- The Wilderness by Rosalind Abel
The Wilderness by Rosalind AbelHot
Andre Rivera married his first love and lived a dream life until tragedy stepped in. His wife’s sudden death left him devastated and struggling to build a life for his young daughter. Being a pilot offers Andre a sense of freedom from Lavender Shores, but he feels trapped and unable to move forward.
A shared sense of loss fosters a surprising friendship between Will and Andre, giving them both the salvation they need. But when feelings cross the lines of friendship and secrets are revealed, Will and Andre have to confront their own fears.
Amid the gold of a Lavender Shores autumn, Will and Andre must grasp their chance at love… before it slips away.
I actually said in my review of book 6 – the only other in the series that directly ties into the events of this novel (though it's not vital to read it, to understand this book) – that I wanted a story for Will. I spent half of book 6 hating him, then I began to understand him and what he was going through, and I knew that Will had the ability to be a character I could love.
The communication between Will and Andre is another favourite thing of mine. They not only discuss their bedroom roles, openly and without resistance, but they also discuss Meghan, their future, and even Will's assumption that Andre has been secretly gay his entire life. Without that communication, I don't think I could have felt as much as I do for these two men. I would have worried that they were jumping into something that couldn't be good for them. Instead, I got to be there through every important moment, and I seriously hope that book 9 begins with their wedding. A beautiful, palisade wedding in spring/summer that has all the magic Will and Andre deserve! (and none of the Epstein tackiness or gold.)
Even the one year gap in the middle of the book, at 44%, made sense to me. It showed that neither of these two were jumping headlong into something that didn't work, or that they were going to push themselves to face a situation that was unhealthy and they weren't mentally ready to face.
Nick's storyline, Seth's continued feud with Charley, and the appearance of a new man in Silas, all make me eager to read more. I love these characters, even from the little we've seen of some of them, and I want them all to have books. Whether that means doubling them up (Seth with Charley, PLEASE!) or each one having their own story, I hope that Lavender Shores is one of those book series that never ends. At least not after reading double digits, if you don't mind.
For an ARC, I'm usually shocked when there are few editing issues. But, I've come to expect this level of excellence from Rosalind Abel. The author's skill for storytelling is that kind that sweeps you away with every word, weaving a picture-perfect visual in your mind, while dragging your heart into an emotional rollercoaster. In those circumstances, I'd expect a few editing issues, if I had any hope that the author was on the same crazy emotional ride as I was. And that is true, sometimes, but while you can feel that the author is right there with you, being swept up in the same emotions, the skill of their ability shines through just as equally.
“As stunning as the unearthly flickering lights above us were, they weren't the miracle that nearly broke my heart. “You don't need me to be anything, do you?””