One Lavender Ribbon

One Lavender Ribbon was presented to me as a choice through the Kindle First program–of which I am a proud and smugly satisfied member. Once per month, they email me and offer me one of four free books an entire month before it goes on sale. As a result, I’ve read books that I normally wouldn’t give a chance, and I hope that I’ve been helpful to the authors by them leaving them an Amazon review in return. I have consistently been delighted with Kindle First.

I picked up One Lavender Ribbon because I’ve been aching for a good WWII era romance here lately. I blame it entirely on a wave of nostalgia I’ve been riding lately, missing some loved ones who have gone on, people with WWI, WWII, and Great Depression stories that I never tired of hearing. Needless to say, One Lavender Ribbon was a welcome addition to my Kindle Carousel, and I found myself delighted when the heroine moves south to Florida to renovate an old, stately home on the water.

Adrienne is a 28 year old divorcee whose heart is guarded after her cardiologist husband cheats on her. She uses her divorce settlement to leave the hustle and bustle of Chicago and fulfill a major dream: purchase a home on the water in Florida. Adrienne spends her unemployed days fixing up the home, and she discovers a cache of old, WWII-era love letters in her attic. As the reader will soon find out, Adrienne is compelled by nosiness, ahem, curiousity, and she can’t rest until she finds out more about soldier William and his long lost love Gracie.

Adrienne strikes up a friendship with the elderly William, and she develops a friendly relationship with his handsome grandson Will. Adrienne wants to help William find true happiness after several disappointments, but grandson Will’s heart is on guard and he is suspicious of Adrienne’s good intentions. It isn’t long before the story is blooming two potential romances. Will both couples give in to true love in the end?

I enjoyed the prose. It flowed smoothly. The author, Heather Burch, is a born storyteller and her joy at spinning a tale is evident in the seamless plot and transitions. I thought William, also called Pops, was a splendid character, truly characteristic of what makes his generation so great. Incorporating the vintage letters into the novel made it all the more a pleasure to read. The language was mild, and while there was plenty of chemistry and sexual tension, the novel was not graphic or distasteful. The older I grow, the more I appreciate an author’s gift of conveying passion without writing trash. This book is appropriate for nearly all ages to read as a result of the author’s writing style.

The book was not without its flaws. As much as I rooted for Will’s and Adrienne’s romance, I walked away feeling that they wouldn’t make it five years as a married couple, much less fifty. Adrienne’s interference always makes Will angry, and the novel’s explanation of why he was such a brooding, reserved person didn’t satisfy me in the slightest. The novel touched on how he was protective of his Pops and how he was angry and hurt that his missionary parents spent more time on their work than him, but it in no way explained why he was such a stick-in-the-mud control freak. Also, I found myself questioning Adrienne’s relationship with her ex-husband and her generous divorce settlement. She was only 28, and he would have had to have been older to provide her with enough money to buy a grand house and fund unemployment. A lot of cardiologists are still in residency after their fellowships complete at this age, and so the plotline fell into the category of “nice fantasy” for me, at least financially. The backstory to the elder William’s failed romance was more or less hinted at. I felt it deserved more detail and was glossed over.

Now nit-picking complaints aside, I think One Lavender Ribbon is a sweet, charming romance that deserves a second look. I read it in only two days, despite my complaints, and while it veered on the predictable at times, it was a truly worthwhile novel. This is the kind of novel that you read poolside or curl up with under an afghan with a hot cup of spiced tea on a drizzly afternoon. Contemporary romance usually leaves me feeling that I wasted my time, but One Lavender Ribbon was a cut above the typical book in this genre. I thought the book was engaging enough that I will definitely read Heather Burch’s next romance novel.

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