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Summary

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.

 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.

This audiobook is a standalone with a satisfying happy ending.

©2019 Jay Northcote (P)2020 Jay Northcote

What listeners say about Where Love Grows

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Raw and Beautiful

I loved this SO much! The characters were so raw and emotional. There was so much depth to them, every part of their pain a part of them, and every decision they make. The connection between the characters was so strong and yet so tentative. They were perfect yet imperfect and it was exactly why everything planned out how it did. I loved it. Every bit. The narrator is good in this for Luke but his changed Walsh accent for Stephen was touch and go. Sometimes it was dropped for awhile but when it was on it was excellent. Over all I really liked it.

1 person found this helpful

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Good

The story is a slow burn, sweet, sexy romance. Both characters are written with depth and vulnerability, just enough that they are both adorable but you find yourself wanting to bang their heads together. Loved the narrator's voice, I could listen to him all day. Any book by Jay Northcote is a good to read or listen to. Pretty In Pink is my next audio.

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Another fantastic story

I have read and listened to lots of fantastic books by Jay Northcote and this one did not disappoint.

I really enjoyed how the relationship between Stephen and Luke developed as they both came out of their shells and help each other heal from their difficult pasts.

The narration from the wonderful Hamid Long was once again fantastic and his Welsh and London accents were brilliant.

Overall, a great listen.

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This story grows on you

I can see that Stephen could be a hard person to like at the being of this book. H's had it rough and his life is no longer what it once was. He grumpy, gruff and hard to get along with, cutting himself off from everything he once loved and anyone who might care. Into this come Luke, a London boy with addiction issues. Sounds like a Garrett Leigh book rather than a Jay Northcote, eh? But no, this is all Northcote and has his style all the way through. So readers hearts don't get ripped asunder and instead we have lovely moments where the relationship develops and only occasional glimpses of angst.
Hamish Long does a great job with the Welsh accent here and gives another brilliant performance.

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Beautiful Love Story, Hamish Long is Fantastic!

Jay Northcote’s Where Love Grows is a beautifully paced, tender and romantic love story. Both characters are in serious need of some TLC and, while getting there takes some doing, the happy ending to this one is very rewarding.

What a perfect opposites-attract couple! Gruff and defensive, Stephen’s ongoing recovery from a debilitating illness has left him lonely and miserable. Meanwhile Luke is floundering while struggling to overcome his own demons. A mutual friend's suggestion these two pair up and help each other out is a good one.

It takes a bit of doing, but once these two men get to interacting, there's no denying the chemistry! Throughout the story I was charmed by Luke’s ability to open up, and then demand the same from Stephen. Laying it all out there, emotionally and sexually, leads to thei couple’s eventual success, and Jay Northcote writes some great dialogue (as well as some fantastically erotic love scenes).

I adored Hamish Long’s performance in the audio version of Where Love Grows. He uses two very distinct voices for Stephen and Luke, and that was essential for this novel. Luke’s adorable London accent shows his more playful, open nature. And Stephen’s gruff more formal speech adds to his character as well.

While the romance is really lovely, I got a real kick out of Jay Northcotes descriptions of Stephen’s home. The work that Luke does around the estate, as well as their trip to the nursery for plants, and the arrival of the chickens are wonderful - and I’ve got no doubt that Hamish Long bringing it all to life enhanced my enjoyment.

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Lovely and Beautiful Story

This was a standalone contemporary romance novel about two broken men who both found themselves stuck in a rut. Stephen is recovering at a slow pace from a genetic illness feeling bitter about the way his body has betrayed him. Luke is battling addiction and trying to find meaning in his life. When a mutual friend proposes a solution that would help both Stephen and Luke find a way to move forward in their lives, they take a chance that will completely change everything.

I really enjoyed this book. There were plenty of times where my heart ached for both Stephen and Luke, but Jay Northcote also had moments of sweetness and fluff to help balance out the angst. The author really did a great job with portraying the difficulties that come with recovering from injuries and illness. There are no quick fixes or magic solutions, and recovering can be grueling with its slow pace. I also liked how beautiful Stephen and Luke’s relationship was—even though there were many obstacles and hard moments, they overcame and built something real with each other.

Hamish Long narrates this audiobook and does a lovely job. His voice is smooth and has a wide range of different U.K. accents. All the characters felt real and were easy to distinguish from each other. I had no trouble following along with the audiobook, and really enjoyed listening to this story.

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Beautiful love story

Jay Northcote is quickly becoming a go to author for me and this is the best I’ve listened to so far.
The story has a beautiful symmetry that shows the healing of two broken men,Luke and Steven the former from a breakdown and mental trauma, the latter from a debilitating illness. Both men suffer from insecurities but love manages to blossom.
Blossoming love is key as the emergence of love is mirrored in their tending and developing Steven’s huge garden. The garden is of course, a metaphor for the lives of the two main characters; shades of ‘The Secret Garden’’ in the way nature is shown to restore and heal.
The narration is crisp and light and beautifully read. A lovely, lovely read.
Highly recommend.

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Love truely grows in this one

Stephen and Luke are both damaged and hurting when a mutual friend arranges for Luke to move from London to Stephen's home in Wales to help out with Stephen's beloved but neglected garden. Neither man seem genuinely happy with the arrangement at first, but gradually they start liking each other at first and then, as the title suggest, their feelings grow. This is a slow burn romance going from strangers to friends and then onto more, all while we get to see how the garden they work on is being awakened and goes from pretty much dead to blossoming at the same time as the men's hearts do.

At first it was easier for me to like Luke since Stephen was prickly and frankly not very nice, but when getting to know Stephen better both Luke and I got to understand him and like him a lot more and he turned out to be a worthy partner for Luke.

I absolutely loved Hamish Long's narration! His voice is so very comfortable to listen to and he gives both Stephen and Luke perfect voices and he makes this book even better.

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Beautiful story 💜

This was the first book I read by Jay Northcote and I loved this story so much. I think it is because I could relate to both characters. Hamish Long definitely did this story justice. I love the way he puts empathy into a story and I loved how he got both characters emotions, feelings and thoughts across so well.

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Amazing

I was so inspired by the words in this book. I absolutely loved the theme of blossoming outside where it's fresh and real vs. being potted and relying on an artificial environment to grow.

I loved the tenuous relationship between the MC's as their time together started and he way that Stephen pushed himself to be what Luke needed, yet when it was too far, Luke took care of him.

It was a generous story of two men in pain, both giving what they had left to each other. Very well done.

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  • ❤️🎧Cyndi Marie🎧❤️Audiobook Addicts❤️🎧
  • 14-08-20

✫✫ 4 Stars ✫✫

Another great book by Jay Northcote. I love how different all of his books are.
This one is emotional with both characters having their own struggles and together they find a new way. I loved how even though neither was looking for someone, they not only found each other but they also found a way to work through and with their problems. Stephen is a bit of a downer in the beginning but Luke brings a little sunshine and courage back into his life. Luke showed Stephen that he could still do a lot of things he thought he couldn't any longer. I also really liked the changes in Luke throughout this book, he finds a life he knows will make him happy even if he is alone. Their love story is beautiful as was the road that led them there.

Hamish Long is a great narrator. He really does a great job at keeping the characters separate and has a voice I could listen to any day. I get very excited when I see his name on a new Jay Northcote audiobook.

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  • Cranky Reader
  • 15-04-21

Good until it wasn’t

This was a charming story of two people who needed companionship finding it while tending a large garden property. It was “mostly good with quibbles” until the climax when instead of resolving the quibbles, the quibbles exploded in a bunch of nope. It was disheartening to have guys who care about sexual consent be so wrong about lashing out. There’s no physical violence, but I found Steven too verbally mean to enjoy. Starts as a 4 star story, ends as a 2.

This review contains Spoilers-

Spoilers here:
Steven has health issues. As a result he has limited energy and limited muscle use to get through each day. This was portrayed well enough, although I would have expected more recovery days, not just recovery baths. The problem is, while he has no internalized homophobia, Steven’s internalized ableism is chart topping. He reacts to *every* perceived slight by lashing out verbally, and unfairly. In order for him to earn his HEA, he needed to improve that dramatically. He doesn’t improve it, ever. He gives non-apology apologies of “I didn’t mean it”, not “here’s what I did wrong and what I won’t do in the future”. He acknowledges some wrongdoing but it came with no assurances to Luke or the reader that this behavior will improve. Steven’s go-to fight move is to revoke housing. That is a relationship ender. Luke never did anything abusive to justify that nuclear option. That it happened once? Bad but forgivable if he learns. He does not learn, he does it again. Kicked out twice and still treat it as a whoopsie daisy? It’s over. Mean it or don’t use it. Yes, Luke has money so he won’t be out in the cold, but revoking housing as a go-to move is abusive and not ok (unless your life is threatened or you are truly intent on ending a relationship). On top of the ableism & revoking housing, he also has unaddressed PTSD. One conversation does not make severe panic attacks go away. The PTSD needs as much grace as the author granted his GB disability and doesn’t get it. Steven thinks he’s unlovable because he can’t do full time labor. He’s unlovable because he won’t ask for help, lashes out cruelly when offered necessary help, barely allows help with extreme testiness unless “tricked”, goes nuclear in fights with loved ones, and sucks at apologies.

Spoilers continue:
For this book to work for me, Steven needed to learn his ableist thoughts weren’t helpful & make progress toward losing that ableism. Instead, he kept “justifying” his lashing out and caused Luke to tap dance around how to give Steven necessary help. But he never even tries to stop lashing out when his disability accommodations are acknowledged. Then the second time he told Luke to leave? It was over for me. It isn’t safe to live with someone who revokes your housing and says things they “don’t mean” to hurt you.

More Spoilers:
Luke, OTOH, is mostly ok except that his go-to move is drinking to excess and I don’t know enough about alcoholism to know if his was a realistic enough portrayal. I know people who date teetotalers when they want to cut back their drinking, so Luke not drinking with Steven makes sense to me. But I was worried about how easily he dove back into the bottle when he’s wanting to move in with someone who has variably debilitating disability and anger management issues. He handles Steven’s disability 10X better than Steven does, and having his own money helps, but he can’t derail if Steven needs to sleep for a week. He may do ok if Steven stops booting him out. Luke grows some as a person in this book. Steven does not. That asymmetric character arc doesn’t spell HEA for me, however many chickens they have.

A frustration:
There’s an act that has Luke interacting with a houseless neighbor. He’s compassionate but doesn’t know & never asks the guy for his name. (Asking is enough, they guy is not obligated to say). When the houseless pop up on his radar later, he could have been thinking “Is that Gary?” not “Is that a random homeless person?”. The cats and the chickens are named characters. As it is, the homeless person who is in more than one scene is a plot device, not a character, and specifically, not a named character. This oversight bothered me.
/end of Spoilers

Steam: Hot. M/M They have sex a lot and they enjoy it. Good for them! There’s good consent, and no negativity in the boudoir about being gay, which is always nice. iirc, the fights I don’t like do not occur during sexytimes. Which is to say the love scenes are safe and loving, which is always refreshing, and why I kept the overall rating at 3 instead of 2.

Narration: Well done overall. I think the accents were well done too (and consistent, which is key), but I’m an american so factor that in.

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  • Mark D
  • 23-01-21

Eh nothing new

Same old gay plots with different characters. The assumptions he him jumping to were ridiculous if you actually thought about. Good narrator though.

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  • Brittany (A Bit Smutty Book Blog)
  • 08-09-20

Loved the story and narration was on point

First, Hamish Long, where have you been all my narration life? Narration was perfection!

Loved the story between Luke and Stephen. It’s definitely a slow burn but there is so much underlying emotion that I’m glad they had to work through it.

Not too angsty which was something I was in need of. This might be my first Jay Northcote
read but not my last!

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  • Lady Di
  • 07-02-21

Awesome

What more can I say???Jay and Hamish. An incredible team. Great book great story. You must give it a try you won’t be disappointed.

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  • Karen Hardy
  • 05-10-20

I wasn't sure about this one going into things...

and that really had very little to do with the actual story. It was more about the fact that this is an age gap story and lately for me that trope seems to be getting done to death, but it's Jay Northcote and I just can't seem to say "no" to the opportunity to listen to one of his stories on audio and I'm glad I caved on this one.

Yes, 'Where Love Grows' is an age gap story but it's also a lot more. It's second chances, starting over, finding love, finding yourself.

When a friend from college calls Stephen with a request. Stephen's first response is no. There's no way he's going to have a stranger staying with him, even if he could use some help taking care of his home as he recovers from his recent illness. But then again maybe he does...maybe, a second set of hands could help return his gardens to their former glory...maybe...

Luke's a city boy and he wouldn't know a Dandelion from a Daisy but getting out of the city might be just what he needs as he fights his way back from depression and really it's just for a week and then they can scrap the whole experiment and he can return to the city where he belongs.

Both Stephen and Luke won me over. I loved the slow burn as these two men went from total strangers to friends, to friends with benefits, and ultimately becoming lovers. Both men had their own reasons to proceed with caution but proceed they did...one step forward and sometimes with two steps back.

Neither Stephen nor Luke is looking for any kind of commitment and it's Stephen's love of the outdoors that helps Luke to find his own passion for gardening and ultimately leads them to a 'mutually beneficial arrangement' that just like Stephen's gardens begins to grow into something more.

I was enchanted with the relationship development between these two men. It was real and there were struggles and conflicts to be overcome as well as moments of tenderness and passion. Seeing Luke discover the beauty of nature and the peace that it seemed to bring him ultimately helped Stephen's heart to heal as much as it did Luke's.

Once again Hamish Long has given voice to the author's characters creating a truly enjoyable listening experience and making it such an effortless task to visualize these two men as they meet and their relationship grows over a summer spent in the English countryside.

I don't think I enjoy anything more when it comes to a love story than one that leaves me feeling like it could really happen. I don't need sunshine lollipops and fairy godmothers in my love stories what I need is real people, living real lives, finding real happiness as they face life's challenges together.

*************************
An audio book of 'Where Love Grows' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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  • JEN
  • 14-09-20

I could not possibly love this book more

This is one of those books that I would designate as perfect. I loved this book without reservation, without caveat.
These characters and their story felt so very real, and although it definitely isn't a fluffy story, it is often sweet. There is heavy sadness, grief and bitterness, but also some great laugh out loud moments, (and a fair amount of heat)..
These guys are down to Earth, (no pun intended so far as the gardening) and I found them seriously likeable despite their flaws, or maybe because of their flaws. Stephen could easily be considered taciturn and overly defensive, but he also showed a growing sense of humor and ability to admit when he was wrong. Luke was sometimes quick to anger and assume the worst too, but was willing to apologize. His ability to appreciate the little things with unabashed wonder was incredibly endearing to me, (and to Stephen).
I loved the garden setting. The parallel nature of the changes in the garden and the characters' development wasn't exactly subtle, but it felt right and real. I could easily see Stephen and Luke as they were in this story, learning and growing, (growing themselves and their plants out in the garden), and admiring their handiwork (and each other). And they're the kind of fictional couple that seem so real that I can imagine them as old men still together doing the same.
This was the first book I've listened to narrated by Hamish Long and I found his narration fantastic. I would not hesitate to continue to listen to his narrations.

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  • OldLadyStauffer
  • 05-09-20

Moving, heartwarming, absolutely beautiful story

Just because your struggles aren’t the same as others, doesn’t mean you can’t find common ground. This is something Luke and Stephen are about to find out.

This is an opposites-attract, hurt/comfort kind of story that will pull at your heartstrings until you let these guys in. It’s touching, but not too heavy. It’s a beautiful story, really. There is nothing I enjoy more than a story involving a person’s journey toward personal growth. This story involves two. Perfect!

I felt the flow of the story was realistic and respectful. Both of those traits are things I’ve come to realize is at the core of Northcote’s storytelling, and writing capabilities. Nothing feels contrived or out of place. When I read his work, it feels as though I am part of the story. I really enjoy stories like this.

I liked Luke and Stephen. They’re both flawed, but it’s their flaws that make them most relatable. Their friend, Will, was right. They both could benefit from each other, but will they realize that before it’s too late? Can they set pride and fear aside when feelings start developing, or will they stay in the familiar comfort of the solitary life they have created for themselves?

As always, it was my pleasure to listen to this book. Hamish Long and Jay Northcote are a dream team in the land of audiobooks. Northcote writes brilliant stories and Long gives them voice. I could listen to his voice reciting just about anything. His ability to differentiate between the characters is always amazing and, from my end, appears to happen with such ease. His talents are great, and I can’t wait to hear more from him.

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  • Jen Valencia
  • 05-09-20

Surpassed my lofty expectations!

Nothing quite hits the spot like listening to a Jay Northcote romance, and this particular one happens to be narrated by one of my personal favorites, Hamish Long. Where Love Grows is a standalone and employs the hurt/comfort trope with a deliciously slow burn feel to it. We have Stephen Matheson, who lives in the Welsh countryside and is a former gardener turned bookkeeper dealing with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and Luke (whose last name I don't recall being mentioned, but I could be wrong), who lives in London and is a software developer recovering from substance addiction and trying to get a grip on depression. When a mutual friend suggests that Luke take some time away from the busy city and head to the quiet of Stephen's more rural residence to help him with chores inside and outside of the home, it seems like a terrible idea. After all, what does someone like London-born and -bred Luke know about cleaning a house and tending to a garden? The last thing Stephen needs is to have him underfoot while recovering from GBS. As the weeks pass, though, not only does Stephen's garden begin to flourish again, something unexpected grows between them. Could they give love a chance to bloom fully or will it wither at season's end?

There was something about this audiobook that just got to me, and I can't pinpoint merely one thing because it was a combination of things. I've always enjoyed Jay Northcote's writing, so it's not as if the fact that I fell in love with this story was a surprise. His main characters had attributes I easily related to, and their back stories allowed me to empathize with them. Neither was perfect--far from it--and they were dealing with their own hurts and issues, knowing that they could never go back to how life was before and coming to grips with that harsh reality, much like countless of us do, not just with the current state our world is in, but in our personal circumstances as well. Then there's Hamish Long's narration, and goodness, could he have done a better job bringing these characters and this story to life? His performance was nuanced, switching from Stephen to Luke and then to the notable supporting characters. That subtlety of Long's was the perfect accompaniment to Northcote's writing, and together, this audiobook was a sublime bit of storytelling that lulled me into a book hangover I do not regret. Five stars for Where Love Grows.

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  • Reading*Renee
  • 05-09-20

Stellar Narration of Heartfelt Hurt/Comfort Story

"Where Love Grows" is one of those books that leaves your heart feeling full, with a hurt/comfort story that felt very real and wasn't overly or unnecessary angsty. MCs Stephen and Luke are both dealing with illness and past hurts in their own ways, none of which author Jay Northcote sugarcoats, and they find common ground in gardening and through the healing powers of nature and love... and four lovingly-named chickens. (And the epilogue occurring in the hen house struck the perfect final note on this heartfelt, hopeful romance.)

Narrator Hamish Long delivered a terrific performance, with distinct varied accents and an emotional edge that left me really feeling this story.

I received an ARC of this audio book and have left this honest review voluntarily.