Love and Lavender

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Pub Date Nov 02 2021 | Archive Date Nov 16 2021

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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?

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...

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Love and Lavender by Josi S. Kilpack is a wonderful, sweet, heartwarming, inspiring, and positive historical romance that really tugged on my heart and warmed me from within.

This is the first book of the Mayfield Family series that I have read (this is #4), and I was easily able to follow along. I enjoyed this book so much that I will now be reading the rest of the series.

This book is set in the early 19th century England (which is a favorite of mine) and here we get to see the lives of Hazel Stillman and Duncan Penhale. Both are wonderfully developed characters. Their backstories are complex, interspersed with difficulties, and through their own respective “disabilities” and circumstances they end up joining in a union to secure their own futures and hopeful future successes.

What starts out as a marriage of convenience, or a business arrangement, ends up blossoming into a healing, therapeutic, and completely transformative and loving partnership. The author has such a talent at crafting such real, raw, and true characters that I could not help but love. Their respective quirks lead them to one another, and in that process, they find out so much more about themselves. The process was so heartfelt, but yet never bordered on anything unrealistic or cheesy. It was so tastefully written.

I loved seeing Hazel and Duncan find success in their own respective lives, as well as with each other. Beautiful.

5/5 stars

Thank you NG and Shadow Mountain Publishing for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately (as of 5/14/21 no BB account has been created) and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, Deseret, and B&N accounts upon publication.

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As a novel, this is a great read. Well written, with characters that grow over the course of the story, well developed secondary characters, and some brilliant lines. One of my favourite parts is where Sophie rebukes Hazel:
"Hazel, you are one of the smartest women I know. Do not insult your own intelligence by saying something so incredibly stupid."

As a historical novel however, this falls far short of the mark. Writing a character with autism in a novel set in the 1800s is a difficult task. Yet the only assistance the author cites at the end is from a Special Ed teacher. Why not interview people with autism before writing? Why not research how autism was viewed in this time period? Why not show more people's reactions to Duncan instead of keeping it predominantly at surface level?

I would have appreciated this more if the author had cited her historical sources and actually spoken to people with autism in order to write Duncan accurately. A Special Ed teacher can provide a plethora of experiences of course, but only the person themselves can tell you what's going on inside during those experiences.

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This story unexpectedly stole my heart. When it first started I wasn't sure at all if Iwould end up enjoying it. Duncan's character right from the start was a little off putting. As soon as I realized he was meant to, what we in modern times would call, be on the autism spectrum (like by the second chapter) my heart went out to him and I instantly loved him. Having a family member on the spectrum who has so many of the same "problems" (not sure how to better describe it) as Duncan made me understand him and feel for him even more. Being so completely honest and not understanding social que's is a huge roadblock that puts a person at a great disadvantage in life.

I always feel so heartbroken for characters who have physical problems that today would be no big deal, but 200 years ago made them a sort of instant social outcast. So sad. Hazel was written as one of those characters being born with a club foot. Having no support, she did what she had to do for herself to be successful in life and I admired that about her.

Duncan and Hazel together were so perfect. I loved that Hazel was protective of him and so quickly learned how to understand him. And Duncan's total honestly with Hazel was so endearing to me.

The only thing I could even complain about (it still gets 5 stars) is that I wish I knew why Catherine left her life in society to be with Duncan's father. What made Caffeine tick? What made her take such good care of and love Duncan? Those questions were left unanswered and I found myself frustrated by that.

There isn't a lot of typical romance in this book but I found I didn't care at all. It was perfect the way it was.

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I know Josi S. Kilpack from her culinary mystery series and was excited to read her newest regency era romance. Hazel Stillman is educated, teaches mathematics and likely never to marry having been born with a clubbed foot. Her uncle Elliott Mayfield offers her a substantial dowry in hopes that she will marry. He offers a similar type inheritance to Duncan Penhale. Duncan is a ward and was raised by another aunt of Hazel's. Elliott is giftedly bright and quirky. Today we'd say he was in the autistic spectrum.

Duncan comes up with the idea of a marriage of convenience thinking they could both have security with Mayfield's generosity. Instead he insists that they must live together as man and wife for a year. In a rom/com this would be a set up for flirting and funny thrown together moments. Kilpack instead gives a poignant story of Hazel dealing with her insecurities, adjusting to Duncan's routines, quirks and kindnesses. It is an uncommon love story beautifully written.

I've actually read three different romances with a main character in the spectrum this past year and this is my favorite. I like the how the author shows Duncan's thinking process and seeing Hazel accept and not try to change him. This is the fourth in a the Mayfield Family series but it is written as a stand alone. A clean read and would easily recommend for 15 and up. Thank you to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for an ARC ebook in exchange for an honest review.

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So far I have loved every one of the novels in the Mayfield Family Regency series, but this one was quite unique! Both Hazel and Duncan are ostracized by polite Society--Hazel due to a clubbed foot and resultant limp and Duncan due to being on the autism spectrum (something relatively unknown for that time period). But rather than being institutionalized, both were given the chance at education instead, and then are offered Uncle Elliot's strange inheritance gift if they marry according to his specifications. Since it has worked so well with his three nephews--even Harry--Uncle Elliot is sure that it will work for his niece and his somewhat adopted nephew. But neither Duncan or Hazel feel that they will find love due to their respective circumstances--so they agree to a marriage of convenience to each other to keep themselves supported. Uncle Elliot agrees, but only if they agree to live in the same house for one year after their wedding.

I loved both Hazel and Duncan. Hazel is pragmatic, patient, and smart. Duncan is almost savant and his straight-forward comments are detailed, honest, and occasionally funny. These characters are very well-written and well-developed and I was invested in their story. There were several laugh-out-loud moments, but also several touching scenes as well. I very much recommend this one!

Rated PG for some frank discussions
--no language
--no overt sexual scenes, however Duncan is very...technically his descriptions of marital expectations
--no gore
--no violence

I received this ebook free from NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing in exchange for an honest review

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This love story was unique and such an uncommon take on a marriage of convenience! The characters are unconventional as is their romance. This story is more of a journey as the reader learns about these characters as the story develops and grows fond of each of them as the pages fly by. Any time a plot can keep me invested and intrigued I am impressed and I had to see this romance play out until the conclusion! This book had so many unexpected moments that will warm your heart to this logically minded hero. He is as kind as he is observant! Josi Kilpack does a great job of writing these two characters and their challenges and showing their growth as the book progressed! The conclusion was sweet ant well worth the wait!

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Featuring Hazel Stillman and Duncan Penhale, "Love and Lavender" is the emotional and heartfelt fourth installment of Josi Kilpack's Mayfield Family series. They enter into a marriage of convenience that exposes the ugly side of people's prejudice and gossip.

Hazel's struggles with her physical infirmity are so realistically and vividly depicted one can almost feel her pain. Intelligent, methodical, precise and literal Duncan is only understood by those close to him. His attachment to his cat, Elizabeth, is so sweet, as is his devotion to Delores. Their journey to true love is fraught with difficulties. Uncle Elliot, Amelia and Hazel's twin brother Harry make appearances.

Kilpack's prose is beautiful and descriptive. Her characters are well-developed, and their emotions are palpable. While "Love and Lavender" has its lighthearted moments, it is not a "unicorns and rainbows" tale. While technically this is a stand-alone story, the previous three installments are all wonderful, and I read them prior to this one. For me personally, this book is even more heart-wrenching than "Rakes and Roses", which I also loved.

Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for an ARC of this engaging and touching novel.

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When I started reading Love and Lavender I thought this book wasn't a book I wanted to read. It is like an accident, you want to look away but you just can't! The characters are so unique with their flaws and indomitable spirit, It is the story of Hazel and Duncan, both of whom have received an inheritance to be received when they are properly wed. Hazel with her club foot, has never fit in and has spent most of her life in school. Now she is a teacher at a girl's school. Duncan is a special person. He doesn't like to be touched or laughed at. He takes everything literally. Duncan and Hazel decide to wed each other to gain their inheritances. Dancan could buy his building and Hazel could buy her school and they could continue on as friends, but there are some stipulations to the inheritances. Duncan and Hazel must live together for a year. It was enlightening to learn about these two very different characters. What they went through each day in their struggles just to live is amazing. It makes you realize how blessed you truly are. It also makes you realize that each of us has our own flaws. Some are more visible than others.
I really enjoyed this book and I am glad I read it.

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This is a beautiful, beautiful story about two people with disabilities learning to grow a life together.

Hazel has a physical disability. She was born with a club foot and it's painful to walk on it. Her family sent her away at a young age and she makes a living for herself as a teach of advanced math.

Duncan has a less visible disability, a mental one (autism?). He's extremely intelligent but is socially awkward, but he his the hero in this story.

They meet at Uncle Elliot's house when he offers them the same he has already offered others in the family before (this is book 4 in the series). Both Hazel and Duncan don't think they can find someone who'll marry them, and therefore won't be able to accept the financial settlement.

But circumstances change and Duncan comes up with the idea that they marry each other so they can each receive the bequest.
But Uncle Elliot says they will have to live together for a year.

Hazel and Duncan develop a friendship and peculiar relationship as they learn to accommodate their solitary lives to living together, and there are a lot of tender moments. There was a particular part that brought tears to my eyes.

I highly recommend this one.

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

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This was such a beautiful book. So much heart. So much emotion. I felt so full of emotion by the end. Part of that is because I babysit a very smart little boy with autism and a speech disability and I often wonder what life holds for him. So seeing Duncan as a functioning adult was encouraging to me and seeing him find love was even more so. The romantic relationship between Duncan and Hazel is different from typical ones of course but so touching. I love how Hazel adapted to understand Duncan and relate to him to see his goodness and how his mind works. But I also loved that the author showed us that frustration would be a typical response to dealing with autism on a daily basis as well. And I loved that Duncan, in what appears to be a non-emotional way, cared for Hazel and her special needs. He could clearly see that her boot was not good on her clubbed foot but he didn't even talk about it. He just went to find the most expert help he could to get her properly shoed. She hadn't had anyone to truly care for her in her entire life. They are two people with special needs that learn quickly how best to care for the other and together they make a beautiful team. I loved this book.

Sex: references to marital relations
Language: no
Violence: a little
*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley and voluntarily chose to review it.

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Okay, so each of these books keep on getting better and better! Love and Lavender is the fourth book in the Mayfield Family series. I was so excited to see that Hazel had her own story especially after reading Harry’s book!
Hazel Stillman was born the oldest child, the older sister but because of her clubbed foot she was outcast. Left basically on her own, Hazel learned how to make a life for herself working as a teacher. However when she finds out that her school may be sold, she finds herself needing to consider other options. Duncan Penhale has a brilliant mind and a need for order and process. He has no expectations of his life changing. When Elliot Mayfield, his guardian’s brother, presents him with an inheritance if he marries a woman of social standing, he finds it interesting but unimportant. However with his inheritance he could purchase the building he was working in and run his own firm. Hazel and Duncan come together with a solution to their problems, they could marry each other, receive their inheritances and part ways. But Elliot Mayfields puts his foot down and tells them they must leave together as husband and wife for a year, Duncan and Hazel reluctantly agree. Will they learn to love each other at the end of the year, or will they go their separate ways?
Hazel was so different from the women of her time. She had to be independent because of her clubbed foot, however she was also lonely; she wanted someone to love her for herself. Life had not been easy for her and there were times when she struggled with life. I really enjoyed reading about Hazel and seeing her more. I felt bad for her, But I was also amazed at all she had done. However she was a little jaded, a little weary of those around her. She had to care for herself so she didn't quite know what to do with Duncan. Would she be able to let Duncan into her life and ultimately in her heart?
Duncan was a lovely character, I liked reading about him and learning about him. He was different from those around him and he knew it but that was his life. He was a sweet guy, but there were some things that made life harder for him, he processed things differently. I liked his growth as a character as he learned how to live and care for Hazel. Hazel was a person that made him feel special and helped him learn to live. However would he be able to show Hazel his love and help her see how much she has come to me to him?
Hazel and Duncan were super sweet together. They were both different and yet they found their place in the world through each other. I liked reading about them interacting with each other and watching them fall in love. They had a lot to overcome as they figured out how to be married to each other and how to build a life together. Were they willing to change their life in order to find happiness together?
Love and Lavender was just as good as I had hoped! The characters were awesome and relatable. I was cheering them on as they learned to work out their relationship. I would totally recommend it! Love and Lavender is a clean marriage of convenience, historical romance.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

I posted on Barnes and Nobles and Goodreads on 05/23/2021. I couldn't find it own Bookbub. I will post on Amazon and blog closer to release date

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This is book 4 in the Mayfield Family Regency Proper Romance series and the first one I have read. I had no problem following along with the characters or keeping up with the storyline, despite not reading the first books published in this series. This regency was different than your typical romance. This has a depth of heart, emotion and featured characters looking beyond what is on the surface. Hazel is very smart and perceptive. Her character is a wonderful compliment to Duncan who is affected by what we would now define as autism. Hazel is very patient with Duncan and Duncan’s character learns to grow and accept Hazel as well. Hazel has her own infirmities and I love seeing the two of them come together and accept each other as they are and grow on that to become more than what they think they are. I thought this was a very sweet romance and for anyone looking for more substance than fluff.

Thanks to the author and NetGalley for the copy. All thoughts in this review are my own.

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It took reading a couple of chapters for me to connect with this story; but once I did, I loved it! This is not your typical “romance”. Duncan and Hazel are not your typical hero and heroine! They each have personal challenges that leave them with insecurities in many areas of their lives. Hazel aptly describes their challenges as “my broken body and his broken brain.” Facing an uncertain future, can a marriage of convenience be the solution to their insecurities? This well-crafted story combines humor and angst. The characters are well-developed and endearing. The intellectual discussions and number riddles that Hazel and Duncan share are delightful. Ms. Kilpack’s expressive prose enables you to feel the emotions of the relationship. Their “differences” are handled with sensitivity. Love and Lavender is Book 4 of the Mayfield Family but works well as a standalone. I highly recommend this poignant, heartwarming Regency romance.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Shadow Mountain Publishing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Phenomenal. This book was phenomenal. The very best in the series.

The story revolves around two characters (extremely) rarely represented in historical fiction, much less historical romance: one with a clubbed foot and one with autism. And it was SO well done.

I've always loved the Mayfield family plot line. Add to that a cast of interesting characters, complicated human relationships, relatable tension, personal growth, and changing dreams. It's a recipe for perfection.

I loved it so much that I immediately started reading it again after I finished because it was just wonderful and nothing else would do.

Can't recommend enough.

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This book is about two people with disabilities--Hazel has a clubbed foot and Duncan is on the autism spectrum--learning to live together and falling in love. For the most part, I enjoyed this book.

I will admit that I found Hazel frustrating, which really dampened my overall enjoyment. Her attitude towards certain things (like her brother, her marriage, and her dislike of religion) bothered me. I know her life experiences led to this outlook, but it still frustrated me. I did really admire her determination to make a difference in young girls' lives through education, and she did show extreme resilience in overcoming the many obstacles life threw her way. And she was a great complement to Duncan, for the most part, even though I thought she got annoyed/irritated with him a tad too many times for my liking. Duncan was an absolute treasure--the best part of the novel. Everything that came out of his mouth made me smile. He was so straightforward, analytical, and blunt. It cracked me up and endeared himself to me at the same time. Maybe that's why I am being a bit unfair to Hazel. I loved Duncan so much and got so defensive on his behalf that I basically wanted Hazel to be a saint, not the girl who was planning on leaving him for most of the novel. Plus, her actions near the end of the book made me angry. Basically, if I were a character from this book, I would be Dolores. That's not fair of me, but that's how I feel 🤷‍♀️ The ending was great, though.

I still recommend this story. I seem to be the only one so far that struggled with Hazel's character, so feel free to completely ignore what I just said. I am definitely the odd one out here. I really wanted to love this book, but I just didn't. But Duncan is the sweetest person ever and I love him. You should read this book just for him.

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A beautiful love story of a marriage of convenience turning into a everlasting love. I loved the characters and their back story I definitely recommend if you are into historical romance and love great storytelling what a beautiful heart felt love story..

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"Love and Lavender" was a very nice book, and I especially liked that it featured a neuroatypical individual (the hero, Duncan, is autistic, although there was no such diagnosis at the time) and a physically disabled protagonist (the heroine, Hazel, has a clubbed foot), because this kind of character is too rarely shown in historical fictions, and this allows us to acquire a different view of history once we shine light on the people who may have stayed on the sidelines at the time.

"Love and Lavender" is the fourth book of the Mayfair series (after "Promises and Primroses", "Daisies and Devotion, and "Rakes and Roses" - and may I say, I absolutely love the titles of this series!!). It follows Hazel, a young, independent women working at a girls' school, and Duncan, a businessman. Both characters need money to achieve their dreams and solve their problems. A family relation has the solution to their problems, but they must marry to obtain the money. A marriage of convenience it will be then, but the contract stipulates that they must live together for a year.

However, for Hazel, marrying means leaving the school she has just bought thanks to her marriage, and only return to it a year later. Unfortunately she becomes a little obsessed with her school and forgets to see what she has in front of her, while Duncan, because of his unusual understanding of the world, does not really get Hazel's point of view, which leads to misunderstandings and heartache for both. Although the story was really sweet, it didn't feel like the characters really, deeply fell in love, it seems that they just both liked each other very much and enjoyed living under the same roof.

Overall, I find the story a little flat and not very exciting. But I did enjoy it nevertheless, and Duncan even sometimes made me laugh. I also appreciated the originality of the story.

3.5 stars

*I received an ARC and this is my honest opinion*

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'Love and Lavender' by Josi S. Kilpack really made me think. It was heart wrenching to consider the fate of characters with 'special needs' in another time and place. The harshness of Hazel and Duncan's childhoods was hard to formulate and left me with intense compassion for those who are different, in any generation. It wasn't an easy read because of the emotion it evoked, but I highly recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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I really enjoyed LOVE AND LAVENDER by JOSI S KILPACK . It is a well written historical romance about two damaged people who find love in the most unusual way. Although sad in parts, there is underlying humour. The gentle and fragrant lavender plant plays a part in the story.
Hazel Stillman and Duncan Penhale have both endured extremely hard childhoods as their families could not deal with the fact that they were different. Hazel, with her club foot, was sent to boarding school when she was six years old and has very few childhood memories. Duncan was taken in by Catherine, his father's mistress, after his mother left him because she could not handle him. When Uncle Elliot comes back from India he comes up with a plan to help his nieces and nephews, as well as his sister Catherine's adopted son. Both Hazel and Duncan are brilliantly clever and have received a good education due to Uncle Elliot's generosity.
I like to see the development of the various characters and their interactions with one another.
I highly recommend Love and Lavender as a thought provoking and really good read.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Shadow Mountain. The opinions in this review are completely my own.

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Love and Lavender captured my interest in the opening pages and held it all the way through. Meeting and getting to know Hazel and Duncan was such fun. This a sweet romance worth reading.

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“Hazel.” Hazel stared at the desk for two seconds before lifting her head and meeting Sophie’s eyes.
“Choose happiness.”

Hazel and Duncan both recieved similar propositions from their uncle; once they marry, they'll recieve their inheritance.

But Hazel's deformed foot hindered any chances at a proposal that might have once come her way. And Duncan's autism makes him socially awkward and feeling the odd one out in most interactions.

Somehow, the two social misfits hit it off during their first meeting and as they begin writing to eachother, they find they have much in common.

It doesn't take long to realize that they are the best solution to eachother's matrimonial problems. A marriage of convenience and in name only, would allow them access to their inheritance and then they could go back to living as they had.

Their uncle is appalled. The purpose of the stipulation was so that they find the love he enjoys in his own marriage. He allows the match, but only if they spend a year together, before they go their separate ways.

I loved Hazel and Duncan's relationship. They were so perfectly awkward together and yet shared a certain familiarity and understanding with one another that the other people around them, couldn't relate to.

Because of his autism, Duncan had difficulty reading between the lines or understanding social nuances we usually take for granted. Each conversation had to be frank and to the point. This forced them also to be less delicate about what would have usually been more intimate topics. I didn't find that this compromised the clean rating or made me too uncomfortable.

Sometimes it did feel like I was missing a bit of backstory on some characters, probably because I haven't read the rest of the series. But in general it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story.

You won't find a more adorable or awkward couple and you'll love them for it. You'll love their intellectual conversations, Duncan's "experiments," their inability to express themselves while simultaneously having to be completely blunt and at times tactless to get their point across.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars for the quirkiest couple I have read all year😂

(Josi S Kilpack, you could have given us that 'under the mistletoe' kiss though. Don't be stingy😉🤭)

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Josi Kilpack has done it again! This was a delightful addition to the Mayfield Family Series. I adored the characters. The plot was well-paced and captivating to the very end. I highly recommend this lovely and quick read.

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A wonderful story with great disability representation, cleverly interwoven into the plot and showing in the characters’ actions, behavior and lives.
Duncan and Hazel, the protagonists of “Love and Lavender”, by Josi S. Kilpack (Shadow Mountain Publishing), are such great characters. The insight into their issues reveals an exhaustive historical and clinical research. Kudos for that!
Watching Duncan was delightful, sometimes poignant and a bit tiring, but always authentic. I loved how Josi S. Kilpack explored so many facets and dimensions of his condition, really showing it through his personality. The awkwardness, directness and sincerity are charming. The bond with Elizabeth, the cat, was so cute. The quirks, the need for order, symmetry and routine, the difficulty in social interactions and reading social clues – are all fantastically written.
The love story was sweet and endearing. Hazel and Duncan are generous, goodhearted people and I loved the kindness between them and how they grew together and learned with each other. And also the fact they sort of had given up and nonetheless find love and their HEA.

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I enjoyed this story and the representation of physical and mental disabilities, their strengths and weaknesses. I admit it took me some time to get into with such atypical romance characteristics, but I found it very touching and likely realistic.

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4.5 stars

Interesting story. Hazel has had to be independant in part because of the treatment by her twin and family and in part because of her disability. Duncan appears to be autistic and finds it difficult to relate to other people. At one point they both have factors endangering their income so they take up Hazel's uncle offer of a marraige to finance their interests.

Not so much religious sentiment in this book which I appreciated and it's a clean read (I'd prefer more passion).. It's very well writen describing Duncan's viewpoint and Hazel's frustrations with her physical problems. We get her postives and negatives. It's not common to get a person's jealousies and angst but these are handled well.
Great explanation of Duncan's back story.

I recommend this work.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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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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What a beautiful story. I love the depth of each character. Duncan pulls on my heart strings. As awkward as he may seem, it gives us a little look into the mind of autism. The relationship that builds between Duncan and Hazel warms the heart and I had a hard time putting this down!!!!

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Love and Lavender by Josi S. Kilpack, 320 pages. Shadow Mountain Publishing, 2021. $16.
Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG
Hazel wants to continue teaching young girls mathematics, and Duncan wants to enjoy his clerk work again without his incompetent coworker. With their current contentment threatened, Hazel and Duncan agree to marry for convenience to receive their inheritances and secure their individual futures. Futures that must wait to begin because the man granting their inheritances requires that they live as man and wife for a year first.
Communication is key to relationships, and I love how Kilpack highlights this principle. With Duncan’s need for transparency, Hazel has to become comfortable with feeling vulnerable and saying what she means. Clear communication is also addressed by Hazel’s brother, Harry, when he expresses a desire to change their relationship to an uplifting and supportive one instead of the sarcastic one they have used to cut each other down. Finally, Hazel must also learn how to interpret her emotions, or the communication between her mind and her heart. There are several references to the previous three books in the series, but this one stands well alone. The mature content rating is for discussions of sex.
Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

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This is the second book that features a Neuro-diverse main character in as many months and I’m absolutely here for all of them! The hero in this story reminded me a bit of a historical Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. Very atypical in a romance novel. This is not an alpha male hero or a sweet hero who says all the right things. You probably won’t swoon over him or collect him as a book boyfriend. And yet the notes of the romance are just right. The heroine for him is just right. And the overall love story is just as beautiful, maybe even more so, for the story itself but also all the book is doing beyond just the telling of the story.

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Hazel was born with a club foot and shunned by polite society. Duncan had his own issues, what we today would probably be called being on the spectrum. They had both been abandoned and had to do so much by themselves to survive.

I love the story of these two. They have to overcome so many obstacles, mental and physical. They have to learn to love and forgive and move forward. They have to learn what happens means.

The characters were well developed. Their backstories are well explained and you can feel their pain. The changes they make feel real and you root for them.

Another home run for Josi S. Kilpack!

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Another excellent book from Kilpack in this series with a very surprising approach to the main characters and their love story. While the author never spells out what Duncan deals with (other than mentioning it in her notes at the end of the book briefly), it was very obvious to me and I was intrigued how Kilpack would take his issue and weave it into a love story. Hazel is dealing with her own challenges and to accept Duncan's is both natural to her because of her personal issues but also a challenge as well, as she learns to help him, support him, and eventually fall in love with him.

This was the most surprising book for me in this series and so unexpected. I was unprepared to be so drawn into Hazel and Duncan's story and to be cheering for them to get along and to learn how to work through their personal issues with a partner, something neither one of them had been used to before, especially in a historical novel set in (Regency?) England. So well done and so engaging. Such a simple message by the end of the book too (without saying more but using the quote from the book of "Choose happiness"). Kilpack takes what was definitely taboo in that time period (late 1800s?) and what is even still taboo to many today and just makes magic with the characters and their interactions with one another and creates such an engaging cast of characters, setting, and scenarios that you can't help but be drawn into their lives and how real their pain, heartache, and everyday life is and how much you want them to succeed.

I am a bit disappointed that, from things mentioned in this story that it sounds like now all the Mayfield cousins have finally found love, so I would guess this book to be the last in this series, one I have enjoyed so much with the fun premise of Uncle Elliott trying to help his nieces and nephews find love and happiness. As this book is the 4th in a series, there is some mention of details from the outcomes of the other three books, not in major detail, but enough that (me personally) it is probably best to read them all in order.

If this is truly the end of the series, then Kilpack really saved the best for last. Bravo!!!

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#loveandlavender #netgalley

This was a sweet romance with a twist. One of the main characters I believe has a form of autism. It was really cool to see how their romance developed and how they made it work with their many differences. Loved it!

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Thank you net galley for the advance reader copy of this novel. I love this author and series and was thrilled to get an advance copy of the next book about the Mayfield family. I loved this story about Hazel and her journey of self to overcome her club foot and learn to love an autistic man Duncan. Both main characters were so real and the dialogue at times was laugh out loud funny. I can't wait for the next Mayfield book and will highly recommend this clean recency romance!!!!