Dana and Erryn review The Victorian (Lavender Shores Book 9) by Rosalind Abel (Published by Wings of Ink Publications, December 16, 2018, 336 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.
- To read the review of The Alcove (Lavender Shores Book 7) click here.
- To read the review of The Wilderness (Lavender Shores Book 8) click here.
- To read the review for The Garden Audiobook (Lavender Shores Book 2) click here.
- To read the review of The Veranda Audiobook (Lavender Shores Book 3) click here
- To read the review of The Shipwreck Audiobook (Lavender Shores Book 4) click here
Sexy bartender Seth Marino is the epitome of the allure and sophistication for which the town of Lavender Shores is known. For twenty years, Seth has found contentment and happiness as co-owner of the Blue Blossom Bed-and-Breakfast. Seth’s kind heart, good looks, and humor charm both locals and tourists—except the one person who despises him.
Charley Perez began building the life of his dreams a few years before Seth moved to town. Just as his hard work was about to pay off, Charley saw his hopes for building a restaurant worthy of his abuela’s recipes slip through his fingers when Seth arrived. Sure, maybe Charley has a temper, perhaps he should smile more, but does the whole world have to lay out the red carpet for the slutty bartender while never giving Charley a break?
When Lavender Shores welcomes a star-studded food-and-wine celebration, Seth and Charley are forced to work together, leading to an explosion of anger and passion. Both men find the heat and fire of hatred morphing into an irresistible attraction. But even as Seth sees a different side of Charley, the hurt and anger of the past simmer below the surface, threatening the future. And a lifetime of struggle isn’t easy for Charley, who must find the courage to show his true self in seeking help and reaching for his dreams.
Boy do I love this series. I love Lavender Shores and all the wonderful and crazy people living there. As a reader I’ve seen some ups and downs to living in that small town, and I still wish I could live there. I didn’t realize how time was progressing in the series at first, but in The Victorian we are now ten years after the first romance, The Palisades. Some of these characters are aging but it seems like they are aging well and are now ready to settle down a bit. Maybe?
Charley and Seth are not members of the founding families though Seth’s business partnership with one of the family members has made him feel more included. Still there is a part of him that feels a little separate. Charley is definitely not close with anyone from the founding families, and I think it downright irks him that they are so front and center when it comes to anything to do with the town. That might be putting it lightly. Charley has a reputation he has built over the last nine books as someone who has a temper and not very well liked by most of the previous main characters. He especially has a grudge with Seth, who is loved by almost everyone.
The feud between these two characters is almost legendary. Everyone knows how they can’t stand each other. (Well, almost everyone.) Something told me that despite whatever caused their feud, that these two characters would probably be paired up. This book only confirms it and lets us in on what happened between them. Oh my goodness! This book was enemies to lovers to the nth degree. Of course, I won’t go into too many details without spoiling the entire story.
Seth was easy to like. He was friendly, and he was open and honest about who he was and what he wanted. There really isn’t much to discuss about him because I loved him as much as the Lavender Shores residents do. From the moment I got wind of Charley’s thoughts, it was clear that he had issues that would need to be resolved in this book to make him likable at all. I can understand some of his pet peeves, though. He is annoyed with how everything seems to revolve around the founding families. I can even understand why he was angry at Seth and his business partner Heather. But the anger was so intense it was almost disturbing. What I did know, was that the author would make me see what was underneath so I could come to feel for Charley. I needed to see the book through to see what was really going on. I can’t discuss this spoiler either, but the author was successful because my heart did break for Charley and I was definitely rooting for this opposites-attract couple.
I do want to mention that I felt like the catalyst for their decades long dispute was sort of superficial, just the tip of the iceberg. There was so much more going on in this book, and some heavy issues were brought to light. It is a hurt/comfort story at it’s finest. I loved Seth and Charley together and for who they were on their own. I don’t want to forget to discuss the hotness of some of the sex scenes. because they were smoking. This is definitely a sexy series with a lot of heart.
9.5/10 Pots of Gold – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars
I have loved every Lavender Shores novel and snapped up this one in a heartbeat. It’s tough for me to say that this was not my favorite. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Did I cry? Yes. Did I struggle? Yes.
Each Lavender Shores book is considered a standalone, but having the family tree does help. There is a lot of emphasis on the founding families and although other reader may not have had a problem with this, I haven’t always understood all the rivalries, marriages, etc. This book involved two men, neither of whom are from the founding families, and yet the families were prominent in the story. Almost to distraction – for me.
Now, I remember Seth from book 1 – the bartender who was attractive but didn’t hold a candle for either Joel or Andrew who really only had eyes for each other. It’s hard to believe then years has passed and how much they, and many other couples, have settled into their lives.
Charley I remember from book 5 as the cranky customer who kept coming into The Green Violin and complaining about the quality of organic produce and being a headache for Micah. My image of him was an old crotchety demanding and horrible man. Never once did I picture him as…well, sexy and hot. So it did take a bit of getting my head around that it’s the same character.
My other main issue in the book is the hatred between Charley and Seth. A feud that has gone on for twenty years. And when they are thrown together unwittingly over and over again, the anger is palpable. In fact, at one point, ‘Seth titled his chin in defiance, and the disgust in his eyes left on room for confusion. “But I would’ve rather cut my own dick off than have it in you.”’
Well, okay then. And the names and criticisms thrown back and forth? It made me beyond uncomfortable and I kept thinking, ‘okay, whatever happened must be bad, right?’ Near the middle of the book, I wondered if I was ever even going to find out what it was. The back-and-forth the ‘I love having sex with you but I hate you’ got to be too much. At one point I put it down and wasn’t sure I would go back. Finally, at almost halfway through, I finally found out what caused all the horrible schism. And, totally on me, I was disappointed. It was later – much later – explained why the incident had such a profound meaning to each man. But the actual cause of 20 years of strife. Anti-climactic. Now, this is just my feelings. Other readers will have a different reaction. The men are both cruel to each other. I love a good enemies-to-lovers story, but this one tested my patience.
I don’t want to go into farther details about the characters’ backstories, but they are heartbreaking, one more than the other. His past hit very close to home, as does how he handles much of the stress he’s under. I won’t go as far as saying it triggered me, but I did have a visceral reaction, which is what, as an author you want to hear. It touched me and I got over my pique over the meanness that had been so prominent at the beginning of the book. I do love the part where one has a moment of calm before they, uh, go at it.
Everything stopped. Not in the earth froze in its revolutions and the stars paused their twinkling while the people somewhere out in the night suddenly morphed into a slow-motion waltz kind of way. Everything simply stopped, went quiet. The constant buzzing in my brain died. The anger and hurt smothered. The tidal waves of through, emotion, anxiety, and action ceased their endless crashing against the inside of my skull and stilled to a calm sea. No, not that. Not the sea. They simply stilled to nothingness.
One secondary character I do want to touch on briefly is Alex. She’s had a very rough go of it and Charley’s treatment of her won me over and made me a convert. It did for Seth as well, as he sees his nemesis in a whole new light. As Seth says:
I wasn’t sure what we were doing, but I was completely clear on what I wanted. The desire had been growing, but it solidified as hard as stone as I watched him watch Alex. I wanted the chemistry, wanted the mind-blowing sex, wanted the heat, wanted the passion. But just as much, I wanted to travel the journey with him, be by his side as the glimpses of the man he was underneath rose to the surface and shone….He was, in every single sense of the word, a fine wine. Though I never would’ve seen it before. Maybe his fermentation was loud, rocky, and tumultuous, but it was producing something complex, rich, and worthy of being savored.
If you’re a lover of fine dining and alcoholic drinks, especially wine, this book will probably be of extra interest as there are a myriad of discussions around which wine to pair with which dish and the different flavors of various foods. If you’re reading on an empty stomach, be prepared to salivate.
This is a good book. To most readers, probably as good as the other Lavender Shores. For me, it didn’t quite hit the mark, but with three more books to go, I’m just waiting for the next one.
8.5/10 Pots of Gold – Compares to 4.25/5 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.