Poitevin finishes off her Forever series with another modern fairy tale romance, Forever Grace. Fans of the first books, Gwyneth Ever After and Forever After, will not be disappointed with the sequel. Once again, Poitevin delivers a poignant depiction of the struggle in balancing the responsibilities of a family with the desires of the heart.
Grace Daniels is new to the world of child-raising, having taken over for her gravely injured sister, Julianne. Being suddenly responsible for four children would be difficult enough, but Grace has an added challenge. Julianne’s abusive ex-husband is searching for her and the children, and every mistake that Grace makes could potentially lead him back to them. Hiding out at a cabin near Perth, Ontario might be the perfect solution for protection, but it makes for a lonely and isolated learning curve.
Sean McKittrick is retreating to his own cabin to heal his shattered leg and recover from a gunshot wound. And, if truth be told, to escape from the perfection of his cousin’s new marriage and ready-made family. Sean has long been certain that children are best left to other people to deal with and can only be enjoyed at infrequent and brief intervals. But as a policeman, he can’t help but notice something odd about his new neighbour and her brood.
Thrown together by circumstance, Sean and Grace end up relying on each other to provide for themselves and the children. Soon each begins to realize that what the other might just hold what they never knew was missing from their lives.
Each of Poitevin’s characters is carefully developed, but I was particularly impressed by her depiction of Joshua and Annabelle, the eldest and youngest of Julianne’s children. Joshua’s heartbreaking efforts to emerge from under his father’s crushing abuse will touch any heart. The combination of fear and determination is delicately balanced as he tries to be the perfect helper and support for his aunt and sisters and yet he is still very much a frightened little boy driven to the edge.
Writing toddlers is always a challenge and it is too easy to restrict them to simple comic relief. But Annabelle is the perfect blend of two-year-old tyrant and innocent babe. Unafraid and stubbornly insistent, she has no trouble in demanding love and attention from those around her, drawing the family and Sean together and giving them a focus beyond their apprehensions.
Forever Grace blends tension and sweetness in a refreshing mixture. I’d recommend it for anyone looking for a summer read with a hint of danger and a dollop of romance.
Jennifer Carole Lewis writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy and will be at Can-Con 2016 in September.