Book Review: Love and Lavender by Josi S. Kilpack


Title: Love and Lavender

By: Josi S. Kilpack

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 320

Release Date: November 2nd, 2021

Publisher: Shadow Mountain

Rating: ★★★☆☆


Summary from Goodreads:

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?


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I was so excited to read this book, but something about it rubbed me the wrong way.

The two main characters have flaws that society can't seem to get past, but the only way for them to receive their inheritance is to marry, so they decide to marry one another. This loophole works for a while, but Hazel's complacency and Duncan's social inabilities get in the way.

I will say this, the writing was exquisite and the story was interesting enough. The reason I had a hard time with this book was the characters. Hazel was very stand-off-ish and didn't want to have anything to do with anyone really. All she wanted to do was run her school, which in itself is a magical and strong thing for a women of that era, but made her seem selfish.

Duncan on the other hand had obvious social flaws to the point that I would call him autistic. As a

mother of three autistic children and having several autistic traits myself, it was really hard to read through his monologues and seemed very distant and unrelatable, although not every autistic person is the same.

As most of the reviews on Goodreads are raving review, as they should be, I couldn't find the joy in this one as I wished I would have. This is a personal choice with no reflection on the authors ability which happens from time to time. I would still encourage you to read this book as it was a sweet story of love that comes from the most unexpected places.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. 

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