Title: The Lost Year
Series: Secrets of Neverwood Book 3
Author: Libby Drew
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: June 30th 2014
Page Count: 144 pages
Age Rating: Adult (explicit sexual scenes, language, and violence)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: The Lost Year
Secrets of Neverwood Book Three
Devon McCade is no stranger to adversity. As a photojournalist, he’s seen all manner of human struggle. And as a kid, it’s what brought him to Neverwood, to his foster mother Audrey. It’s what he’s facing now, as he and his foster brothers work to restore the once-stately mansion amidst surprising signs from Audrey herself.
But when another anguished soul arrives at Neverwood, Devon can’t hide behind his camera. Nicholas Hardy is certain he saw his runaway son, Robbie, in a photo Devon took of homeless children. Devon knows all too well that a young teenager on the streets doesn’t have many options—and Robbie has been missing for a full year.
Searching for Robbie with Nicholas stirs memories and passions Devon had thought long lost, yet knowing that Nicholas will leave as soon as Robbie is found keeps him from opening himself up to something permanent. Devon must learn to fight for what he wants to keep—his love, and his home.
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…
Devon McCade has been able to turn his inability, and unwillingness, to emotionally connect to others into a career as a photojournalist, where he can be safe from emotional attachment, protected as he is by the other side of the photo lens – or so he tells himself. When desperate father Nicholas Hardy sees his runaway son, Robbie, who’s been missing for a year, in one of Devon’s photos, he begs for help in locating him. Devon agrees and the two set out to find the missing boy. Along the way attraction leads to attachment and Devon fears his carefully crafted emotional shield won’t be able to protect him from Nicholas’s certain departure from his life once his help is no longer needed.
I found it quite interesting Devon kept thinking he was so detached and “emotionally handicapped”, when it was obvious how big a heart he truly had. He was not immune from the subjects of his assignments any more than he was immune to the anguish in a father’s eyes. Like his foster mother always knew, he has the heart of an adventuresome knight – wanting to seek out the truth and help others. And I worried for that unknowingly soft heart of his. When Nicholas and Devon first get together it feels more like comfort than any real attachment on Nicholas’s part. Nicholas’s first priority is his son, as it should be, but that means his focus is more on that relationship and not really on the budding romantic one he has with Devon.
This book is told completely through Devon’s perspective and I really felt for him the whole time, becoming emotionally invested in his journey to getting the guy. Audrey, the dearly departed foster mother, was also invested, helping in her own ghostly way – although how much of a nightmare would it be to have your mother, no matter how well-meaning or right she may be, meddling in your love life at any given moment, with no expectation of privacy? The addition of Audrey the helpful ghost mom was interesting and I liked the little paranormal touches to the story.
The Lost Year is the third book in the Secrets of Neverwood series. As with most books in a romance series, the book stands on its own, with couples from other books making appearances – in this instance it’s Devon’s two foster brothers, Calvin and Danny, who found love with their respective partners before him. I love romance series for this reason – so much love going around and being able to revisit characters from previous books and seeing them happily settled into domestic bliss.
After having greatly enjoyed this book and the characters within, I can’t wait to get my hands on the first two books in the series.
Between Devon’s distrustful foster brothers and the strain in the relationship between Nicholas and his son Robbie, not to mention the uncertainty present in the relationship between Devon and Nicholas and a relative of Audrey’s who can’t seem to get it through his thick head that she left the house and everything in it to her boys, tensions are running high at Neverwood. To bring on some mellowness and give everyone at least a moment of calm with every sip, I recommend Marley Coffee Simmer Down –a dark roast coffee with the comforting tastes of spice, nutmeg, and cocoa.