Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Daniel owns a chain of top-flight hotels that are slowly killing him. Always a workaholic, Daniel never slows down until a full-blown attack leaves him passed out on the floor at an award’s ceremony in his honor. Now, packed off by his doctor to a remote island retreat known as Rainbow Key, Daniel is unsure of what to expect when he sets foot off the boat onto an island that is gorgeous, but supports a crumbling old-fashioned hotel with three other guests in residence. The only thing the place has going for it other than some old world charm is the manager/chef/bellhop, Matt.
Matt has been given two years and no money to make the necessary changes to the small island hotel to ensure it runs self sufficiently. The rather eccentric owner took a chance on Matt five years ago, rescuing him from a life that could only be described as horrific. When the old man died, he left the proviso that if Matt could manage to do the repairs necessary to bring the place to code, then he would maintain ownership. However, it has been an uphill battle to keep the place open, not to mention even begin to affect the necessary repairs. But Matt is determined for there is more than just him to look after—he has a motley crew of misfits helping him and they are his family. He will do anything to keep them safe and provide a home for them.
When Daniel arrives on the island, neither man anticipates an attraction that will hit both of them hard. Unfortunately, Matt is certain that between his pudgy physique and his less than stellar past, Daniel won’t want to have anything to do with him should all be revealed. Once Daniel realizes his own company has been attempting to buy the very hotel that Matt so desperately loves, he too must hide who he is from the shy young man. With the odds stacked against them and time running out for the hotel, it will take a miracle to make sure Matt doesn’t lose his home and Daniel doesn’t lose his man.
Author Victoria Sue begins a new series with the release of Joshua’s Rainbow. By introducing a variety of characters, each with their own rather dark and mysterious past, the author sets the stage for future stories right off the bat. Using both the age-gap trope with Daniel being several years older than Matt and allowing for attraction to happen between an overweight man and one that is physically fit only creates more romance to an already sweet story line. The fundamental message here is that it’s what lies in the heart that attracts one person to really love another and I’m not sure any other story could have sent that message any more effectively than this one.
Rather than focus on how dismal the future was for Matt and company, the author chose to spend time allowing the characters to come up with solution after solution—even when the news was their first dream might not be the one that comes true. This is a team effort to save the beloved island retreat and make it into a place that would not only support a stable hotel business, but provide shelter for abused men and women who have no where else to turn. Yes, one could say that there was a great deal of schmaltz at times and yes, even a deliberate effort to pluck one’s heart strings, but the tantalizing stories that surrounded the supporting cast were enough for me to cement the idea I will pick up the next installment in this series. The author gives us just enough background on various people to ensure we want to hear their stories. Then, quite frankly, there is the budding romance between Matt and Daniel that is just so terribly sweet and, voila, before you know it you are invested to the max in their well being and relationship as well.
Perhaps for some this story was a bit too neatly achieved—the solution so obvious from the start that a more jaded reader might find it just a bit too contrived. However, I think for this type of romance one is going to have to plant any jaded outlook on love at the door and allow for love at first sight and happy ever afters to control the day. If you can let go and allow yourself to indulge in a bit of sappy romance, then Joshua’s Rainbow will be just the book for you. It is well written, sweet, and romantic—the perfect arrow to slay any dreamer’s heart.