How lovely to see yet another facet in a writer who has already given us several wonderful stories. Theo Fenraven reveals a lighter, more whimsical side to his storytelling with his novella, Lavender Rose. While many could argue that it has an insta-love trope entwined with a coming out theme, I found the story to be more of a lesson on just how much we cannot allow our past to overshadow the present. How we can be made weak when we allow judgment shrouded in hate and homophobia to dictate whom we become is a very real theme running through this lovely novella.
Mal has been caught kissing a man by his very unhappy father in law. Soon after he is asked to leave both his home and his job and finds himself somewhat relieved to finally acknowledge what he had hidden for so long, his love for both men and women. Confused and unsure as to which holds more sway for him, Mal finds himself with a broken down car in Naples, Florida and in the hotel lobby of the Lavender Rose asking for help. The manager, Tristan Bellers, offers Mal a job as his assistant and Mal accepts, unknowingly changing his life, for good.
Mal is so conflicted. Used to being more of a wallflower, despite his good looks, he is forever doubting that anyone would want him. Despite this deep-seated fear and his uncertainty over whether he is gay or just bisexual, Mal does know that Tristan is a beautiful man he wants to get to know better. However, Tristan has been down this road before and an affair with an employee has left him with a broken heart and a hard no fraternization policy. The question remains could Mal be the one to break the cycle of loneliness and the rule that has kept Tristan safe from further hurt?
Author Theo Fenraven writes two beautifully hesitant and tender characters and sets them on a collision course for each other. Surrounding them with a beautiful resort where every whim can be indulged, he slowly brings their hidden desire to be loved and cherished, found worthy, to the surface. In a short time, we watch a change take place in Mal as he begins to understand how deeply he had denied his natural desires to be with a man and find that a loving relationship can be the end product. But just as you begin to think this is just another nice love story, this author throws in a few twists and turns that turn this book into a thrilling life or death situation that has your heart jumping into your throat.
More than just a sweet romance, Lavender Rose by Theo Fenraven turns out to be a bit of a thriller with tense moments and exciting rescues. Once again I am so pleased by the incredible story telling of this quiet author. Always well done, Theo Fenraven gives us another compelling and satisfying story in his latest novella, Lavender Rose.