Dana and Erryn review The Alcove (Lavender Shores Book 7) by Rosalind Abel (Published by Wings of Ink Publications, May 30, 2018, ? 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.
- To read the review of The Hideaway (Lavender Shores Book 5) click here.
- To read the review of The Glasshouse (Lavender Shores Book 6) click here.
Jasper Getty is living his dream as the owner of the charming bookshop, Lavender Pages. For seven years, he’s enjoyed the safety and freedom to be himself, selling books by day and curling up and getting lost in novels by night. But a dark page from the past comes back to haunt Jasper as his ex begins stalking him.
Russell Wallace hit reset on his life in Nashville and became a bodyguard after decades of living according to family expectations. But even years later, he doesn’t believe he deserves happiness. When Russell is asked to travel to the beautiful seaside town of Lavender Shores to protect a friend’s brother, he expects nothing more than a job and a paycheck.
But Lavender Shores reveals a world Russell never imagined, and his immediate attraction to the adorably geeky Jasper complicates an already difficult job. Jolted by the memory of a shared moment and paths that crossed years ago intensifies the sparks into a bonfire of passion and hope.
When danger comes pounding at the door, Jasper is in danger of losing his life… and his heart.
I absolutely love the world of Lavender Shores!! It’s a small town and admittedly has it’s faults. Like everyone knowing everyone’s business. But there is also having the support of the community around you. In Lavender Shores, it also means acceptance of all people who identify as LGBT. It is a safe haven. I wish it was real, and that it was near me so at least I could visit it if not live there. As it is, I enjoy every “visit” I experience in these books. For me, there are dozens of fascinating characters in this series, main and secondary, including the town itself.
Jasper has been seen in previous books of this series. I feel like I can really understand him as a book lover. I experience the same feelings that even though his life is going good in the moment escaping into a good book is still a joy. I really don’t have anything to escape from myself, but it doesn’t change how enjoyable the escape is. Jasper has always been the nice guy and when I read about him in his brother Harrison’s book, I couldn’t wait for his story. I knew that he didn’t grow up with a loving father, but I didn’t expect other parts of his history to be as bad as they were. He really is much more than I believed him to be.
When Jasper’s past comes back to haunt him, enter bodyguard and brother’s friend, Russell. Russell is complex. He, like some of the other main characters of this series including Jasper, grew up outside of Lavender Shores. He grew up with a family that didn’t accept homosexuality or gender identity issues. Though his family had no clue about him being gay they hammered in their beliefs that it is wrong and unacceptable enough that he hid who he was until he was forty. Seeing a father abuse his son for trying on lipstick brought him to a crossroads where he couldn’t accept the beliefs of his family any longer. In a snap moment he lost everything in his life – his wife, his family, and his job as a police officer. Broken is the best way to describe Russell. He may have come out, and he might have moved on to private security, but ingrained beliefs tell him he can’t have that happy ever after. True love isn’t for him.
There is a lot for both of these characters to work through internally. Neither is sure they want or deserve a happy ending but the heart wants what it wants and they can’t stop the pull they feel for each other. There is some danger in this story, unlike the stories that came before. Someone wants Jasper back and will hurt anyone who gets in the way, including Jasper. Worry and anger settled in the pit of my stomach and though the ending wasn’t completely ideal for me, it was so good in regards to the relationship between Jasper and Russell.
I would definitely recommend this book. The sweet love, plus the sexy times, and add in the action/danger element, it made for a good read. While I believe that the each book in the series can be read as a stand alone, I think it can only be enhanced by reading the whole series. The characters are awesome and so is each love story.
9.5/10 Pots of Gold – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars
This book is a bibliophile’s dream. Especially for one who loves romance novels – classics, and Nora Roberts in particular.
“You like books, huh?”
At Jasper’s snorted laugh, I looked back at him, pleased to see a small smile that seemed to wash away some of his irritation. “Typically that’s a must-have for someone to open a bookshop.”
I suppose it was. Obviously it had been a dumb question. I cast another glance at the book-laden shelves. Emotionally stunted or not, it didn’t take a genius to literally feel the life in that little alcove. Almost like stepping into a cathedral and sensing you were on hallowed or sacred ground.
I was lucky to work in a bookstore for four years (a used textbook store, but there were other books as well) and then sold books for years on the Internet. I adore books. I have a degree in English Literature and Theatre. So Jasper is a man after my own heart. I can imagine running a bookstore for a living and I would be happy if all I had to do was help people find the right book.
“That’s just it, you don’t know if you like to read or not. You only had to do it for school and that’s a completely different experience.” For whatever reason, though he wasn’t reading, he slammed his glasses back on his face. “Maybe you won’t like to read, maybe I’m wrong. But if you do, if books can give you all that they’ve given me, I want to help you discover it.”
Jasper understands the power of stories – of literature and fiction and every other kind of book. He has lived in these worlds almost his entire life. At his mother’s knee and long after her death, he buried himself in books, trying to escape the real world. His brother, Harrison, took the burden of being the preferred son who played football and pretended he wasn’t gay. But Harrison’s secret was eventually revealed and he joined Jasper in Lavender Shores, getting to know his brother better after years apart. Harrison’s happy ending was in book six of the series, The Glasshouse. He and his love Aiden are in this book as well, but this is truly Jasper’s story.
Well, and Russell’s as well. His backstory is even more tragic than Jasper’s and my heart ached when he finally found the courage to share everything with Jasper. I’d had some idea, but some of it was a surprise. His job as Jasper’s bodyguard, protecting the younger man against his ex, should have been easy. He’d done this before for women, so why should a man be any different, right?
When that man is Jasper, the bookish, lithe ginger, things aren’t quite so simple for Russell. He tries to fit in at the bookstore. He tries to be unobtrusive in the town. But the truth is that he stands out and not just physically. He might be gay like many of the other residents, but he’s never been as comfortable with his sexuality as, for instance, Jasper has been. Jasper accepted who he was and survived life with his homophobic father, leaving as soon as he was able. Russell followed his family tradition and went into a testosterone-laden male-dominated profession and although he didn’t add to the comments his homophobic family made, he didn’t stand up to them either. His final act of bravery in his job was also what cost him everything.
As a bodyguard, he tries to make amends and ensure others can stay safe. So, to make Jasper happy, Harrison takes the book he offers.
After a while, I tried reading the book Jasper had given me. The reason he’d chosen it was clear. It was about a hard-nosed sergeant solving murders. The things Jasper didn’t know about me, though, made reading about Eve Dallas only heighten those old voices. She served the dead while I protected the living. But while she was tearing around the streets of New York City finding justice for the dead, I was standing in the window of a bookshop hour upon hour, reading a damn novel…I could no longer pretend to be a hero like JD Robb’s character, but neither could I walk along the streets of Lavender Shores and blend in seamlessly.
Jasper, of course, doesn’t know all this. He is convinced he can pick the perfect book for someone within three tries.
I couldn’t believe I’d chosen the wrong book. The ‘In Death’ series was amazing. It was one of my favorites. I’d thought for sure Russell would like it, all crime and murder, solving the mystery. I know he said it was too much like being at work, but Eve Dallas wasn’t a bodyguard. She was a detective, or a cop…lieutenant…something. I couldn’t remember right then.
Hubris? Maybe. But we all believe we can peg people and only later find that our first impressions are mistaken. It turns out that Russell and Jasper have more in common than they think and watching those revelations and understandings (and misunderstandings) unfold was a treat. Lavender Shores has again worked its magic. Jasper started his life over in this town and maybe, against the odds, the wondrous place will have an effect on the cynical and hard Russell.
At the very least, the book club will leave a lasting impression. Several books ago was the Fifty Shades of Grey meeting, this one was for ‘Delivering Dante’. As one of my all-Time favourite scenes I was in the ‘know’ during the antics. Don’t worry if you haven’t read that book (although I suggest you do), the antics of the women, Robert Kelly, and, eventually, Jasper, will leave you smiling.
My only issue with this book is a small one. The following passage is in Jasper’s point-of-view:
I didn’t have a quick temper, but to my surprise, it flitted through me. “Excuse me, I’m not some damsel in distress.” I groaned and shook my head. “God, I can’t believe I just said that. I fucking hate that trope. As if a woman needs a man to save her all the time. She can take care of herself. So can I.”
I love that sentiment. Women are strong and I love strong heroines who can survive without a man. If she falls in love, I want it to be with someone who helps her become a better self, not someone who demands she change to meet his expectations. Why am I bringing this up? Well, there are TSTL (too stupid to live) characters and a couple of times in this book that sentiment flitted through my mind. That being said, I was grateful when Jasper had his realization because most victims have it too late.
This was going to be the man who killed me. That was how this would end.
In the end, though, I LOVED this book. It definitely made me laugh, and once or twice, tear up. I adore this series and can’t wait for the next book. And the cover? Oh yeah, I’m good with it as well. Finally, I’m glad I don’t have to choose between the Widow Wrecker or the Turgid Love Hammer, because, let’s be honest, all dildos are fun.
10/10 Pots of Gold – Compares to 5/5 Stars
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.