Monday, June 27, 2011
Book Review: Forever After by Deborah Raney/5 Stars!!
A fire killed his best friend and his lifelong dream of being a firefighter. The same fire killed her husband and hopes for a family. Can new dreams replace old?
Lucas Vermontez was a proud firefighter like his father. Now, not only has he lost his father and his best friend, Zach, in the fire at the Grove Street homeless shelter, but the devoted rookie can no longer do the work he loves after being crippled in the tragic event. When friendship with his buddy’s beautiful widow turns into more, he wonders, what could he possibly offer Jenna?
Jenna Morgan is trying to grieve her husband’s death like a proper widow, but the truth is, she never really loved Zach. His death feels more like a relief to her. But that relief is short-lived when she loses her home and the financial support of her in-laws. Now the secrets of her past threaten to destroy her future.
Can the two forget the painful past and discover new reasons to live and love?
I feel like I'm gonna sound like a broken record here, but Deborah Raney gets better with every single book she writes! Seriously! I said this very same thing for her last book, Almost Forever, and not to take anything away from that book (because it's equally as good), but Deborah has taken her writing to a whole other level with this newest book, Forever After.
I knew I would be in for another sad story because this was a continuation of the events surrounding the fire in book 1. A lot of the same characters from book 1 are featured in this story, but it mostly focused on some new ones--Lucas and Jenna--who were drawn to one another partially because of their grief. Lucas was injured in the fire that happened one year ago, and is still trying to recover from his injuries. Jenna's husband was lost to the fire, and she's left with in-laws who are too concerned about their societal image. How both of these wounded individuals overcame their sadness and grief was nothing short of incredible...thanks to the masterful writing of Deborah Raney.
I was surprised how much I identified with Jenna. She had a past similar to mine (although loving parents was a major difference), and a present situation with her in-laws that I've experienced as well. I admired her courage to stand up to them, and not let them dictate her life...although it did come with some harsh consequences. She matured so much throughout the course of the story, and was a better person for it once she was able to stand on her own two feet.
What I was impressed with the most was Deborah's note at the back of the book. It's no secret that our economy is drastically different now than ever before, and it affects all of us in one way or another. She took her own personal, financial struggles, and wove them into the fabric of this story. Being short on cash or not being able to pay a bill on time is something that most of us have had to deal with at some point in time. But it's how we handle those moments that shape our character, and that lesson was portrayed beautifully through Jenna's character in this book.
As far as I'm concerned, the conclusion for this series cannot come soon enough! I have not even scratched the surface about all the good qualities that this series, and particularly this book, has to offer. Bravo, Deb, for getting me attached to these wonderfully realistic characters that I now feel like I know personally. :o)
**Many thanks to Howard Books and Glass Road PR for providing a copy for review.
**Check out my interview with Deb here where she is featured on my first ever Southern-Style Meet & Greet!