Josi S. Kilpack nails it in her fourth installment of the Mayfield Family Romance series. Love and Lavender is everything readers need it to be, including rich characters and a delightful setting. This novel contains a love story like you’ve never seen before.

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  • Title: Love and Lavender (A Mayfield Family Romance Book 4)
  • Author: Josi S. Kilpack
  • Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing on November 2, 2021
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Pages: 320
  • Formats Available: Paperback, Audiobook, & Digital
  • Rating: 5/5

Trigger Warnings: Emotional Abuse, Child Abandonment

Many thanks to Josi S. Kilpack and Shadow Mountain Publishing for providing me with a paperback copy of Love and Lavender with a request for an honest review. Thanks also to Austenprose PR for inviting me on this tour and providing the materials to build this post.

About Love and Lavender

Hazel Stillman is a woman of rare independence and limited opportunities. Born with a clubbed foot, she was sent away as a child and, knowing her disability means a marriage is unlikely, she devoted herself to scholarship and education.

Now working as a teacher in an elite private girls’ school, she is content with the way her story has unfolded. When her uncle Elliott Mayfield presents her with the prospect of a substantial inheritance if she marries, Hazel is offended. What kind of decent man would marry for her money? Besides, she loves her freedom as a professional, respected woman. When she hears rumors of the school possibly being sold, however, she knows she must consider all her options.

Duncan Penhale has a brilliant mind and thrives on order and process. He does not expect to marry because he likes his solitary life, shared only with his beloved cat. When Elliott Mayfield, his guardian’s brother, presents him with an inheritance if he marries a woman of social standing, Duncan finds it intrusive. However, with the inheritance, he could purchase the building in which he works and run his own firm. It would take an impressive and intellectual woman to understand and love him, quirks and all.

Hazel and Duncan believe they have found a solution to both of their problems: marry one another, receive their inheritances, and then part ways to enjoy their individual paths. But when Uncle Mayfield stipulates that they must live together as husband and wife for one year before receiving their inheritances, Hazel and Duncan reluctantly agree. Over time, their marriage of convenience becomes much more appealing than they had anticipated. At the end of the full year, will they go their separate ways or could an unlikely marriage have found unsuspecting love?

Blurb Provided by Austenprose PR for Tour Use

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My Review

Hazel Stillman is an independent woman, forced to grow up and live without loving support from family or friends. Hazel learns over the years that she must fend for herself and that a normal life with a husband and children will never happen. When Hazel’s uncle offers her an inheritance dependent on marriage, Hazel feels betrayed and angry. But, the same day, she meets Duncan. Hazel’s uncle is also Duncan’s benefactor. Uncle Elliot offers Duncan a similar inheritance settlement. However, these settlements backfire when Hazel and Duncan go about receiving them in an original way. Though, does the situation backfire on Uncle Elliot or Hazel and Duncan?

Hazel is an extraordinary heroine. I loved her from the start because she faced obstacles that most people don’t understand. But, Hazel rises above them and becomes someone worthy of admiration. Unfortunately, she convinces herself that she will never have a normal life. I wanted to slap Hazel every time she thought this. I wanted to scream at her that there is no such thing as normal and she should live her life to the fullest. Luckily, Duncan arrives on the scene, and I bestowed all of my love on him. Duncan is strange and quirky, clearly on the spectrum. My son is also on the spectrum, and Duncan reminded me so much of him. The angrier I got at Hazel, the more I loved Duncan.

I adore the way Hazel and Duncan’s relationship unfolds. Hazel understands Duncan in a way that very few others ever have, and her discourse with him made my heart smile. She never treated him as less than a man, and he never treated Hazel as an invalid. The dynamic was fun to watch. When the story is all said and done, the ending had me sobbing with happy tears. I could barely catch my breath because the sobs were so heartfelt. The entire novel was a powerful display of love and uncertainty, and it was fabulous!

When we learn about Duncan’s childhood, the sadness enveloped me. Thank goodness Catherine came along and turned his life around. She loved him as if he were her flesh and blood son, which made all the difference in that small, strange boy. Now, Hazel’s childhood was just as awful, and it was easy to empathize with her, but Duncan’s story really hit home with me.

I award Love and Lavender a full 5 out of 5 stars. The writing is tender, and the dialogue is perfect. The amount of research that went into this novel to get everything so right is phenomenal. I couldn’t have asked for a better story than this one. I encourage anyone who loves romance to give this book a try. It is beautiful and touching in all the right ways.

5 Star Review

About the Author – Josi S. Kilpack

Josi S. Kilpack Author Image - Love and Lavender

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.

Josi has four children and lives in Northern Utah. 

Author’s Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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