Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Newly turned thirty, Cameron North is preparing himself to spend his life alone. When he inherits his great-aunt’s teashop on the remote island of Farlough, he returns for the first time in more than a dozen years to a place where memories—and demons—flit close to the surface of his mind. There he meets Gwyneth, a sassy barista who becomes his instant best friend—until Cam discovers she’s the wife of his first love, Matthias. She has only the best of intentions when she arranges a reunion between the two men, and it forces them to finally discuss why Cam left the island so long ago.
With his heart broken anew, Cam retreats to his great-aunt’s house—where he learns he is not alone. Someone—or something—has pledged an oath to look out for Cam, and as he investigates the presence, he uncovers wounds that both he and his mysterious guardian sought to escape by coming to Farlough. Now Cam must figure out how to heal them—and himself.
Oh, that synopsis….what a teaser! I had no idea which way this story was going to go, there was even a hint that there might be an element of the supernatural here but no. It’s simply a wonderful contemporary romance about putting the past to rest, finding out who you really are and coming home.
I absolutely need to contact Xavier Mayne to see if Farlough is real. He made it so for me, it came alive on these pages. I wanted to meet these people and come for the Solstice celebrations (not that it was for outsiders). I wanted to ride the Ferry and meet everyone that lived, laughed and loved so well on this amazing island. From the librarian to the Misters at the Tea Room and so many others, this place had my heart soon after I arrived along with Cam.
Cameron North, what a journey the author placed him on. From lonely orphaned boy to lonely man (by choice), it’s not until he returns to Farlough that he’s able to make himself (along with another) whole again. I won’t go into spoilers here but every time I thought the author might take a wrong zag with the storyline here, Mayne came through. The relationship dynamics here are beautifully done, handled with adult care and sympathy. I’m talking about Gwyneth (a wonderful character and powerhouse), Matthias, Cam’s first and only love and Gwyn’s loving husband. This entire element is just so well done. Plus did I say how much I love Gwyneth and family? Why, yes I do! Duck included.
I should also mention Cam’s Aunt. Although, physically missing from the story, the way in which the author has written it and her, she is as big a presence here as any of the characters and the island itself. I felt as if I knew her too. And mourned her loss along with everyone else. That’s wonderful writing.
The other mystery person, the one left with the duty of Cam’s guardian? I liked him too. This is the only place where I wish there had been a little more “time” or length to let me get a real depth of feeling from these two. I did get it later in the story but not in the beginning where it said it began. That’s my only quibble here. Everything else is outstanding from the Misters (I couldn’t get enough of them, so adorable) to Ari, who is such a sparkling, snarky bird that he needs his own story. I hope Mayne is listening.
Need a new contemporary romance? Here’s one I absolutely recommend! Farlough by Xavier Mayne! And if you’re listening, Xavier, contact me and let me know if Farlough is real or not. Maybe I should just let it go.
Cover Artist: Reese Dante. That cover is perfect for the story in every way. I love it.
ebook, 250 pages
Published May 22nd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635334691 (ISBN13: 9781635334692)