Forever and a Day
In Forever and a Day, Jill Shalvis brings us back to Lucky Harbor, a small town on Washington’s Pacific coast. It’s a small-town romance of the first order, 21st-century style; as in her previous Lucky Harbor novels, Facebook is the primary spreader of gossip.
Grace Brooks is the adopted child of rocket scientists who has always felt the pressure to live up to the expectations set for her by her parents, despite her lack of genetic predisposition for genius. Not that she’s not smart; she is a CPA and had left home for an investment banking job in Seattle. It didn’t work out, though — there were some extracurricular expectations that were not mentioned in the job description — so now she’s in Lucky Harbor, doing odd jobs to make ends meet. It is through these random jobs that she becomes dog walker/babysitter for local Eligible Bachelor, Dr. Josh Scott.
Josh is totally overwhelmed by his work (an ER doctor, owning a private practice, and volunteering at a clinic); his son, a five year old who only barks; an untrained and rambunctious puppy; and a moody younger wheelchair-bound sister. Grace is not what he is looking for, but she helps him begin to manage his life and find time for fun, too. Things are temporary, though; Grace is waiting for a new, better job in her field in Seattle or Portland, as per her parent’s expectations. And Josh is just too busy to consider bringing anyone into his chaotic life.
Grace and Josh have chemistry, it is sure. They fit well together, and his seriousness is balanced by her slightly wild spirit. Their romance grows naturally, moving from pure physical chemistry to love in a realistic way. Watching it unfold was the most enjoyable part of the book.
The other parts were more questionably enjoyable. I thought the Facebook motif was overdone, especially given that its already heavy presence in Shalvis’ other books. It’s cute, but just too much. However, I enjoyed the rest of the small-town atmosphere. We revisit a few characters from her previous books, but not enough to be overwhelming. I haven’t read all of her Lucky Harbor books, but I’ve read a few, and it was nice to see other characters, albeit briefly.
Jill Shalvis tends to fall into the “cutesy” category, but can also be very sincere. I loved Grace’s relationship with Anna and Toby. She was so natural in both the role of the mother and older sister. Anna’s complexity was believable and natural; yes, she was irritating sometimes, but the underpinnings of that abrasiveness seemed fully understandable. She and Josh also have a complex relationship, one many parents will understand. It, too, is realistic and authentic.
Jill Shalvis has a quality to her writing that you can love or hate. Those who don’t like cutesy-small-town romances should probably avoid this book. However, I enjoyed reading it. It’s not that I particularly like small-town kitsch, it’s that the romance was of a quality that I could overlook the things that might not normally be to my taste.