Title: Forever Love
Genre: Fiction, Christian Romance
Author: Jessica Nelson
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Sky-diving instructor Maggie McCormick has a reputation in her small town for living on the wild side. What people don't know is how her painful choices have whittled away at her soul. Determined to be done with romantic relationships, she's ready to focus on a deeper relationship with God. She wants to prove she's different and dreams of opening a home for young mothers. When she stumbles across the perfect property, things seem to be going well until she discovers the owner is none other than her good-looking pastor. And he's refusing to sell.
Pastor Joe O'Reilly has big plans for his church and they don't include selling his inheritance to free-spirited, motorcyclist Maggie McCormick. When her desire to help young mothers inspires him to assist her in the quest for land, he doesn't expect to start falling for her. But Maggie guards dark secrets that could destroy his faith in their love.
Can Maggie trust Joe to love her despite her past, especially when she sees forever in his eyes?
I really enjoyed how realistic Pastor Joe and his struggles are. I find that we often put our pastors on a shelf and forget they are human. So, it was nice to see him struggle with the same things that we all do, and to have a few skeletons in the closet. It was nice to see him as human. However, something that really bothered me is that his family is Catholic and his mom wanted him to be a priest...which means they're pretty Catholic and not just Cafeteria Catholics. Yet, there is no discussion of his conversion or why he made it, there is no discussion of why he's Protestant. The closest it comes is that he says he just wasn't called to that. As a former Protestant who converted to Catholicism, this bothered me. Leaving one religion for another is not an easy decision, or one to be made lightly. It would've been more believable had he just fallen away and not been a pastor. The fact that he is a pastor and studied theology would mean that he had a significant reason for his conversion, yet it comes off like it's no big deal and there is no real difference in Catholicism and Protestantism.
I completely understand that that isn't the focus of the story, and that the author probably wanted to stay far away from that debate (and I don't blame her) but, because a reoccurring theme throughout is Joe's mother's sadness over his not becoming a priest, it really needed to be at least touched on a little more deeply to give us a better insight into him and the way his family functions.
The second big thing that I would've liked to see changed is that there is a rift between Maggie and Joe's mother seemingly only because Joe likes her and isn't going to be a priest, especially once he marries. There is no reconciliation between them before the closing of the book. This really bothered me because Maggie was quite distressed over his mother not liking her, so I feel like she should've reached out to her. There's even a great bit of foreshadowing in how well they got along during their first meeting that would've been a perfect way to mend fences, but that never happens.
Despite these two plot holes, I really enjoyed this one. It delves in to a lot of deeper faith topics, especially forgiveness and dealing with our pasts in order to move forward. This is a great, quick read and I highly recommend it. I can't wait to go back and read the rest of the series.
Drugs and alcohol? Some discussion of alcohol.
Anything else? There's talk of abortion, which may be a trigger to some.
Jessica Nelson believes romance happens every day, and thinks the greatest, most intense romance comes from a God who woos people to himself with passionate tenderness. When Jessica is not chasing her three beautiful, wild little boys around the living room, she can be found staring into space as she plots her next story. Or she might be daydreaming about a raspberry mocha from Starbucks. Or thinking about what kind of chocolate she should have for
dinner that night. She could be thinking of any number of things, really. One thing is for certain, she is blessed with a wonderful family and a lovely life
*I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, all opinions are 100% my own.
*Thank you to The Indie View for connecting me to this author.