Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Years ago, Calvin Ware was one of many of the foster children that Audrey Elizabeth Rasmussen brought into her home, Neverwood, to shelter, comfort and raise. Following the death of his foster mom, Calvin has returned home to Neverwood to try and save the house and continue his mother’s mission to give shelter to those children most in need of a home and compassion. However, it’s not just Calvin to whom she has left the house but two other foster sons as well. Devon McCade, Calvin Ware and Daniel Redmond each held a special place in Audrey’s heart and now its up to them to save the house they were raised in and honor their mother.
But the house is mortgaged up to the rotting roof and a ruthless builder is giving them only a short amount of time to come up with the money needed to restore the mansion or have it repossessed and condemned for development. Calvin, Devon and Daniel haven’t seen each other in years as each went their own way after turning 18. Only Calvin remained close and in touch with Audrey. That reality, plus resentment and the fact that they can’t agree on the restorations needed is keeping them divided and the house in danger of falling down around them.
All the boys have secrets between them and one of Calvin’s turns up on Neverwood’s doorstep as a contractor looking to help restore the mansion. Will Cabot, Calvin’s high school crush, remained behind in town and is now an accomplished contractor. Will offers to work on the mansion to restore it but Will and Calvin’s past is acting as a barrier to any new relationship between them. Old secrets must come forth before any of the boys can move forward towards happiness, love and a new chance for the home they call Neverwood.
One Door Closes is the first book in a Secrets of Neverwood trilogy written by 3 different authors. Available individually or as a complete collection, the trilogy is focused on three foster brothers, Devon McCade, Calvin Ware and Daniel Redmond, who were brought to Neverwood by Audrey Rasmussen to live until their 18th birthday. Upon her death, the three men learn their foster mother has left them the house equally and now must work together to restore Neverwood and continue her mission of sheltering unwanted children. One Door Closes by G. B. Lindsey is Calvin Ware’s story.
I love the idea behind the Neverwood stories. The trilogy plot of three foster brothers, each with their own closely held secrets, is an engrossing concept, one that is easy to connect with. None of the brothers were particularly close when they lived at Neverwood and only Calvin appears to have remained in touch with Audrey after leaving foster care. Told from Calvin’s perspective, you get the viewpoint of the child he was when he arrived at Neverwood and that of the returning, grieving adult. Calvin is a man on overload. Burdened by secrets from his past that he has never dealt with as well as some closely guarded issues in adulthood, Calvin is suffering from a combination of guilt, resentment towards his two other foster brothers, pressure from an unscrupulous developer and mired in a financial quagmire left by Audrey’s estate. The impact of all those problems upon Calvin weighs as heavily on the reader as it does on the character due to the beautifully scripted moments that highlight scene after scene.
Lindsey has filled her story full of poignant characters and unresolved issues that stem from childhood angst and trauma. This is a story full of grey, a matter of muted tonality and shading instead of darkness and light. It feels realistically written with scenes and plot lines that radiate authenticity and a certain amount of desperation due to the situation Calvin and his brothers find themselves in and the chilling nature of their backgrounds that brought them to Neverwood. However, instead of the drama and high impact one might expect from such a storyline and the anticipated revelations that comes from long buried secrets, the grey scale of the narrative continues throughout the story. Its as it the very vivacity of life has been removed under the burdens they all carry and even the secrets uncovered make a much smaller impression upon the reader than they should.
I appreciated G.B. Lindsey’s approach to her story and the well-rounded characterizations that include many human frailties as well as a certain hopefulness as well as the ability to forgive and be compassionate. Calvin’s battle to overcome a shared event from his past as well as his quiet, loving regard for Audrey make Calvin a most admirable character. But, as with real life, it takes a while to pull up some of the issues that are alluded to continually in the story. That dragged out admission as well as others bogged down the narrative making it painfully slow at parts and almost at a standstill at others. How well you deal with this type of slow reveal and tempered be calmed storytelling will impact your enjoyment of this story.
I intend to read all three novellas that make up the Neverwood trilogy and I can’t wait to see how each author handles the remaining brothers stories. It should be exciting and informative. If you are looking for a romance, then this might not be the story for you. There is a halting relationship here but its buried under layers and only emerges at the very end. But as a marvelous character study and to appreciate an author’s well crafted approach to her story, then I recommend One Door Closes to you.
Cover art not credited.
Books in the Neverwood Trilogy include:
One Door Closes (Secrets of Neverwood #1) by G.B. Lindsey
The Growing Season (Secrets of Neverwood, #2) by Diana Copland
The Lost Year (Secrets of Neverwood, #3) by Libby Drew
Secrets of Neverwood Collection by Libby Drew
Kindle Edition, 149 pages
Published June 30th 2014 by Carina Press
seriesSecrets of Neverwood