Monday, January 9, 2012


Publisher: Signet
Date published: January 3, 2012
ISBN 9780451235435
Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained by Publisher

Ten years ago Maddy Durand’s heart was broken by Lucas Chaffee. Her summer boy swept into her life, gave her her first kiss and then committed the ultimate betrayal. With a broken heart she left for Europe and embarked on the path toward her career as a chef. Along the way she met and married famous chef, Maxime Durand. Despite Maxime telling her he simply did not have the marriage gene she gave her heart—and wallet—to the French chef. When Maddy finds out just how much he lacked the marriage gene, she runs to her childhood home—Shelter Bay. There, safe in her grandmother Sofia’s care Maddy begins to look at her future and does so quite well until her past walks back into her life.

If Maddy thought Lucas Chaffee was hot as a teen, the man he’s become is even hotter. Determined to keep him at a distance she gives him the cold shoulder. Or at least she tries to. Former SEAL Lucas has returned to Shelter Bay with his own hurts. With the recent death of his father he finds himself slightly adrift in the world—but Shelter Bay has always felt like home to him. When Sofia offers him the chance to build her the restaurant of her dreams right there at Lavender Hill Farm, he jumps at the opportunity. At first Maddy cannot believe her grandmother is consorting with the enemy. Slowly but surely, however, Maddy finds herself falling in love with Lucas once again. But will the hurt of that long ago summer continue to stand in the way of her once in a lifetime love?

Joann Ross’s Shelter Bay series is such a good series and the latest instalment, ON LAVENDER LANE is yet another wonderful read. I liked Maddy. I really liked Maddy. Even though I’m not a baker or chef, I connected with her personality. The story grabs you from the very beginning when Maddy lands in Omaha for a cooking demonstration. Ms. Ross totally captures the personalities of the secondary and minor characters while bringing Maddy to life. When Maxime’s betrayal is revealed you know just what it feels like.

Lucas is actually more stable than he appears on the surface. He’s a man on a mission and he’s going to complete that mission come hell or high water. His love of his dog, Scout, makes him such an endearing character. When Scout’s own story is revealed and how Lucas works with Scout to overcome her own PTSD he just won my heart.

There is a side story thread involving one of the other characters, Phoebe and I have to admit disappointment in how it was handled. There is the inkling that she will be having her own story, at least I hope so if for no other reason that I want to know more about Ethan Concannon. There is a wonderful strength to Phoebe that I wanted to see more of. Her portion of the story comes to a sudden conclusion despite how her true strength comes through.

I also felt that there was a bit too much made of the sustainable food theme but I sure wouldn’t mind trying some of the dishes that were cooked and served by the characters, especially the seafood ones.

The new characters that appear in each of the books add depth to the stories and ON LAVENDAR LANE is no different. Each book builds on the one before but are complete stand-alones and do not necessarily have to be read in order. You won’t want to miss any of them—they are just good reading that captures your attention and brings you completely into the story.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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