November 2, 2021
Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance/Love Story, Differently Abled, 1800s
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Thanks Laurel Ann for the invitation to participate in the #BlogTour for #LoveAndLavender. Thank you #NetGalley @ShadowMountn @ProperRomance for a complimentary e-ARC of #LoveAndLavender upon my request. All opinions are my own.
Love and Lavender is a story of two people who face many challenges and obstacles and have limited choices. Hazel is independent and brilliant; however, she was born with a clubbed foot. As a child, her parents sent her away and now as a young woman, she has resigned herself to the unliklihood of marriage and has embraced a teaching career. Duncan is brilliant and has a neurodiverse mind. He is employed as an accountant and has carved out a predictable life for himself living alone with his beloved cat. The private school where Hazel teaches may be up for sale (which would jeopardize her job) and Duncan is unhappy with his employers and would love to own his own accounting firm. Neither of them have the finances to remedy their situations. Hazel and Duncan have the same uncle….one relationship is biological and the other is through guardianship. This uncle offers both Hazel and Duncan an inheritance with the condition that they must each be married. Duncan has the brilliant idea that they should marry each other which would technically fulfil the conditions, but the uncle is reluctant to be tricked into giving them their inheritances. After much convincing, the uncle agrees to their plan, but under the condition that they must live together for one year after the ceremony. This sets up a marriage of convenience. Will this arrangement lead to love and a true relationship? Or will they fullfil the agreement, gain their inheritance, and go their separate ways? Will they even survive the year?
Choose Happiness: There was a time when women in general and Hazel, in particular, felt that their choices were limited. For most women in the 1800s a good marriage was their best option for securing their futures. Hazel’s choices were even more limited because of her physical disability.With a club foot, would she ever receive a proposal? She was resigned to focusing on her successful teaching career when one day she receives an unexpected proposal under the most usual circumstances.
“I must choose one over the other, but whichever path I take means I shall miss the other, which will ruin them both.”
Unique Characters: I loved Hazel and Duncan! It is tragic that Hazel lived at a time when there was limited treatment for a clubbed foot and sad for Duncan that there was little understanding of neurodiversity. I love their self awareness, realism, and determination to live their best lives despite the challenges and obstacles. I love that they were brave enough to choose to take a risk. Much of their struggle is universal and is applicable to persons living with challenges today. I love how they grew to trust each other, build on their strengths, and develop a loving and beneficial partnership despite opinions from others.
Letter Writing: Before the engagement, Hazel and Duncan develop a strong friendship through letter writing. These letters are a sweet part of the story. Do you love a story with some wonderful letters? Do you think that letter writing is a good way to build a friendship or relationship? Do you think that messaging and social media communication build the same quality of friendships or relationships as letter writing?
Setting: Set in the early 1800s, the author writes vividly to create a compelling image of the characters, the times, and the customs. As frustrating as it is to read stories set in a time when women had few choices and were controlled by the patriarchy, it’s also fascinating to immerse oneself into the characters’ lives and imagine how the time period would have affected you and your choices.
Themes: Love and Lavender is more substantial in themes than the title might suggest. Thoughtful themes include making choices, living your best life, taking chances, living with challenges, unlikely heroes, a mutually beneficial partnership, and friendship.
Highly Recommended: Engaging and endearing, Love and Lavender will capture your heart. I’m enthusiastically recommending this romance for fans of unique characters and relationships, for readers who adore a heartfelt love story, for romantics, and for bookclubs.
Related Reading: Hazel’s specific physical disability reminds me of two of my favorite middle grade reads: The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Meet the Author, Josi S. Kilpack
Josi S. Kilpack has written more than thirty novels, a cookbook, and several novellas. She is a four-time Whitney award winner, including Best Novel 2015 for Lord Fenton’s Folly, and has been a Utah Best of State winner for Fiction. Josi loves to bake, sleep, eat, read, travel, and watch TV–none of which she gets to do as much as she would like. She writes contemporary fiction under the pen name Jessica Pack.
Is Love and Lavender on your TBR?
Do you love stories with unique characters?
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