Saturday, October 31, 2015

Review: Forever This Time (Echo Lake #1) by Maggie McGinnis

Book Blurb:

Forever This Time is the story of Josie Kendrew, who returns to her tiny Vermont hometown after ten years' absence when her father has a stroke, and Ethan Miller, her jilted high school sweetheart, who's taken her place as the CFO of the Kendrew family business: running Snowflake Village—a "Santa's Village"—style amusement park.

Josie, now a successful therapist with a Boston practice, isn't sure how she feels about being back in Echo Lake. In some ways, things have changed a lot; Ethan's got an MBA, seems to have something going with Molly, her childhood best friend, and he even owns the beautiful Victorian they'd always talked about buying together. But in other ways, the place is exactly the same, with reminders of the heartbreak that drove Josie away lurking around every corner. When Josie's "Little Sister" Avery died of cancer at the age of ten, the grief nearly destroyed her, and ultimately inspired her choice of career. It also caused a hurt so deep she knew she couldn't stay in Echo Lake, surrounded by memories. And she's not going to stay now; as soon as her dad's health improves, she's headed right back to Boston, to her therapy practice and her quiet apartment. To her lonely, safe life.

As for Ethan, he's not all that pleased to see the woman he once loved. It took a long time to pick up the pieces Josie left behind, he's proud of the work he's done to bring Snowflake Village into the 21st century, and he's worried that if Josie finds out about his project to honor Avery's memory, she'll get the wrong idea. He's not planning to make it easy for Josie to come back, and he's not going to pretend that all is forgiven. They can't just pick up where they left off… right?

My Review:

Forever This Time by Maggie McGinnis is a second chance story that will grab your heart tight!  

Josie left Echo Park, and all the memories there, ten year ago.  She basically cut all ties with her family and friends to start a new life in Boston.  When her father suffers a stroke, Josie finds herself back in Echo Lake, surrounded by everything she tried so hard to leave behind.   If she looks hard enough though, she'll see that nothing really stays the same...

Ethan is the man who was her first love, her first everything.  He is the man who's heart she broke when she left, the man who has never really gotten over her.  And try as he might, when Josie reappears in his life, he can't ignore the feelings that still linger.

Josie is packing a lot of emotional baggage and some bitterness, but I admired her because she came back to a place where she couldn't be sure of her welcome.  A place that holds a lot of bad memories for her.  But all the memories are not bad, and the longer Josie is in Echo Park, the more she sees how people and things have both stayed the same, and yet changed at the same time.  Her feelings for Ethan have definitely not changed.  At an emotional time in her life, Josie is not sure what her future will hold now.  It took me a while to understand everything that was going on in Josie's mind and what drove her away, but I liked her.  I liked that she still cared enough for her family to come back to a place she claimed to hate, and she didn't hide while she was there.  She didn't push her way into anything or at anyone, but she stood her ground and did what she could.  She is determined and strong, despite the inner conflict she is experiencing.  It was a fulfilling journey to go on with Josie as she came to terms with her past, her present, and her future.  I really liked Ethan.  He could have been a lot meaner to Josie than making her dress up in costumes for Snowflake Village, but he understands more than she thinks he does, and he really cares.  I could really feel this through out Forever This Time.   It is not an easy road Josie and Ethan find themselves on, and the obstacles they have to deal with and overcome made them believable.   Their actions and feelings made them real.

I liked the dual third person POV in Forever This Time.  Written this way, I felt like I could really get into the characters heads and be part of their lives.

There are great secondary characters in Forever This Time who were all part of Josie's past as well.  Some still harbor ill feelings and hurt where she is concerned, others are much more supportive.  I liked how all of the characters evolved and grew through this story.  They all had something relevant to contribute, making the plot multi dimensional and very interesting.

I loved seeing Josie discover how much has changed since she's been gone, and the struggle she has to accept that it is real, to trust again.  It made me feel hopeful and good that she was trying to do this.  Josie gets a second chance at love and so much more...will she take the chance though?

Filled with emotion, family dynamics and relationship challenges, there is enough chemistry between Josie and Ethan to make things hot without having to go into explicit detail.  This works perfect for this story.  The pace is great and the pages flew by.  I'd recommend Forever This Time to any romance reader!

4/5 stars

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