Review: Forever by Karen Ann Hopkins

 

 

Contain Spoilers

Review:

Let the Drama Fest begin!  And, sadly, end, in the last book of Karen Ann Hopkins’s series of forbidden love.  Rose and Noah make so many poor decisions, cause so much misery for themselves, but I can’t help but hope that they find a path to happiness.  Both of them have lied, acted in ways that they know is wrong, and I still sympathize with them.  Their families, and Noah’s community, conspire to keep them apart, when all they long for is to be together.  Because both are young and willful, they are determined to find a way to be together, even with so much opposition to their relationship.  After tragedy strikes, Noah realizes that life is too short to allow his community to drive him away from Rose, and he leaves the Amish church.  Will he be happy in the English world?

 

I have a confession to make.  I used to be addicted to daytime soap operas.  I would rush home from school to watch the latest General Hospital, and record Days of Our Lives to watch right after.  For years, I followed both shows, reveling as the characters fell in and out of love, were conspired against by their families, friends, and enemies, and struggled to overcome every challenge tossed their way.  Hopkins’s series is a three volume soap opera about the spoiled, willful daughter of a doctor who falls for the one guy she can’t have – Noah, an Amish boy whose family farm is just down the road.  How could I not gobble this up?  When everyone is trying to convince them that they will never be happy with each other, that they will resent each other for choices they have to make if they do defy their parents and get married, this is one giant angst fest. 

The narrative is told from the perspective of both Rose and Noah, as well as from the view of Rose’s older brother, Sam, and Noah’s younger sister, Sarah.  The emotions roil through their words; every setback and obstacle is picked apart and examined, as solutions to their problems are considered and rejected, or analyzed and played out.  Some of these decisions are very, very bad.  Rose is pregnant, and she has sworn Sam and her BFF Summer to secrecy.  She’s afraid to tell Noah because he is having to deal with conflicts in his community.  She is also terrified to tell her father.  How will he react?  Will he still love her after he finds out how careless she’s been?

Noah has broken off his engagement to Constance, which causes all sorts of negative fallout for his family.  Constance’s father is gifted at holding grudges, and he’s turning the other families against the Millers.  When Sarah begins to fall for Micah, Constance’s brother, she feels only despair.  She knows that their relationship is doomed to failure, because Micah’s father will never allow his son to marry a Miller. 

When Noah finally stands up for himself and leaves the community to be with Rose, he’s determined to do whatever he must to provide a living for his family.  What he didn’t expect was how difficult it would be to find his place in the English world.  He hates his job stocking shelves at the local market, his neighbors are dangerous criminals, and there is no sense of safety or community in his neighborhood.  How can he raise a family like this?  He has no choice, though, because he has turned his back on the church, his Amish family and neighbors have turned their backs on him.

Throughout all of these challenges, I kept hoping that Rose and Noah would find a solution and have their happy ever after.  I admit that I didn’t like the pregnancy story thread.  It’s hard enough to carve out a living when you are young without the burden of having to care for a baby, and it just felt like Rose and Noah had found a way to cheat to be together.  I also disliked how Rose kept hoping Noah would give up his way of life for her, even though he told her from day one that that wasn’t an option.  And, yes, I hated the thought of Rose giving up her life goals by joining the Amish community, but she knew from the beginning that Noah was content with his life.  He is close to his family, and if he left the church, they would no longer be able to see him.  Rose just seemed so devious as she continued to find ways for Noah to become what she wanted him to be, instead of being happy with who he was.

In the end, though, I found Forever difficult to put down.  If you enjoy over the top drama and forbidden love stories, this is the series for you.  The tornado sequence is powerful and moving, and really cemented my addiction to this series.  Despite a few quibbles. this is a highly emotional and ultimately satisfying read.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided publisher

From Amazon:

All I want is my happily-ever-after. 

That’s all I’ve wanted since meeting Noah Miller. 

From the day we met, the world has tried to keep Noah and me from being together, but now that I’m carrying his child, no one will be able to tear us apart. Or so I hope. But Noah and I have made some mistakes along the way, and the consequences are impacting the people we love. Worse, there’s a storm on the horizon, and it’s sure to cause serious devastation. 

If we can get through this, we’ll finally be Rose and Noah—a family, forever. 

But first we have to survive the road ahead. And happily-ever-after is a long way off.