I have mentioned before in my reviews that I enjoy a good, light romance or book about families. We often call this type of book “women’s fiction” because the main character is usually a woman and the targeted reader is female. There are many of this type of book available and the subject matter is very wide although relationships are at the heart of the story. You would expect this type of book to have a happy ending of some sort.
The Forever Girl by Jill Shalvis is about a group of adults who all once lived in the same foster home. The group includes Cat who was the birth daughter of the family and three other foster children. A fire and a death split the little family apart but there is still a tie between these four people. When Cat decides to get married she invites her friends to the wedding in an effort to bring them together again as a group after an estrangement. Each of the group has secrets in their lives and they all carry the trauma of the events of their childhoods with them.
The whole group becomes involved in helping Cat get her perfect wedding. Her fiancé mistrusts the friends and has a difficult mother who is attempting to control the wedding. Cat has doubts but can’t express them. By the wedding day most of the group are unsure of the ceremony should proceed.
What I particularly liked about this story was that the author understood the issues which come with a difficult past and didn’t assume that they could all disappear. Maisie (Maze) struggles with relationships and trust, and she tends to destroy the things she most values. Walker can’t communicate with others easily and is always waiting to be rejected again. Heather feels that she has to cope on her own and Cat wants to fix everyone’s problems while making poor decisions herself. All of them struggle with expressing emotions. None of the other characters truly understands the ties that come with a traumatic childhood. By the end of the book none of the characters have changed significantly but they have found ways to acknowledge their problems and cope with them better.
I enjoyed this story a lot. I thought that the author wrote the interactions between characters particularly well. I liked how she didn’t make Cat’s fiancé completely horrible. I hoped that Cat would see sense, Maze would let herself love and Walker would say what he felt. I enjoyed the way that the book resolved the issues but didn’t deny the ongoing effects of trauma. If you are looking for a light read which is enjoyable but based in reality this author is worth a try.