23 June 2016

Review: A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell

Definitely Lives Up To Expectations

Amazon Description

Much-Loved Lawana Blackwell Delivers Another Charming Victorian-Era Tale

In difficult circumstances, Charlotte Ward, once a famed stage actress, tries to restart her career--only to experience disaster. Against her better judgment, her estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother's rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village.

Charlotte is grateful to get to know Rosalind after years apart. As one who has regrets about her own romantic past, it's a joy for Charlotte to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it's time away from teaching--and now she must care for the mother who wasn't there for her. And what could be more complicated than romance?

Together, mother and daughter discover that healing is best accomplished when they focus less on themselves and more on the needs of others.

My Review

It’s been years since I read a Lawana Blackwell novel, but I loved her Gresham Chronicles and am thrilled to report that Orchard Lane in Stilwell, Devon, has all the charm of Gresham, and the characters are just as engaging.

Charlotte has been successful professionally, but has not made good choices in terms of relationships. Despite these hardships, she has retained her Christian faith and the desire to reunite with her one child, daughter Rosalind.

Rosalind had a difficult upbringing but has finally found her place as a teacher in a famed school for girls, and doesn’t care for this forced reunion with her estranged mother. But both women come to appreciate the attributes of the other, and to reach out to those around them.

Lawana Blackwell has never written “typical” romances. She always has a combination of older and younger characters (although, as one character takes great pleasure in pointing out, even twenty-seven-year-old daughter Rosalind is rather too old to attract male attention. Blackwell also shows characters who prefer to live out their Christian faith rather than merely talking about it. Her heroines show grace and kindness despite the hardships they’ve overcome, and it’s great to read.

If there is an overall theme to A Haven on Orchard Lane, it’s marry in haste, repent at leisure, as so many of the marriage relationships are sour and controlling, a result of marrying for the wrong reasons. Or perhaps the theme is marry for character and love, not money and title—as seems to be the common factor in the sour relationships.

I hope this is the beginning of a new series—I'd like to read more about the inhabitants of Stilwell. Recommended for historical romance fans.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing an ebook for review.

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