Review: Secrets of Neverwood Anthology

Three men with vastly different lives are called home to Neverwood, the stately Pacific Northwest mansion of their youth. The one thing they share is a promise to Audrey, the woman they all called mother—that upon her death, they would restore the house and preserve it as a home for troubled boys. 

But going home is never easy.

Cal struggles to recover from past heartbreak, while Danny fears his mistakes are too big to overcome. Devon believes he may never break down the barriers that separate him from honest emotion. And a benevolent spirit lingers in Neverwood's halls, intent on guiding her foster sons away from the mistakes of their youth and toward true love.

 On the path to brotherhood, they discover the old mansion holds more than dusty furniture and secret passageways. An old mystery stirs up a new danger, one that could cost the men far more than just the house.

My feelings were all over the place with these stories,  irritated, bored, angry, sad, happy, amused, intrigued.  My rating would swing from two hearts to five and back again, with stops at three and four hearts along the way.  Overall, though,  I cared about the characters, and I liked the storyline that connected the individual books.

One Door Closes by GB Leighton       3 hearts
The mood of the story is nostalgic, with a hint of melancholy.  It felt almost hazy, or dreamlike. There were some beautiful instances of showing, not telling, but they were mixed with confusing sentences I had to read a few times to determine the meaning.  That, plus a few odd word choices, threw me off several times in the story.

Calvin was a difficult narrator to understand, and to connect with. He wasn't very likeable, with words like annoyed, resentful and bitter associated with him.  He came across as self absorbed and petulant with illogical reactions.   He complained about people not helping, but didn't tell them what was needed or ask for help. Even with all that,  I ached for him.  He had so many problems and he was clueless how to solve them.

Calvin's POV didn't give me a good feel for the other characters, so I didn't connect with them, either.  There were some hints about Will, Devon and Danny through some nice examples of showing, but it wasn't enough.

Parts of the story dragged and I was irritated with the lack of communication between the brothers.  With the time crunch, they should have had a plan of action right away.  Between the miscommunication and Calvin's secrets, there was too much unnecessary angst. And that doesn't even cover the lack of romance. Nothing happened for too long, and then things happened so fast, and with no communication, that I wondered if I'd missed something.

Finally, though, some communication, some explanations, and I started to warm up to Calvin.  He had so many issues, but, underneath it all, he had such a good heart.  And Will, with his own feelings of regret and shame; I wanted to hug him so much. Unfortunately, just as I was enjoying the story, it ended.  Luckily, there was another story to read.

The Growing Season by Diana Copland       3.5 hearts
I really liked Danny.  The more I learned about him, the more I wanted to hug him, too.  So many fears, and hopes.  So many emotions he struggled to contain.

Sam and I got off to a rocky start.  I thought he was kind of a jerk, and then he did a 180 that seemed out of character.  The more I learned about him, though, the more I realized it was very much in character.  He was dealing with his own problems, but he was such a sweetheart.  And very sexy; oh, yeah, he and Danny shared some steamy moments.  Those moments, plus the sweet, romantic ones, made the story for me.  Oh, and they communicated!  I loved that.

The storyline from the first book continued here, with more information about Audrey, the house, and the town.  It wasn't especially complex, but I liked it.  I really liked Audrey's presence in this story, and the way she helped Danny. There were a few odd word choices, sentences, and some proofreading errors, but not enough to bother me overly much.

Side notes: I liked Cal so much more in this story.  Settling down with Will did wonders for his personality.  And Will?  Another sweetheart for me to love.  Devon's personality also came through a bit more and I looked forward to his story.

In an earlier post about Neverwood, Diana mentioned writing a story about one of the youth mentioned in this book; I'll be watching for it.

The Lost Year by Libby Drew       3.5 hearts
Devon was awesome.  I loved the man he was and the work he did.  I also liked his kink- his reaction to it was cute and his brothers' response to it provided a laugh out loud moment.

Nicholas was driven, so determined to find his son, and his exhaustion was clear, but even in his pain, he showed a sweetness that drew me in.  He was a little clueless, but some of that was understandable.  I really liked them as a couple, and the sexy times...holy crap, the sexy times...*hums in appreciation*

Most of this book centered around Nicholas and his son, and not much time was spent on the Neverwood mystery.  Not until the end, at least, and then it wrapped up fairly quickly. The very end was great, and I would love another story following that up.

There were some editing issues but I was able to skip over them, anxious for more of the story.


An enjoyable collection of stories with an interesting storyline and engaging characters. I'd like to read more if the authors write stories about the other characters.

*Even though the three stories in this anthology are sold separately as stand alone books, I recommend reading all three for the complete story that weaves through the anthology.

Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Find more info on BookLikes and Goodreads

No comments:

Post a Comment