The Garden is he second book in the Lavender Shores series and I admit to not having read or listened to the first book in the series. The book could be seen as a stand-alone, so I thought I’d give it a try. Plus I love to listen to audiobooks.
Going into the book, I doubted a little if I’d like it for the first 30% of the story. I liked neither of the main characters: Gilbert or Walden. I thought Gilbert was an arrogant, stuck-up ass and Walden a bit of a whiny wimp. It didn’t help that the story almost immediately started with a sex scene straight out of a porn movie that was – for me – a little over the top. However, if you stick with the story after that, it gets a lot of better and I really liked the second part of the story.
Why? Well, that is when you get to learn Gilbert and Walden a bit better. Both men have a bit of an intense history that explains why they are the way they are. There is more than we initially see about these men and I liked them a lot better by the end of the story. The Garden is a story where you can see characters undergo a visible change in the story. They grow and evolve.
The plot of the story was not rocket science but neither was it boring. It focuses on Gilbert and Walden, the slow buildup of their relationship, the misconceptions most of the town sees to have about them because of their pasts. We also visit characters from the previous story. In a way this story has some qualities of a soap opera. The town, the people, the drama. But I liked how it was done.
Part of what kept me listening initially to this story was narrator Kirt Graves. He’s a new to me narrator, but I really really liked how he narrates a story. He makes the listener part of the story instead of just telling/reading the story. He gives all characters their own voice in the story. With a subtle voice and quiet nuances he brings the story to life and made me like the story much more than when I’d only read the book.