The Garden

Lavender Shores, Book 2
Narrated by: Kirt Graves
Series: Lavender Shores, Book 2
Length: 8 hrs and 23 mins
Categories: LGBT, Romance
4.7 out of 5 stars (87 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Beautiful Gilbert Bryant designs jewelry for the rich and famous, and he made his escape from his gossipy little hometown of Lavender Shores. However, with so many friends and family, he keeps getting pulled back. When he attends his best friend’s engagement party, Gilbert can’t help but sample one of the new men in town. It’s just some innocent—or not so innocent—fun. Nothing that will even cross his mind once he gets back to his everyday life.

Walden Thompson dreamed about living in Lavender Shores since he visited as a child. He finally gets his chance, and he embraces the opportunity to start over, to become someone new. He leaves both hurts and dangerous habits in the past, where they belong. When Gilbert crosses his path, Walden gives in to his baser instincts. He can indulge in the carnal pleasures this once and still be okay. Their few hours together haunt Gilbert, the two-hundred-mile buffer from home no longer shutting out the past or the sexy man he left behind. Walden is just beginning to recover from the smoldering encounter with Gilbert when they are thrust together once more. This time, neither of them can walk away, no matter how hard they try. But when their pasts crash into each other as surely as the magnetism that pulls them together, walking away may be the only option.

©2017 Wings of Ink Publications, LLC (P)2017 Wings of Ink Publications, LLC

What listeners say about The Garden

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

3.5 Stars

The Garden is about two men with troubled pasts who aren't looking for, but both desperately need, someone special in their lives. Ultimately this is a sweet romance featuring a hookup that becomes a friends with benefits thing to something more.

The dual POV works beautifully here. There's a lovely thread of hurt/comfort throughout, and while there's lots of sex, it's supported through the characters getting to know one another...sometimes even when putting themselves out there makes them uncomfortable.

There is some humor that helps lighten the angst, and a lot of passion and emotion to the story that I wish were highlighted more in the narration.

Kirt Graves delivers a more subdued reading with different character voices, but only mild embellishment in tone to highlight some of the humor or passion.

In my opinion I think this audio will appeal more to those who prefer to have less "performance" or "acting" in their audiobooks.

Bottom line, this is a sweet and angsty romance with some humor, lots of hot sexy times, and a pretty awesome HEA.

2 people found this helpful

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Hardcore sex mixed with sweet romance

It's unusual that a sweet romantic gay love story is combined with hardcore, kinky sex. I loved it. Such naughty, naughty boys bring the piquancy to a genre that can sometimes be a very predictable. The two beautifully created, charming, lovable, main characters overcome sad backgrounds by discovering that they are worthy of each others love. My twisted imagination was titillated by the unusual sexual taste of Gilbert and Walden. (Love the nerdy names) They certainly opened my eyes when they first discovered each other. I couldn't stop listening. Kirt Graves is a wonderfully calm narrator and never over acts. He gives just enough distinction to the different voices to easily know who's speaking.

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A Very Good Story with Excellent Narration

While I haven’t read ‘The Garden’ (Lavender Shores # 2) by Rosalind Abel, I have to believe this version is hands down the better way to experience an introduction to the Lavender Shores. In my mind at least, the credit for the audiobook being the better way to enjoy the Lavender Shores series belongs exclusively to Kirt Graves for his masterful narration. Without Mr. Graves, the story simply would have been one scene of angst and doubt, followed by one scene of sex, followed by another scene of angst and doubt, and yet another scene of sex until the main characters, Gilbert Bryant, a jewelry designer and Walden Thompson, a school teacher, finally decide enough is enough and it’s time for their own personal happy ending. Gilbert and Walden are actually wonderfully developed characters, each with his own painful past and each afraid to find true happiness with another man. Ultimately, though, as the narrator says, ‘The Garden’ is a story of love and acceptance.

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more complex than the first one.

It's review time 🎧 Narrator score🎧 ; Kirt is probably one of mine favorite narrator's ever. I don't have a bad word to say about his performance. Level of steam🔥: if tool it's time but it happened. and it was hot, sweet and completely incredible. it will be there but you will have to wait. Level of anxiety and sadness0😱😢: this book is more complicated than the first book in the series for sure. you had some sad moments and the slow realization and development of the MC could break your heart a little.... but it would be for the better eventually ....I don't think I cried per say but it was a bit sad The book itself📖: this book is definitely more complicated than the first one. I don't want to make any spoilers but you have some very complicated MC will a lot of self blame involved. the book is still on the same kinda funny place and with the same theme as the first one but it's definitely different. and I liked it a lot.

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Great audio!!

The Garden was a beautiful journey of love and acceptance. While not an instalove story it is definitely an instafeelings one. Both Gilbert and Walden have some serious issues from their pasts but together they find the acceptance they need to put the past behind them. Kirt Graves did a fantastic job with the narration of this story!!!

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Sweet and Poignant Second Chance Romance

Okay, is official ! I am hook, line and sinker 💖💜💚 The Garden is book 2 in the Lavender Shores series ; it tells the tale of Walton and Gilbert, two fractured and damaged souls; two individuals with a lot of emotional baggage and low self esteem . Two lovable and good men who deserve a second chance to love. A compelling , poignant and romantic story with lots of hot AF , sexually explicit , smutty sexy times . And just like book 1 , it have also a delightful fairytale , magical quality to it. Kirt Graves narration gave me all the feels. His emotional performance was well paced and natural. He transported me to Lavender Shores and Walton's magical garden. This series seem to be written in a continuous time line as Joel and Andrew story from book 1 continues in this book; as well as, the first families and the town people lives are all integral part of the overall story arc. My point on this is , books should be listen in chronological order. I enjoyed and was entertained by The Garden and I'm looking forward listening the next audiobook in the series.

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Two broken men find love.

When you’ve been broken by life and feel unworthy of love finding a soul mate is unimaginable. Watching these two beautiful men fight their attraction until gradually lowering their walls made for a wonderful journey. Kirt Graves is a superb voice actor who bought these gorgeous men and their friends and family to life. A thoroughly enjoyable listen. Highly recommended. Special mention goes out to the cover artist. The cover models were simple perfect for the characters!

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Moving hurt/comfort story. Brilliant narration.

Overall: Very emotional hurt/comfort story that gives you all the feels. Even more so thanks to the wonderful narration, which really adds an extra layer of intensity to an already deeply moving romance story. Blissfully satisfying HEA. Story: Local manwhore meets & corrupts innocent new teacher. That’s how Gilbert, and the local busybodies, first perceive what happens between him and the cute teacher with the adorable red glasses. But of course, there’s so much more to this story… I loved that Walden saw through Gilbert’s carefree, love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude to the wounded bird hiding beneath all that. The Gilbert we meet in the first chapter, desperate to keep his vulnerable heart safe, seems miles removed from the man that falls in love with Walden. Gilbert really is the perfect human embodiment of Walden’s secret garden, a hidden, closed-off wilderness just waiting for a loving hand to help him blossom once more. I absolutely loved that analogy. I also adored all the references to beloved children’s classics like The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables, Disney even. It made me like Walden even more. He can no more stop himself from falling in love with his Gilbert, then Anne with an e could keep herself from loving hers. There’s no bickering, however, between Gilbert and Walden, like there is between the happy couple in the Anne of Green Gables series. Walden and Gilbert are careful with the other’s emotions from pretty early on, and whatever hurt they feel is more due to their own painful histories and an understandable hesitance to risk heartbreak again. They are so great together, providing the comfort and acceptance that each man so desperately needs, even when they are trying to hold back. So scared of being hurt again. Walden has suffered a horrible betrayal, and still carries a lot of shame with him for how he dealt with his pain in the aftermath. Him opening up to Gilbert about his past made for a deeply touching scene. My heart ached for him. We know from early on that Gilbert has been in therapy for years, so we know something awful is hiding in his past to leave such scars. But oh… when that revelation finally comes… I wanted to punch something. I hated that he took on all the responsibility for “his” wrongdoing , when in fact it was he who’d been wronged, not to mention betrayed by a person who should have looked out for him. I felt relieved and almost giddy when they finally felt free to truly choose each other, and to choose happiness together. Not a moment too soon and very much deserved. What an amazing couple, sigh. Talk about a book-hangover. Narration: Kirt Graves did an outstanding job at narrating this story, making me feel as if I stepped right into the lovely world of Lavender Shores. He has a wonderfully pleasant voice and I loved how he brought alive the characters. I think he did absolutely amazing in giving a voice to Walden and Gilbert. Luckily no over-acting, but bringing just the right amount of emotion and tension to each scene.

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4 star book with 5 star narration!

Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted both the ebook and audio file of this book.


This is book two in the series, but can be read as a stand alone. Andrew and Joel from book one take part here, and I loved that, but you don't need their story to follow this one.


Gilbert is in town for Andrew and Joel's engagement party. He fins solace in Walden, the man who catches his eye at the gym. But it will only ever be sex for Gilbert, right? He doesn't do relationships. Neither does Walden, but it creeps up on them both and neither wants to walk, or commit. But they both have a dark past. Can they overcome that??


I said in my review for book one, The Palisade, that I was looking forward to Gilbert's story, and I was not disappointed.


His past, the one he ran from town for, smacks him in the face every time he comes back to town. And he hates being in Lavender Shores for that reason. But he won't let Andrew, his best friend, down. Meeting Walden, and then discovering his profession, and then Gilbert STILL not being able to walk away, is a shock to his system. Walden's past has a darker undertone and one that could well have been a deal breaker but Gilbert is like...and??


I loved how both men fought hard against their feelings! Loved that they battled with their innermost desires and insecurities. Loved that they were able to overcome it all.


Again written in the first person, from both men. Because I KNEW this going in, I was aware and able to set my mind in the right place, cos lord knows, I say it often enough that i don't like first person books!! But because I KNEW that, I really did enjoy it. And you do get a better sense of the person in the first. Not sure I would have got it all from a third person book. huh. Check me out! Might actually be getting over it!


I've filed this on the Over 18 shelf, because there are some darker undertones, and some might find them difficult to read. Nothing is described in great detail, but you are told about them.


I have book three, The Veranda, to read shortly. That is Donovan's book, Gilbert's therapist. I loved their interaction here. I look forward to getting into Donovan's mind!


Creeping up to 4 stars


Audio Review


Kirt Graves continues to narrate this series. And he is growing on me!

He manages to get across things that I miss when reading, the depth of his emotions is powerful and comes across amazingly well. I do find, more and more, I'm enjoying LISTENING to first person books, and that can only be because of the outstanding narration of those books.


Graves voices for Gilbert and Walden are just what I heard in my head (do you do that? hear people talking in your head when you are reading?? ) when I read this book. When Joel and Andrew pop up, the voices are consistent from The Palisade. I had no trouble keeping up with multi person conversations.


When Walden tells Gilbert what he did, Graves manages to pull out all the stops and I cried at that bit! I knew it was coming, of course, but I wasn't prepared for it, actually hearing it in Walden's voice.


I cannot wait to see what Graves does with Donovan and Spencer (book3) but I'm especially keen to get my hands on Lamont and Tyler's story (book4)


4 stars for the book
5 stars for the narration
4.5 stars overall


**same worded review will appear elsewhere**

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Story was excellent, narrator was not

This was my first Lavender Shores novel. It was just the right amount of intrigue and sexy steaminess. Right when you thought the story would end, a new twist would appear. Five stars for story and I will definitely be checking out another on the series. Three stars for narration. I listen to a lot of audio books and this narrator blew out my speakers with weird tones of bassiness. Also, it was confusing to tell which character he was being and his voice was not at all how I imagined the characters. I think the quality of the recording also had something to do with it.

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  • AnnA
  • 01-13-18

Awesome

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Garden?

Having previously read the book, Kirt translates it verbally bringing the characters to life just how I imagined them to be.

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  • Pat Johnson
  • 04-16-19

What an amazing audiobook.

Beautiful amazing I don’t think I stopped smiling the whole through. I loved everything the written words the spoken words - thank you 😊 Rosalind Able and Kirt Graves .