Books, Coffee, m/m, Reviews, Romance

[Book Review] One Door Closes By G.B. Lindsey & Barnes CoffeeKitchen Sweetheart Blend

One Door Closed By G.B. LindseyTitle: One Door Closes
Series: Secrets of Neverwood Book 1
Author: G.B. Lindsey
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: June 30th 2014
Page Count: 149 pages
Age Rating: Adult (explicit sexual scenes)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: One Door Closes

 Secrets of Neverwood Book One

Years ago, Calvin Ware found a refuge in Neverwood, a home for wayward boys. Now, following the death of his foster mother Audrey, he’s returned to fulfill her request to restore the decrepit Victorian mansion to its former purpose.

Under the threat of repossession, Cal clashes with his foster brothers over restoration plans while fending off the unscrupulous developer who is breathing down his neck. Audrey’s well-meaning presence in his dreams does more harm than good as he struggles to cope with it all. What’s more, the contractor he hires to get the building up to code turns out to be Will Cabot, his high school flame.

As they begin working together, Cal finds he still has feelings for his first love. But his mistakes of years ago threaten their future, just as they ruined their past, and Cal knows he can’t withstand the heartbreak a second time.

Three foster brothers are called home to Neverwood, the stately Pacific Northwest mansion of their youth. They have nothing in common but a promise to Audrey, the woman they all called mother…

Secrets of Neverwood is a multi-author trilogy; One Door Closes, The Growing Season and The Lost Year can be enjoyed either as a continuity or as standalones.

My Review

Secrets of Neverwood is a three book trilogy with each book following one of three foster brothers: Calvin, Danny, and Devon. The brothers, who vaguely remember and feel no brotherly love towards each other, come back to their old home when their foster mother Audrey dies, leaving her run-down family home, once a grand Victorian estate, to the three. The men run afoul of a deceptive developer who will do anything to get his hands on Neverwood and must learn to work together, trusting and opening up to each as brothers, to keep the house and carry on Audrey’s legacy of taking in gay or questioning youth who have nowhere else to go. Under the overarching storyline of keeping and bringing Neverwood back to its former glory, each book deals with the men discovering Audrey is still with them in spirit, coming to terms with personal demons, and finding love.

One Door Opens is Calvin’s story.  Calvin Ware is the kind of person whose mind just doesn’t stop. He’s constantly trying to get things done and often feels like the burden of responsibility wears heavy on his shoulders – not really understanding that he’s taken most of the burden on himself.  As the only of her foster children to have returned to visit and help Audrey after he aged out of the home, Calvin feels like it falls onto his shoulders to fix everything and carry on his foster mother’s legacy  – starting with bringing the old home up to code since the city and a shady developer named Angus are threatening to condemn and repossess the premises if it’s not.  When the contractor Cal hired shows up at his door to get the repairs done, Cal is taken back to realize it’s none other than his childhood sweetheart, Will Cabot, who still makes his palms sweat and stomach clench.  Already dealing with grief, an underhanded developer, and money woes, it just may be the bittersweet agony of being around his old flame that will be the tipping point for Cal.

Calvin’s mind is very cluttered and he never stops thinking, and over-thinking, and it shows in the prose, which almost has a stream of consciousness feeling at times. He takes so much on his self and the poor guy is just crushing himself with the pressure. Eventually he realizes he can lean on his brothers to ease some of the strain, but it takes him a very long time to do so.

The romance between Calvin and Will is not the burning kind, Calvin is too reluctant and self-contained for that.  It takes the two men a loooong time to make any ground when it comes to reconnecting emotionally and romantically. The rest of the plot resolves (with the developer and bro-bonding) before we really get to the romance portion of the book. It was no wonder Audrey’s spirit tried to butt in and give advice in the boys’ dreams to get the two moving, although she might have done more harm than good, especially when it came to poor Will who was looking sleep deprived and a little worse for wear as the story wore on.

This book felt long, which might have been because I was waiting for some movement in the romance department or because Calvin’s tendency to overthink and dwell in the past made the plot feel like it was inching forward. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book, but if someone’s looking for a quick read or something with action, this isn’t it. It’s a romance with a more literary quality to it. Even the intimate scenes, while kind of graphic, were treated with a soft focus filter, giving those moments a softer, hesitant quality that fit Calvin’s personality to a T.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a good start to an interesting series and did a great job of telling its own story while setting up and introducing the players for the series as a whole.

Calvin and Will were high school sweethearts until the day it became shockingly clear they weren’t in the same place when it came to their relationship. In One Door Closes, Cal and Will realize they can put the past behind them and move on to be sweethearts once again. In honor of the reuniting of these two sweethearts I’m recommending Barnes CoffeeKitchen Sweetheart Blend – it’s a romantic, medium roast that smells amazing and tastes of chocolate and cherries.

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