance to find himself and reclaim the part of him that he believed was gone. His faith and confidence were shaken to the core if not non-existent and while Ruan may have helped him. In the end if was Sam who had to dig down deep and believe in himself again if he wanted a chance at a life with Ruan and the promise of home and family that it offered and Ruan came to realize that in Sam, he had a partner and that together they could shelter each other from life's storms.
Equally as important is the role played by family and community in this story. Ruan's parents are loving and supportive of their children which is a real contrast to Sam's family, whom we only get glimpses of through Sam's conversations with his mother and yes, I am using this term loosely and then there is Sam's sister and I'll just say here yes, I wanted to slap-a-bitch here. Seriously she opened her mouth once in this book and it was one time too many.
In the end yes, the mystery gets solved but it's Sam who made me love this book so much. It's seeing him go from a broken man who ran from his family...from an environment that was robbing him of his heart and soul to a man who found love, who was finding himself again and who was creating a family for himself the kind of family that would love him and believe in him...a family that would always have his back. This was the story that enchanted me.
'Porthkanneck' is quickly becoming one of those places that I enjoy visiting and I'm sure I'll be going back again soon.
A copy of 'Foxglove Copse' was graciously provided by the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.