The Sheltering Tree ~ J.R. Lawrie
I discovered JR Lawrie at Christmas in 2020, when someone recommended to me her collection of three stories called Let Your Heart Be Light. This collection was her authorial debut and I remember at the time wondering that if a novella could be so amazing, what could she do with a full novel, and simultaneously being extremely disappointed that there didn’t seem to be any further works available, or forthcoming, at that time.
Fast forward a few months and it was pure chance that went back to my review of Let Your Heart Be Light on Goodreads and discovered that this author did have a new book on the way, and that the release of The Sheltering Tree was less than a week away!
I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait for the weekend to read it! Before I go into any more detail I’ll just add that I initially picked up this book via Kindle Unlimited, but I knew, even before I got to 50%, that I was going to buy it. It was just that good!
OK, on to the more serious stuff…
In summary, The Sheltering Tree is a character driven romance with a bit of a suspense theme running through it. Jay Fieldhouse is in witness protection, and we learn that the person he is being protected from has been released from jail and skipped his parole. The most probable reason is so that he can track down Jay and exact his revenge. But who exactly is Jay Fieldhouse?
The story alone is interesting. A man in witness protection meets and commences a casual sexual relationship with the Commissioner of Police, all while becoming increasingly concerned that he’s been found and constantly looking over his shoulder. But what made this story stand out from dozens of equally good stories was the writing style.
The Sheltering Tree has a very lyrical writing style. It picks you up and sweeps you along, it’s a very relaxing technique that is actually very hard to accomplish. Over the years I’ve only found a handful of authors that can successfully manage it.
More than that though, The Sheltering Tree is a cerebrally sensual experience. This book has many sex scenes; however, for me, the heat factor was not a result of their explicit nature, but the intimacy between Jay and Alastair, expressed through their language and actions. It was an emotional seduction of the mind.
I’ve only come across a few authors over the years that can successfully write with this effect, but when it is done well, it’s an experience that can sometimes change you on some level, and at the very least, it’s one heck of a ride!
Having read the previous book by L.R. Lawrie, I expected to enjoy the experience. However, The Sheltering Tree met my initial expectations, and then threw them out the window. It went beyond anything I could have imagined. I am more than happy to admit that I’m fangirling at this point, but honestly, I haven’t read anything that evoked this type of feeling in years.
I really can’t recommend this one highly enough, it has a bit of everything. It has a suspense theme running through it that comes to a thrilling climax, but ultimately it is sensual and passionate character driven romance. It’s the type of book that just has to be experienced.