Love and Lavender Summary
Hazel Stillman is a woman of rare independence and limited opportunities. Born with a clubbed foot, she was sent away as a child and, knowing her disability means a marriage is unlikely, she devoted herself to scholarship and education.
Now working as a teacher in an elite private girls’ school, she is content with the way her story has unfolded. When her uncle Elliott Mayfield presents her with the prospect of a substantial inheritance if she marries, Hazel is offended. What kind of decent man would marry for her money? Besides, she loves her freedom as a professional, respected woman. When she hears rumors of the school possibly being sold, however, she knows she must consider all her options.
Duncan Penhale has a brilliant mind and thrives on order and process. He does not expect to marry because he likes his solitary life, shared only with his beloved cat. When Elliott Mayfield, his guardian’s brother, presents him with an inheritance if he marries a woman of social standing, Duncan finds it intrusive. However, with the inheritance, he could purchase the building in which he works and run his own firm. It would take an impressive and intellectual woman to understand and love him, quirks and all.
Hazel and Duncan believe they have found a solution to both of their problems: marry one another, receive their inheritances, and then part ways to enjoy their individual paths. But when Uncle Mayfield stipulates that they must live together as husband and wife for one year before receiving their inheritances, Hazel and Duncan reluctantly agree. Over time, their marriage of convenience becomes much more appealing than they had expected. At the end of the full year, will they go their separate ways or could an unlikely marriage have found unsuspecting love?
Love and Lavender Review
Love and Lavender is the fourth in Josi S. Kilpack’s Mayfield Family Romance series. While each of these are stand-alone novels, they include recurring characters and family members, giving a sense of continuity and familiarity to the books.
This storyline is a little different from her earlier ones. While this story, like its predecessors, involves Elliot Mayfield trying to help his family members find happiness in proper marriages, Love and Lavender follows an unexpected twist. Hazel Stillman, Elliott’s niece, has a disability she believes makes her unmarriageable.
And Duncan, likewise, does not expect to marry. While he is a brilliant man, he has some quirks that make social interaction differently. As we come to know him in the story, we realize that today we would likely diagnose him as having autism.
Most of the story centers around their year of marriage, and them learning to adapt to one another. Ms. Kilpack’s writing helps us see through new eyes. What others may view as irritants and oddities, love helps us to view as a different way of living.
One of my favorite parts of the story was when Duncan recognized that Hazel’s disability could be lessened considerably with better made boots, and found her a shoemaker with the skills to create just what she needed.
I also enjoyed that we watched both Duncan and Hazel navigate from a life of strictly professional relationships, to having social relationships as well, and how they, and especially Hazel, kept their independence along with dreams and aspirations as they spent time together.
About the Author
Josi S. Kilpack is the author of twenty-five novels-including the twelve-book Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series-one cookbook, and has been part of several coauthored projects and anthologies. She is a two time Whitney award-winner (Sheep’s Clothing in 2007 and Wedding Cake in 2014) and the Utah Best in State winner for fiction in 2012. She and her husband, Lee, are the parents of four children and live in Utah.
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