Yes, I do read books that aren't set in Regency England! However, this was does have some bits from Word War II, so I'm still in the historical context.
I came across this book when my mother in law finished and asked if I wanted to take it with me. She said it was a little historical, with a bit of mystery mixed in, so I said why not. I'm so glad I did!
Jocelyn is surprised when Miss Edi's will is read, and she is the proud new owner of Edilean Manor. Having spent most of her life listening to Miss Edi's stories of her past, her love David, and her time in the war, she is anxious to see her new home. However, she arrives to a practically empty house, both wings rented out to tenants, and a mouthy, yet gorgeous gardener-Luke- that seems to know more about her and her circumstances than she does. Add to this Ramsey, a handsome lawyer, and competitive cousin to Luke, that Miss Edi mentioned in her letter as the perfect man for her, and Jocelyn is quite disheartened with her new home, minus the lawyer. Her tenants are lovely and one is quite eccentric, and make her feel somewhat welcome. Jocelyn discovers there are no real secrets in the town of Edilean, except the ones that Miss Edi left behind. She realizes that the woman who practically raised her was not who she thought she was, and had never been very forthcoming with her. Jocelyn is determined to find the story behind the manor and why Miss Edi kept things from her, only to learn much more than she bargained for.
As Jocelyn asks questions and researches the house, Ramsey finally comes clean and tells her there is no money for its upkeep. Shocked, this only motivates her to search harder for the truth behind Miss Edi. She is completely lost and heartbroken. This brings her closer to Luke, despite her picnics with Ramsey, and his attempts to win her. Luke's grandfather holds the key to the entire Miss Edi story, one that has been twisted over time and pieces lost. The grandfather was Miss Edi's former fiance, and the story goes that he left her when she went to war, but in reality, they mutually broke it off and went their separate ways. Luke and Jocelyn read a story that was written by Miss Edi years ago, which is missing pieces and very confusing to those not around in 1941. Jocelyn finally learns the truth about the house, Miss Edi, the entire town, and about Luke, but not without some angst and humor along the way. Pureed spinach cupcakes anyone? It finally comes out that the real man Miss Edi intended for Jocelyn is Luke, and not Ramsey. It seems like everything Miss Edi told her had a bit of a twist with it. But will Jocelyn find the romance she wants, or just another mystery?
Having never read a Jude Deveraux novel before, I was pleasantly surprised by the intriguing storyline. Lavender Morning is the first novel in the Edilean series, with Days of Gold, a romance set in 1766 being the second. I will definitely be reading the second in the series. The characters in Lavender Morning are well written, from the town that knows everything to the man who keeps his deepest secrets from her until the end. All in all, it's a great story and I can't wait to see what Deveraux has in store for the next installment.