Dana and Erryn review The Hideaway (Lavender Shores Book 5) by Rosalind Abel (Published by Wings of Ink Publications, November 7, 2017, 266 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
- To read the review for The Palisade (Lavender Shores Book 1) click here.
- To read the review for The Garden (Lavender Shores Book 2) click here.
- To read the review of The Veranda (Lavender Shores Book 3) click here.
- To read the review for The Shipwreck (Lavender Shores Book 4) click here.
Lavender Shores’s resident tattoo artist, Connor Clark, looks the part—six foot six, musclebound, and covered in ink—and most definitely doesn’t blend in. Grafted into the Bryant family as a teenager to escape his abusive father, the Bryants saved his life, but Connor has never truly felt a part of the founding family royalty. And if his heart’s desire were revealed, it would betray everything the Bryants have done for him.
Micah Bryant was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He’s always had everything he ever wanted—save the one he desires most. Even moving to New York City for a few years didn’t dampen his passion. Not that Micah had expected it to. He’s known his destiny since he was nine years old, the moment it had walked through his door.
After years of longing, years of secrets and stolen moments of passion and love, Connor weakens enough to allow the town to see how he feels, and let the Bryants know his love for Micah is anything but brotherly. But no sooner had the decision been made than Connor’s biological family returns and shatters it all. Still, Micah holds on to the belief that their romance was written in the stars, but maybe he’d been wrong all those years…
I can’t tell you how excited I was for this story. During the last book, The Shipwreck, there is a part where one of the MCs notices Micah and Connor both exit from upstairs and immediately I started to wonder about the two of them. Then there was a preview of this book at the end of The Shipwreck that killed me. I couldn’t wait for The Hideaway to come out, and luckily I didn’t have to wait long at all.
From the age of thirteen, Connor was raised by Micah’s parents, The Bryant’s. Their family is one of the founding families of Lavender Shores and even though there is some prestige with that, they have open and warm hearts. They are definitely willing to take in their son’s friend and show him love that he hasn’t experienced before. Because Micah was only nine, the two were definitely looked at as brothers, and they cared for each other that way, too, early on.
Connor is the strong, silent type. His religious and abusive parents made him afraid to accept who he was for a long time. He doesn’t have a hard time forming connections with the Bryant’s but he is a homebody. He doesn’t want to leave the town of Lavender Shores and it’s acceptance of anyone LGBT. He’s a very responsible person, and he takes in his nephew after he discovers that history has repeated itself in his brother’s parenting. He’s also cautious of falling in love with someone, especially if it might appear he took advantage of the family that took him in.
Micah is vibrant and full of trust. He’s the baby of the Bryant family, and I think being the youngest has allowed him to feel more freedom to indulge in what he loves. His passions are farming, playing the violin, and Connor. What started out as hero worship for his older adopted sibling became so much more.
This story skirts taboo. Some would consider Connor and Micah brothers and their love for each other as wrong, even though they don’t share any DNA. Personally, I have enjoyed quite a few “brotherly” romances, so I wouldn’t judge them even if they did. Connor’s strong feelings for Micah clash with the fear his love for him won’t be accepted by the people important to them. There is a push/pull element to their relationship. After being pushed away enough Micah left town to play with a symphony. Micah’s decision to leave his successful career to return home only adds more guilt to the load Connor is carrying. Even though Micah had his own reasons for doing so. The on again/off again element of their relationship is wearing on both of them until Connor gets a wake up call and decides to take the love he is given.
All hell breaks loose when Micah and Connor are discovered before they can let people know on their own terms. Their family members feel betrayed by the secrets they kept, which only makes them look guilty of doing something wrong. I admit I was very worried at this point. I thought that the two might be ripped apart just as they decided to choose happiness for themselves. Surprisingly, the author had other plans for them and they discovered a strength together that helped them face the crisis at hand.
I’ve honestly been blown away by the books in this series. Rosalind’s focus is on writing a good romantic story with an HEA. But there is much more to these characters stories. There are past relationships that went bad and some religious, judgmental family members. Lies have been told and discovered. Many times, I feared for these characters and their HEA. But in true romance fashion everything gets set right in the end. The town itself is filled with such wonderful quirky characters.They don’t always all get along, but underneath any minor disagreements they would all have each others backs. And the support and love every resident of Lavender Shores has for the LGBT community really makes me wish it were real. I would pack my bags and move there in a heartbeat.
9/10 pots of gold = 4.5/5 stars
It’s wonderful to keep coming back to Lavender Shores
Book 5 in the Lavender Shores series by Rosalind Abel is as great as the previous four – except I managed not to cry, so I’m grateful to Rosalind for that. Not that the book didn’t move me or wasn’t emotionally satisfying – it was both.
Connor Clark was taken in by the large and loving Bryant family when he was just a young man. They wrapped him in love like he had never known and although he has never completely felt at ease, he has always known he is treasured. But his biological family and their spectre loom large. The issue of religious fundamentalism is addressed in this book, handled tactfully but honestly.
Because how can you claim to worship a God who tells you to love everyone while you choose to hate gays? It is a dilemma faced by many people of faith in the world. It has affected Connor his entire life. This book doesn’t provide answers – nor should it, because this issue will continue to linger. But Lavender Shores is the perfect foil for the vitriolic and insular religious community Connor came from.
While Connor considers himself a black sheep, his adopted mother has suggested he’s a pygmy goat. Still, he’s a beloved member of the Bryant family, one of the founding families in Lavender Shores. When his nephew Moses shows up, Connor was there to try to pick up the pieces. Moses is conflicted because for his entire life, he’s been taught that being gay is equivalent to being evil and that his uncle Connor is to be feared. His pain is clear and I repeatedly wanted to reach out and give him a hug. Assure him that he will be okay.
Connor and the Bryants are a refuge for Moses as he tries to build a new life beyond his previous existence, and Connor is completely dedicated to him.
The only complication is the man Connor loves. His adopted brother Micah. Even though Connor and Micah have seen other men and had other lovers, they have only ever loved each other. They are in no way biologically related, but even in a place as understanding as Lavender Shores, it can be complicated.
Micah is a talented violinist who tried living the high life in New York City, but has chosen to come home to Lavender Shores. Everyone, including Connor, believes he is meant to be famous. Meant to be living with the glitterati in the Big Apple. Micah, though, loves Lavender Shores.
Connor – the smoking, crass-talking, tattoo artist. Except his store is more of an artist’s showcase than a stereotypical tattoo shop.
Connor and Micah not only have to overcome their own reservations about their relationship, but must also consider the impact on Moses and, interestingly, the rest of the Bryant family.
There is a happy ending, of course, but Connor and Micah have to fight for it – which makes it all the more sweet.
The Hideaway actually plays a big part in the book and I could see – through Rosalind’s vivid descriptions – Micah playing his violin in that almost-sacred place.
Thank you for another wonderful Lavender Shore book. If you haven’t read the others, no worries. This one stands alone, but like a good meal, is better enjoyed with friends.
5 stars = 10 pots of gold
Rosalind Abel grew up tending chickens alongside her sweet and faithful Chow, Lord Elgin. While her fantasy of writing novels was born during her teen years, she never would have dreamed she’d one day publish steamy romances about gorgeous men. However, sometimes life turns out better than planned.
In between crafting scorching sex scenes and helping her men find their soul mate, Rosalind enjoys cooking, collecting toys, and making the best damn scrapbooks in the world (this claim hasn’t been proven, but she’s willing to put good money on it).
She adores MM Romance and the power it has to sweep the reader away into worlds filled with passion, steam, and love. Rosalind also enjoys her collection of plot bunnies, and welcomes new fuzzy ones in her home all the time, so feel free to send any adorable ones her way.