Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I gave up on their dreams and the life we had all planned out. And now I was heading home to face the music.”
Liam left everything and everyone behind, without explanation, in order to pursue his own dreams. Known as the golden boy of Beaumont with a promising football career, Liam had his life all planned out by his family and girlfriend but he knew in his heart that music was his salvation and that if he didn’t leave Beaumont, he would die a slow death. Liam achieves his dreams and is now a famous rock star with the tattoos and the reputation to match…but he never forgot the town or the girl he left behind. When he receives word that his best friend has died, Liam knows that it’s time to head back to Beaumont and see if he can make his next dream come true…get the girl he left behind.
Josie knew that Liam would be coming home to Beaumont when he received news of his best friend’s death. When he left ten years ago, she was devastated. He gave her no reason why and she felt as if her heart and soul had been ripped out of her chest. She tried to call him for an explanation but he changed his number and for all intents and purposes, disappeared from her life. Josie picked up the pieces of her broken heart and eventually moved on with her life. She now has a successful business, a loving fiance, and a son whom she cherishes. She isn’t sure if she wants to see Liam or find out why he left her, but she has one very important reason that will force her to confront the man who changed her life with one single word-Goodbye.
Forever My Girl is a modern day love story that speaks of second chances with love, heartbreak, redemption, hope, and of course, laughter. This book stayed with me long after I read the last page. Emotionally plump with a well plotted storyline, we get a ringside seat as we watch Liam and Josie both try to understand and come to terms with what exactly happened to them ten years ago. You want to lay all the blame at Liam’s feet but as the story develops, you realise that you can’t. There were mistakes made on both sides. Extremely character driven, it’s very easy to submerge yourself into the town’s residents lives and develop affection for them. Josie is a wonderful single parent who has admirably dealt with the hand life gave her with humor, intelligence, and patience. She is scared, angry, and still harbors a deep vein of pain that time has not healed. Her life stopped on that fateful day he left and while she has gone on with her life, a large piece of her never got over him.
“You don’t get to come in here and demand answers, Liam. You’ve been off playing rock star. You’re the famous Liam Page. You left this…You left me. There’s no room for you here.”
Liam is wonderful in that he doesn’t roar back into town, intent on picking up where he left off. He knows he hurt Josie and accepts that fact that he may never get her back into his life as a lover or even a friend. He knows he needs to make amends to everyone, not just Josie, and explain why he did what he did. He too has hurt the entire time he was gone. His dream may have come true but he never forgot Josie and he never gave away his heart to another woman because she has held it since they were teenagers.
“I told her I’d love her forever. I said I love you first and promised to never let her go. “
I found that the story itself is pretty straight forward in it’s delivery. While I enjoyed this tale, it’s the characters who breathe life into this story and elevate it beyond a simple contemporary romance. Dynamic in development, Ms. McLaughlin has created real people who could be anyone we know. They are easy to relate to. Their joys, fears, wants, and needs are laid bare and we are allowed to share in their journey as they experience the hard lessons life sometimes hands us. The journey isn’t perfect and each person has issues that need to be resolved. The execution, each chapter alternates points of view between Liam and Josie, flows smoothly and offers a unique view into their mind set. Normally, I’m not a fan of this setup but in here it works. We aren’t inundated with previous chapter recaps as each character gives voice to their thoughts and feelings.
“I thought for sure we’d spend forever together. I thought our love was one of a kind. I would almost be okay if he had met someone else and fallen in love, but he didn’t. He just left. He said he was suffocating.”
Josie and Liam are wonderful together. The chemistry explodes between them from the first time they see each other again. Ms. Mclaughlin doesn’t use tired cliches, mind numbing angst, emotional whining to facilitate their romance. Theirs is not an instant re connection and I appreciated that. Their reconciliation is slow and realistic as we are given glimpses into their past together and try, along with them, to understand exactly what went wrong and where. There is something powerful about watching two people who are given a second chance. I really enjoyed how Ms. Mclaughlin doesn’t give us an easy fix to their relationship. The characters have to work hard to repair the damage to their lives and hearts. You can feel the anger, resentment, confusion, and hurt rolling off of them. It’s painful at times to watch as these two struggle to learn about each other again and find a way to forgive each other and themselves. Can they work past it all? Well, you’ll have to read to find that out.
Equally engaging secondary characters round out the story and add depth to Liam and Josie’s journey. Katelyn, good friend to both Liam and Josie, is the voice of reason as she doesn’t so much champion Liam as she softly encourages Josie to just listen. We learn more about Liam’s uneasy relationship with his parents and how they contributed to his leaving in the beginning. We are also gifted with a potential secondary romance and an intriguing subplot that could destroy them all.
The ending is wonderfully satisfying in that while we aren’t given a HEA, we are given hope for our couple. All in all, Forever My Girl is a must have for lovers of romantic contemporaries with sexy rock stars and the strong heroines they love and has me looking forward to the second installment of the Beaumont Boys series.
Also – The first 200 people to purchase FOREVER MY GIRL will get a free download of the song PAINKILLERS! Just e-mail your proof of purchase to thebeaumontseries@gmail [dot] com.