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Forever After by Deborah Raney:  Book Review by Loraine Nunley

Synopsis from the back of the book:

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?

My review:

Lucas and Jenna are drawn to each other but they both struggle with that attraction since they are connected by Jenna’s husband and Lucas’ best friend. It is an interesting story because you wonder how you they will reconcile that struggle. Will Jenna overcome her guilt of loving someone else when she really didn’t love her husband? Will Lucas overcome his guilt of loving his best friends wife? I really like the way that this author makes the characters in this story so real. They struggle with the same things that we all struggle with. They are not perfect which makes them completely relatable. At the same time, there is a strength of faith that some of them have that makes me want to work on strengthening my faith as well.

Jenna is overcome with grief and guilt with the whole situation surrounding her husband’s death. At the same time, she struggles with her feelings of inadequacy that stem from her childhood. I liked her very much because those same struggles could have made her unable to move forward and grow, but she was able to do just that in this book.

Lucas had a different struggle because of his physical condition after the fire. His fierce loyalty to friends and family was appealing even though it made his life difficult in dealing with God’s change in his plans. I loved that he was able to overcome this struggle with his faith stronger than before, as well as help Jenna discover her faith.

What I enjoyed most about this book:

This book was not as emotionally intense for me as the first one in this series, which I am not sure I would have been able to handle since I jumped into reading this one right after that one. Having said that, Jenna and Lucas’ story still had me turning the pages and coming back to find out how they would deal with their issues.

What I didn’t like about this book:

I can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about this book.

My rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes. The characters are real, the struggles are easy to relate to and I just really rooted for Jenna and Lucas to overcome. While this can be read as a standalone book, if you will be reading the other books in the series, you really should do them in order to follow the other characters. This is the second book in the Hanover Falls.

Where can I learn more about this author and their books?

Deborah Raney Author website

Share this with others so we can support these wonderful authors.

-Loraine Nunley

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