Julian Ford is a Hollywood screenwriter. He’s grown tired of that life, though, and wants out. He refuses to attend an awards ceremony in L.A., much to the chagrin of his manager. In fact, Julian’s decided to take at least six months off and stay alone at Lostwood Hall, the castle his grandparents left him.
Lee Benson is on the run from his (alleged) girlfriend’s brothers, and thanks to a misunderstanding in the men’s room of a garage, a large stranger he wants to get away from as well. He’s traveling up a mountain in a terrible rainstorm and winds up cutting off a car before crashing into a ditch. Soon, Lee finds himself rescued and in a castle with a strange man trying to take care of him.
For the next several days, the storm continues and Julian and Lee get to know each other, a mutual attraction forming between them. However, just as they’re ready to take their relationship to the next level, Lee’s problems return to interrupt Julian and Lee’s tentative fall into love. Will they be able to get past these issues, or will Lee have to leave Lostwood Hall and Julian behind?
I want to start by telling you I read this book several nights back, and I’ve been trying to decide how to write up this review. I didn’t hate The Mentor of Lostwood Hall, but there was just something about it that made me feel distant from the story and from Julian and Lee. I found Julian to be off putting. Yes, his heart was broken by his ex’s cheating, but he continued to think of him well into the book, and he even thought of him during his first time with Lee. Also, Julian’s attempts at humor fell flat for me. Sometimes, it bordered on mean. Julian was difficult for me to like, even as the story continued.
Lee…I’m not sure if I liked Lee very much either, but he was definitely easier to identify with. He’s been trapped in a terrible situation. His best friend is a woman who finds herself pregnant. Her brothers (both lowlifes) blame Lee and takes this as an opportunity to take over the apartment Lee and his mother lived in. They run drugs out of the place, while the girl just lays about doing nothing. Lee becomes desperate. His mother’s a hooker, and Karen’s brothers will never loosen their hold. All of this made me sympathetic to Lee, but I didn’t fall in love with him as I often do with characters in books.
As for their relationship, I didn’t feel any true connection between them, or to them. While I cared about what happened to them and how the book would end, I didn’t feel invested in them. Even their love scenes felt clunky to me.
I don’t want you thinking The Mentor of Lostwood Manor was a bad book. I liked the meat of the story…the rescue, the reappearances of the man who was “chasing” Lee, one of Karen’s brothers, and the ex…all were fairly interesting. There were a few things that made me take some guesses (and be wrong). This leads me to believe my issues with the book were about Julian and Lee.
I actually like the ending. I don’t want to give it away, but the ending is why the book is titled as it is. I thought it was an interesting idea, and it seemed to suit Julian and Lee, and Lostwood Hall was able to be used for something good.
I want to just include a small issue before I finish up. The Mentor of Lostwood Hall is very British. I don’t have a problem with that at all, but I did have to stop reading and look up the definitions of some of the words that were used. It took me out of the story’s rhythm a bit when that happened.
All in all, I’m going to say this book was ok. I cautiously recommend it to people who like all things British or a unique take on a runaway hero, this may be for you.