Author: Nick Wilgus
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 350 Pages
At a Glance: I hope this isn’t the last we hear from Wiley, Jackson, Noah and their crazier-than-they-should-be family.
Blurb: When his snobbish future in-laws travel all the way from Boston to visit, wise-cracking Southerner Wiley Cantrell learns that gay marriage is not without its disadvantages. Occupied by concerns over the health of his special needs son Noah, a meth baby who was not expected to live and who is now on the cusp of puberty, the antics of Wiley’s outrageous would-be mother-in-law and severely conservative father-in-law strain his relationship with Jackson Ledbetter, a pediatric nurse who poses problems of his own. As their respective families meet and greet, each just as meddlesome and inflexible as the other, North meets South and the fireworks and cultural misunderstandings are plenty.
A tornado blows through the small Mississippi town where Wiley’s mother lives, wrecking his mother’s house and leaving their lives in disarray. Then Jackson’s secret drug addiction comes to light, and Wiley and Noah are devastated. With so many stones in the road, Wiley and Jackson find their dream of becoming a real family falling apart. Though Wiley relies on humor to cope, he’ll need something more to keep his happily ever after from slipping away.
Review: Oh man, I just don’t even know where to start with this book. I absolutely adored the previous book, Shaking the Sugar Tree, and my heart almost stopped when I saw there was a sequel coming out.
It’s two years from the time we last saw Wiley, Noah and Jackson. Wiley and Jackson are still engaged, they all still living together, and yes, they are still dealing with Wiley’s crazy but loveable family. Since it seems these two are going to make it together for the long haul, Jackson’s parents decide to come down for a visit to vet the soon-to-be son-in-law. This makes Wiley a little nervous, but Jackson is about to lose his mind.
Add in the fact that Wiley’s family is not any more accepting of his relationship with Jackson than they were two years ago, and you just know that you are going to be in for a wild ride. After the initial shock of meeting Jackson’s parents, I started to realize what the woman was doing, and I have to say I kind of fell in love with her. She was crass, definitely, but I simply adore a person who tells it how she sees it and uses stone cold logic to get her point across. All the while, she couldn’t care less who she offends as long as the outcome is the right one.
On the surface it seems like all the men have to worry about is getting this visit out of the way, but that just so happens to be the calm before the storm, literally. Wiley’s biggest fear comes to life when child protective services is called on him, and it brings his nightmare to life when the investigation reveals Jackson’s secret that could tear their family apart. Add in the fallout from a tornado that tears through their life, and Wiley finds himself at the end of his rope. Circumstances cause him to question everything he believed he was doing right, and put him on a path that could lead to him being alone in the world. He will have to learn to trust again, not only in Jackson but in himself also.
Even though this book is chock full of some very serious moments and issues, there is still that vein of humor that was present in the first book. I caught myself laughing out loud when Wiley and Jackson’s mom start going back and forth with each other, and we certainly can’t forget Papaw’s own personal brand of crazy. Nick Wilgus has taken a small town country boy and written him with determination, humor, and just enough humanity to make me believe I could head on down there and visit with Wiley and this motley crew of characters.
I hope this isn’t the last we hear from Wiley, Jackson, Noah and their crazier-than-they-should-be family. That would surely be a shame since I don’t feel like I have heard all they have to say. I highly recommend this book, and if you haven’t read Shaking the Sugar Tree, make sure to check that one out first.
You can buy Stones in the Road here: