In Ever Hopeful by Lori Ryan, Laura is desperate to escape her abusive husband Patrick. Just as she is about to set her plans in motion...her salvation comes unexpectedly when Patrick dies. Laura soon realizes she is not free though, especially since she is pregnant with Patrick's child. Now it is not Patrick she fears, but his mother and brother. Patrick's rich and powerful mother and brother who will do everything
Frightened but determined, Laura finds help from an unexpected source. Josh, a Doctor who has treated Laura in the past, and tried to help her in the past, steps in when Laura feels trapped and becomes her savior. He sends Laura to May, a family friend and the ranch she runs with her sons in Ever, Texas. Laura is scared and emotionally scarred from an unhappy childhood and even worse marriage. She has a hard time settling in, feeling safe, and trusting anyone. She is scared to stay, the longer she stays the more she feels like part of Ever, Texas, and she doesn't want the wrath of her past hurting anyone else...especially May and her sons. But she is also scared to run.
Cade, May's son who works the ranch and also rescues animals, feels more for Laura the more he gets to know her. He knows she has secrets, but he is drawn to her anyway. Patient and caring, he makes Laura start to feel safe. Laura is feeling things she's never felt before either...and while it feels good, it also feels wrong. Definitely the wrong time in her life for any kind of attraction. Can she even think of taking a risk with Cade?
Patrick's rich and powerful mother will do everything she can to find Laura and the unborn child...Laura's past is haunting her. Will she try to outrun it before it catches up to her? Can she?
From the first page to the last, Lori Ryan pulls you right into Laura's story. You will feel Laura's emotions right along with her - from the heart bounding fear to the hope of safety and love at last. Laura has been through a lot in her young life, and she comes across as older and much more mature than her stated age. For all she has gone through between growing up and then marrying Patrick, she has come out surprisingly strong and determined. I love that in Laura! She does not dwell on what has happened, but what she can do to change things. She's scared, but she's not going to bow to pressure to do the wrong thing for her or her unborn baby. Laura is a very strong heroine in Ever Hopeful! Cade is easy to fall in love with. He seems to be able to read Laura right from the start. Even with the strong feelings he's developing for her, there's no pressure just patience and silent strength as he shows his support in numerous ways. He has a strong relationship with his family (and his animals!) and he is honest.
Lori's writing is so smooth and well paced that you will find Ever Hopeful a really enthralling, suspenseful, emotional and Hope-ful read. She sets the tone for Ever Hopeful early on and it all just flows from there! There are a few secondary characters that are quite dominant and some not so much...I felt like the character development was steady throughout Ever Hopeful, and some of them were surprising!
Ever Hopeful is a small town romance, one of those small towns that sticks together and protects their own...a place you'd really want to be. With suspense, romance and hope, Lori gives us a 5 star romance that I'd recommend to any romance reader! Ever Hopeful was a great, complete story, and I can't wait for what comes next in Ever, Texas!