Title: The Lost Year
Author: Libby Drew
Series: Secrets of Neverwood #3
Release Date: June 30th 2014
Age Group: Adult
Genre: M/M Romance
Devon McCade is no stranger to adversity. As a photojournalist, he’s seen all manner of human struggle. And as a kid, it’s what brought him to Neverwood, to his foster mother Audrey. It’s what he’s facing now, as he and his foster brothers work to restore the once-stately mansion amidst surprising signs from Audrey herself.
But when another anguished soul arrives at Neverwood, Devon can’t hide behind his camera. Nicholas Hardy is certain he saw his runaway son, Robbie, in a photo Devon took of homeless children. Devon knows all too well that a young teenager on the streets doesn’t have many options—and Robbie has been missing for a full year.
Searching for Robbie with Nicholas stirs memories and passions Devon had thought long lost, yet knowing that Nicholas will leave as soon as Robbie is found keeps him from opening himself up to something permanent. Devon must learn to fight for what he wants to keep—his love, and his home.
When I requested a review copy of The Lost Year on Netgalley I had no idea that it was the third book about Neverwood. However, the reason I ignored my usual book series OCD was that Calvin and Danny’s stories are written by separate authors and each book stands alone. Whilst Libby Drew does a fantastic job at filling in the Neverwood history for her reader, I also felt that I was missing the meaning behind certain interactions between the brothers and I now plan to read the three books together.
I honestly felt there was a slim chance that the three men would all be homosexual, yet this did not ruin my enjoyment of the novel in any way. If anything it added to my interest about the characters and their backgrounds.
In The Lost Year Libby Drew is able to balance the separate family dramas with the supernatural occurrences and the mystery of the house. I liked how the three plot threads came together, meaning that eventually the characters share deeper connections than before.
This book is Devon’s story, who is the self-confessed emotionally detached brother. He returns to Neverwood during its renovation, after a particularly hard assignment and his exhaustion is obvious. There is remaining tension between him, Calvin and Danny which is made worse when he agrees to help a stranger find his son. It is during this task and his emerging friendship with Nicholas that we watch a softer side of Devon surface and he begins to adjust to his new role as one of the Neverwood caretakers.
Although Libby Drew makes no attempt to disguise Devon’s initial attraction for Nicholas, their romance grows out of a need for comfort. Theirs is not an easy romance and the difficulties they face are namely Robbie, Calvin and Danny, yet this is a couple we long to see have their happy ending.
The fact that Audrey’s ghost has such an important part in this story did not unsettle me, in fact I think her presence adds to the change we see in Devon’s character. Not only does Audrey continue to protect her home and her sons, but she continues to have influence over Devon’s decisions and I think this is one of the reasons we see a turnaround in his self-esteem.
The Lost Year is a great story in which each character plays an important role and it is a book I would recommend to fans of M/M romances.