|Forever My Girl by Heidi McLaughlin|
December 27, 2012
Bandit Publishing Company
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
(contains sexual situations, language)
Source: Personal purchase
I was never supposed to be a rock star. I had my life all planned out for me. Play football in college. Go to the NFL. Marry my high school sweetheart and live happily ever after.
I broke both our hearts that day when I told her I was leaving. I was young. I made the right decision for me, but the wrong decision for us. I’ve poured my soul into my music, but I’ve never forgotten her. Her smell, her smile.
And now I’m going back.
After ten years.
I hope I can explain that after all this time.
I still want her to be my forever girl.
This is a well-written second chance story and I really enjoyed it. We follow the alternating POVs of Liam and Josie, getting glimpses of past and present. They were high school sweethearts, deeply in love, and then things unexpectedly went awry and they've been out of each other's lives for the last ten years. A deeply unfortunate turn of events brings them back into each other's lives and forces Liam to face the regret he's been avoiding for the last ten years.
I could really feel the emotions of the characters throughout this story and they felt very authentic. Heidi's ability to show the array of feelings one would face in this type of situation was well though out and did not feel overly outlandish or excessively angst filled. It felt honest and I loved being in both Liam and Josie's heads. They felt real. And I loved how their emotions and everything played out. I felt so sad for everyone, especially in the beginning. Just so sad for all the wasted, lost time. But along with my sad feelings, there were some really beautiful, tender moments. This really struck the emotional gamut.
But throughout the story I could also see that this time apart allowed them to become the individuals they needed to be. Would they have made it as a couple if the circumstances were different and they hadn't lost those ten years? That is the million dollar question. But I think Liam and Josie were eventually able to answer that question for themselves. And no worries, Liam paid a price for his rash, cowardly decision. A hefty price indeed. But forgiveness and redemption are worthy goals, and I liked how the story progressed.
I've touched on the characters, but I love this group of friends in Beaumont. And not just the adults, but the children as well. What a great array of personalities and imperfections. Josie has a great support system, and she lends her support to Katelyn as well. And then Liam is there for Katelyn. And then Katelyn is supporting Liam. And everyone is supporting the kids. They are multi-dimensional characters that really add something special to the story. There was one character that I felt like got a bad rap and I felt sorry for him (though he should have been paying attention to the red flags that had been popping up all along). But I'm glad he's getting his own story.
On a personal level, I could relate to Liam. I remember starting college and all the things I'd thought I'd wanted to do and career plans I'd had and been expected of me from my family kind of blew up in my face freshman year. I learned a lot about myself, became a new person, and discovered who I thought I was going to be was no longer who I wanted to be. Halfway through my sophomore year I dropped out of college for a year to figure things out and decide what path I wanted to follow. My parents cut off my funding and I had to take care of myself, though they did not disown me, just were deeply disappointed and didn't understand me. So to a certain extent I could relate to Liam. The difference between Liam and me comes down to communication and history. My boyfriend knew what I was feeling and what I was doing, but we also hadn't been dating as long as Liam and Josie, so he wasn't entrenched in my past expectations. But I could understand how the events in this story took place, even if I would have personally made different choices, and sympathize with Liam's position and choices. And I don't think I'm the only one who can relate.
Bottomline: I loved this story and loved these characters, This story deals with heartbreak and heartache, regret and remorse, trust and truth, repentance and redemption, hope and happiness, love and life. Heidi nailed the emotional gamut and used imperfect characters to bring a story of second chances to life. And no worries, we get a HEA and no cliffhanger. I'm a new Heidi McLaughlin fan and look forward to the rest of the Beaumont series, which I quickly bought after finishing this one.