Friends to Forever
Grade : B

When I saw that this month’s TBR theme was “Once More With Feeling,” of course I was going to pick a second chance romance. Not only are those a favorite theme of mine, but I have plenty of them in my TBR. Since January has historically been the month for shorts (category romance, novellas, etc..) at TBR Challenge, I pulled a Harlequin romance from 2011, Friends to Forever by Nikki Logan.

Written in the days before the Harlequin Romance line got turned over to billionaires and fake royalty (yawn), this book features a pair of high school best friends reunited on the Australian coast. Marc Duncannon and Beth Hughes were best friends for years on end in high school. And like lots of teenage best friends before them (especially in Romanceland), they had chemistry building beneath the surface. Instead of making that move from friends to romantic partners, things blew up between them into misunderstandings that ended their friendship.

Ten years later, Beth has sought out Marc, mostly to apologize. When she arrives at his home, he has been called to the shore to help rescue a stranded whale. Beth goes along, and as the two battle to save the whale, they gradually start to be truly honest with one another.

There’s a lot of both teenage melodrama and deeply hurt feelings to cut through, and the author does a wonderful job of showing these two going from leaning on their assumptions about each other to being truly vulnerable with one another. Neither has had the life that the other assumed they would have, and as truths come out, so does empathy.

Naturally, the two reach a point where they discover their feelings for one another aren’t wholly lost after all. There is some plot action in the form of dramatic whale rescue, and getting to know each other in their new hometowns. However, much of this book is an emotional journey. Beth in particular has had some real demons to face and overcome, and because of how Marc has had to deal with similar issues in the past, he sometimes struggles with how he reacts to her.

There were times when the old teen drama seemed a bit much, and there were times when I got quite frustrated with Marc’s reactions to Beth. However, this was a solid read overall. When I checked online, it looks like Nikki Logan may no longer be writing, which is a real shame. Then again, the Harlequin Romance line isn’t publishing books with the variety of stories and characters that they used to, and that’s a real shame as well.

Reviewed by Lynn Spencer
Grade : B

Sensuality: Kisses

Review Date : January 17, 2024

Publication Date: 04/2011

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Lynn Spencer

I enjoy spending as much time as I can between the covers of a book, traveling through time and around the world. When I'm not having adventures with fictional characters, I'm an attorney in Virginia and I love just hanging out with my husband, little man, and the cat who rules our house.
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