Title: The Glasshouse
Series: Lavender Shores: Book Six
Author: Rosalind Abel
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 302 Pages
At a Glance: When I want a sweet romance I know exactly where to go, and it is to author Rosalind Abel and this lush series. The Glasshouse will not disappoint fans.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Adrian Rivera lives as he damn well pleases, defying his Lavender Shores family to spend his days farming the beautiful Northern California land. Not one to daydream of true love and romance, Adrian’s social life has always been filled with sex and plenty of good times. Harrison Getty went from NFL star quarterback to America’s gay heartthrob, to reality TV star—with his wedding day broadcast live on national television. But Harrison feels trapped in a Hollywood life dictated by others. To breathe again, he runs from it all… Adrian’s attraction to Harrison has been building for months—even as Harrison prepared to marry another man. Lightning strikes between them, stirring emotions and passions as Adrian finds “the one,” a love that’s meant to be. But can Harrison stop running long enough to know his own heart? Amid scandals and betrayals, Adrian and Harrison struggle to grow their new love even as life’s storms threaten to shatter it all…
Review: Rosalind Abel’s Lavender Shores series is like your personal go-to dessert: familiar, comforting and satisfying. With each new installment, we get a closer look at members of the founding families that make up this idyllic town. I say idyllic but acknowledge that there is a bit of a seedy underbelly to this quaint village. While it appears to have more than its fair share of tolerance for LGBT folk, conflict and homophobia still exists as was evidenced in a previous book in the series. Yes, the premise for these stories is rather far-fetched, and yes, there are far too many “gorgeous” gay men to be found, but there are also some rather strange and quirky folk who make these novels fun to read. Each novel runs around the same theme—one or more wounded men seeking their soul mate, sure they are never going to find him. I think it should be said that if you are looking for some gritty, realistic m/m novel with a bit of romance on the side, then this series is not for you. However, if romance is what floats your boat, then these little gems are sure to satisfy.
The Glasshouse is the sixth installment in the series and, by far, the most hopelessly romantic. Following the trials of Harrison Getty and Adrian Rivera, the novel opens on Harrison’s wedding day. His life as an NFL football player had been derailed due to injury, and he had been outed due to the release of a pirated sex tape, but Harrison has handily landed on his feet, complete with his own television special documenting his relationship with Will. However, over time, the cameras had become the wedge that had infiltrated his and Will’s relationship, with Will consumed about how the two of them looked on camera, and that being more important than growing their intimacy and love for each other. Harrison, who has lived most of his life trying to please—first his father, and then whomever else directly influenced him, from his manager to his fiancé—finds himself facing his wedding day with terror. The questions that seize this gentle giant are ones that he finds he cannot really answer, the main one being what does he really want. That is followed up by who does he really love, and why is his life so unhappy and he so confused. So, Harrison does the thing he does best—he runs, straight into the arms of Adrian Rivera.
For his part, Adrian has had a thing for Harrison for a while. Even though Harrison has been trying to get Adrian interested in his younger brother, Jasper, the two are just friends after a fumbled date or two. But Adrian has fought hard against his attraction to Harrison, putting it down to simple lust, until he realizes that his feelings go far beyond the desire for a quick tumble in the hay. Faster than either man can understand, Harrison and Adrian are falling for each other, but the shocking release of a damaging piece of film and the fallout it will produce leave both men on edge. More importantly, Harrison is plagued with guilt over how he treated Will, how he and Jasper have argued over his attraction to Adrian, and over just what it is that Harrison really wants. Harrison is lost and even Adrian’s declarations of love will not save the man from running away again.
What I love about this series is that even though the road to the elusive happy ever after is fraught with anxiety and a fair bit of pain, there is happiness to be found. Adrian and Harrison are in love, but Harrison isn’t sure what that means for him. He has lost himself and until he is able to discover just who he is and what he truly needs and wants, he can hardly commit to loving another person or being someone that man can depend on. There is a fair bit of angst in this novel and while we know their story will end well, we suffer with Harrison as he reels from one crisis to another. For Adrian’s part, being the son of one of the infamous founding families carries a weight he has tried to avoid bearing most of his adult life. He couldn’t care less about saving face for the family’s sake and yet, he loves his parents and feels the pain his actions bring to their door. So, there we have it—two men who really deserve happiness, trying to find it with each other but knowing the odds are stacked against them. Adrian will have to be selfless. He will have to love Harrison, no matter what he decides. Harrison must find himself, what he truly wants and not what he feels will assuage and satisfy others.
In the meantime, we revel in the love that is developing between these two men while simultaneously worrying that it will survive. The story moves swiftly, the sexual encounters are hot and steamy, and the shared friendship between the two men is divine. I think the only niggle I have about this series may be a rather nitpicky and individual one. You see, while these stories can be read as standalone novels, it is best to read the entire series to understand who the many side characters are and how they all fit together. At the end of each novel is a family tree of the four founding families that gives you a guide as to who is with who and how they all coexist. Even though I have read all the novels in order, I’m afraid my old brain scrambles each time to figure out who is who. I think it might behoove this author to either put a bit more background on the central characters in the prologue or move the placement of those family trees to the beginning of the manuscript rather than at the end. Again, this very well may be my own personal foible, but I really do find myself scrambling to make sense of who I am reading about and their place in the Lavender Shores hierarchy each time I begin one of these novels. I think it might help to refresh my memory at the beginning of each novel so I don’t feel so lost.
However, beyond that small annoyance, when I want a sweet romance I know exactly where to go, and it is to author Rosalind Abel and this lush series. The Glasshouse will not disappoint fans but once more transport them to an idyllic world where love conquers all and happy ever afters bloom.
You can buy The Glasshouse here:
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