|My Unexpected Forever by Heidi McLaughlin|
September 2, 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary
(contains mature language, sexual content)
Source: Personal purchase
I expected a life of music.My Review:
I expected to raise my son.
It took one look to make everything change.
I never expected happiness.
I never expected to find her.
I never expected to feel desire.
I never expected I’d be a family man.
I never expected to be loved.
I never expected to fall in love.
They say you should expect the unexpected, I didn’t realize my unexpected would be the forever kind.
This is the second book in the Beaumont series, and while some may consider it a standalone, I don't. There is much that happens in the first book that sets this story up. Without that set up, you will be missing some essential history. But I loved Forever My Girl (my review here), so it is completely worth the reading ahead of time. I also enjoyed My Everything (my review here), and while it isn't required reading, it has a nice tie in to the series.
With that said, My Unexpected Forever is a beautiful story about second chances. Here Katelyn's story continues from FMG, which at the beginning her husband (and high school sweetheart) dies unexpectedly, leaving her a widow with twin young daughters. At the end of FMG, we are introduced to Harrison, Liam's band mate and drummer. We felt the connection between Katelyn and Harrison when they met, but to say it was an inappropriate time to pursue anything would be an understatement, as it was Katelyn and her daughters' first Christmas without Mason. But here we get to see how the rest of their story will play out.
Once again I commend Heidi on bringing realness to these situations - real characters, real emotions, real circumstances. In FMG I could relate to Liam. In MUF I could relate to Katelyn. I may not be a widow, but my husband and I have been dating or married for 20 years and we have three kids. I know if anything ever happened to him, I would be in no hurry to replace him. Because he's irreplaceable. He's my true love. So I look at Katelyn's circumstances and I just feel sad for her, and sad for her young girls, and the timing of it all. And I know I'm not the only one who can relate. I like that this story addressed the piece of someone's heart that would always be tied to that irreplaceable someone.
Enter Harrison and his tender patient self. Harrison the dad, Harrison the drummer, Harrison the ever patient guy. He was a sweet, stand-up kind of guy. Maybe he hadn't always been that way, but when presented with new situations, Harrison adapts. He adapted to fatherhood. He adapted to falling for a widow. He adapted to rejection. He was gentle and patient, but also honest and real. But I also love that he wasn't a complete doormat. Begging and being a doormat is not attractive. But being yourself is and Harrison stayed true to himself and didn't become someone he wasn't just to fill that perfect picture of what Katelyn thought she needed. And his true self was enough - more than enough. When you see all the sweet, thoughtful things he does, you'll understand and swoon with the rest of us.
The progress of Harrison and Katelyn's relationship was slow and steady and I really appreciated that. It would have been unrealistic if it had been rushed. I liked how they brought out the good things in each other, yet also challenged each other's views. Harrison in particular challenged Katelyn's view of "type," with his tattoos and beanies and history. Katelyn's prejudices were frustrating, and her assumptions were harmful. I wanted to hug her and shake her at the same time. The mixed signals she sent out would give any guy whiplash. But it was a journey she had to take because she only knew one type of romantic love, and was so very afraid. But when Harrison and Katelyn were together without the walls, it was a beautiful thing.
There is a fair share of drama, and more continuing of the previous book's storyline. I liked how things were tied together and while I had suspicions, I liked that I was anticipating what would happen next. We also get more of Liam and Josie's story, as well as the ongoing band drama. Add that to Harrison and Katelyn's story, and I was completely entertained throughout the novel and didn't want to put it down.
And the kids. Oh how I love those kids. I love that they are such an integral part of the story. I love that these individuals have become a big, happy family. These children are the true gems of the group, and their interactions with each other and with the adults is enough reason to enjoy this book. Harrison plays a huge father/mentor role. First, I love how he talks about his son, Quinn. So touching. Then throw in his skills with the other kids, and you can see how natural he is with them all (and why Katelyn would be a fool to not see all the positive things about him).
Bottomline: I love this series. I love the real emotions I feel reading it. I love that I can relate with these people, even though they are fictional. I love the intergenerational storylines. I love the complex characters. My Unexpected Forever is a beautiful second chance story for two people who need that chance together. I look forward to more books to come in this series. There seems to be a hint at the end who the next one might be about, so I'll have to wait and see. But I'll be sure to grab it.