Wednesday, July 30, 2014

LAVENDER ROSE by Theo Fenraven

Publisher:               Voodoo Lily Press                       
Published:               June 28, 2014        
ASIN:                    B00LDEWOK6
Genre:                   Romance, M/M
Book Format:          E-book
Obtained via:          Reviewers personal copy
Reviewed by:          Helena Stone,

Rating:                   4.5

Malcolm Hale has fled his old life. After curiosity sparked an unexpected but eye-opening encounter with another man, he’s left his no longer fitting marriage and soul-destroying job. When his car breaks down near Naples, Florida, Malcolm stumbles towards the first place he sees only to find himself on the grounds of a luxury gay resort called Lavender Rose.

The beautiful man behind the reception desk, Tristan Bellers, offers Malcolm a job as his assistance almost immediately. With nothing to go back to and no plans for the future Malcolm accepts and soon finds himself relaxing into the seductive and private world filled with beautiful men and tantalizing sexuality.

Tristan and Malcolm become closer and the future looks promising until a hurricane blows in and a killer, out to fulfil his selfish desires, decides it is the perfect opportunity to strike.

I’ve said it before and you’ll just have to bear with me while I say it again; Theo Fenraven weaves magic with his words. I wish I knew how he does it; how he manages to convey so much with so few, carefully chosen and beautifully positioned words. The pacing in this book is just about perfect. The reader learns everything they need to know about the characters and the resort if and when it becomes relevant. No huge chunks of back story ruin the reading rhythm in this book and I didn’t encounter a single instance of ‘where the hell did that come from’ either.

Both Tristan and Malcolm piqued my interest from the moment they were introduced. And then they grew. Neither is exactly what he appears to be at first glance and both of them show their deeper layers as the story progresses. Tristan may initially come across as camp and over the top, but he soon reveals himself to be a sensitive and very perceptive individual. And I loved how Malcolm seemed to grow into himself as the story progressed, surprising himself once or twice as he finally embraces his true nature and follows his desires. For that I can even forgive him his hate of black licorice.

On a side-note, the various references to Voodoo Lily throughout the story made me smile. It could have been cheesy or self-indulgent but somehow seemed to fit, especially given the resort’s name.

Lavender Rose contained one paragraph that made me stop, blink and sigh. I read it, read it again and knew I had to highlight it and put it in my review because the image it created just blew me away.

“Heaving a mental sigh, he again wondered when he would meet someone he could give his heart to forever. While he’d loaned it out plenty, he’d always gotten it back, sometimes much faster that he preferred and in worse shape than when it had gone out.”

Lavender Rose’ has it all; a beautiful love story, engaging characters and a thrilling threat in the background. This is a relatively short yet perfectly formed and ultimately very satisfying story. 

It is almost exactly six months since I first read a book by Theo Fenraven. ‘Blue River’ gave me a wonderful introduction to his writing and made me hungry for more. When I read ‘Transgression’ shortly afterwards I knew I had stumbled across one of those rarities; an author who can transport me to whatever world they feel like and make me at home there. ‘Wolf Bound’ confirmed that versatility and Lavender Rose proves once and for all that a good author can write across genres without losing any of their voice or storytelling qualities. I count myself lucky there are still several books I haven’t read. And while I’m tempted to just devour all of those back to back I’ve decided to pace myself. I guess I’m going to keep those remaining stories for times when I need a very special reading treat. I have absolutely no doubt they will prove to be exactly that.

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

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