Dreams Unspoken by RJ LayerDreams Unspoken by RJ Layer is a story about grief, healing, making peace with the past, new beginnings, love and family life.

Going home is not always easy and Jo Marchal will heartily agree to that fact. Jo tries to patch up old family disputes before time slips away from her and she misses her chance to make amends. She also has to leave her home and her successful horse training business behind and begin anew in the last place on earth she wants to return to—to the small, cozy town where she was born and raised in Ohio.

Maria West has dreams of security, a huge happy family and unconditional devotion. Maria’s real life is a far cry from what she has often dreamed of and she would give everything she owns just to have her heart’s desire. Forming a friendship with Jo Marchal seems like the best thing Maria has ever done but their friendship turns her life upside down in ways that are difficult for her to admit.

The Characters

Jo Marchal is a professional horse breeder who has a great love of ranch life and all things pertaining to the great outdoors. She has a big heart (that big heart has certainly wooed and captured mine) as well as her awkward blunders which have also endeared her to me. Jo loves her family deeply and her relentless pursuit to make things right with them have left me in awe of her warm and loving personality.

Maria West is a real estate agent who is assisting Jo Marchal with finding the ideal ranch and home for herself and her horses. She is a devoted mother and she becomes a great friend to Jo. I really admire Maria’s resilience in the face of tremendous disappointment and setbacks. There is no way I could stop myself from loving her feisty personality more than I already do!

The Writing Style

I love the way the dialogue flowed effortlessly between each character. The vivid portrayal of the vast landscape of the ranch, as well as the beautiful description of the animals, made me love this story so much. I also enjoyed the author’s superb ability to clearly portray each of the characters’ emotions in a way that brought the characters to life and in turn made me feel as though I was right there beside them.

The Pros

I really enjoyed reading about these amazing women who specialize in careers such as real estate and horse breeding. I love reading books about close-knit families, farming and the slower pace of country living.

The Cons

This story contains scenes with physical violence.

aprils favourite booksThe Conclusion

This story is so amazing in the way it blends the simplicity of running a ranch with the slow build-up of un-named desires, internal struggles against the backdrop of family drama. I could relate to the angst and internal debates that Jo and Maria were experiencing because these women were so realistic and easily loveable. The author does not shy away from giving a vivid description of what life can be like for lesbians who live in religious, close-knit and suburban communities.

Excerpt from Dreams Unspoken by RJ Layer

Jo ran a hand through her hair. The woman who materialized from the dust cloud was a vision of beauty, curvy in all the right places. Jo found herself smiling as she stepped toward the woman.

“Ms. West, I presume.”

The woman flipped over the folder in her hand and took a closer look, then cocked her head and looked back at Jo. “The horse breeder.” When she smiled, Jo’s heart raced like a thoroughbred.

Jo extended her hand, nodding nervously. “Yeah, that’s me. Jo Marchal. Sounds like,” she touched an index finger to her nose, “Shawl. Marchal. Hi!”

“Jo Marchal,” she repeated before giving Jo a firm, business-like handshake. Her hand was as velvety soft as a horse’s nose. The sensation gave Jo’s heart a little kick.

Jo swallowed. “Let me guess. You were expecting a man in a pickup truck wearing boots with spurs and a cowboy hat.”

She shrugged. “My secretary’s fault.”

When she held out the folder she was carrying, Jo noticed the rings. So it was Mrs. West. She was married.

“She spelled your name like a man’s so yes, I guess I was expecting a cowboy.”

Jo shoved her hands in her pockets. “And a little thing like you meeting a cowboy out in the country all alone.”

She reached deep into the bag hanging from her shoulder and pulled out a very small caliber handgun. “I’m not alone. I have company.”

“Okay.” Jo whistled as she raised her hands. The woman had moxie. “But actually I am.” The real estate agent eyed Jo over the top of her sunglasses, giving Jo her first glimpse of mesmerizing dark eyes. “A cowboy, ma’am.” She hooked her thumbs in the top of her khaki pants and nodded her head toward the south. “I left the truck, my boots and hat back at the ranch with the horses.”

Jo tipped her head at the real estate agent and she laughed. There was something about this woman. She looked forward to doing business with her. Ms. West fanned her face with the folder, and Jo noticed for the first time it was rather warm for April.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781594935848
  • Publisher: Bella Books

RJ Layer Online 


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Note: I received a free review copy of Dreams Unspoken by RJ Layer. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.

About the author

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My name is April Adams and I am an accountant at a civil service office. Even though I read a wide variety of lesbian fiction, I enjoy mystery and thriller books the most because I love the state of suspense the stories have me in until the end and I find out “who’s done it.”