Title: R.I.L.Y. Forever
Author: Norah Bennett
Published Date: July 13th 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
***THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED TO NERD GIRL IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW***
Julia and Ethan meet at the age of sixteen and are drawn to one another, first as friends then as lovers. When everything and everyone Julia holds dear is threatened, Julia is forced to do the unimaginable. Under a veil of secrets and lies, the young lovers are violently separated. The last time Julia sees Ethan, he gives her a heart-shaped silver locket with the inscription, R.I.L.Y., Forever.
Twenty-two years pass before Ethan and Julia’s lives intersect again in a small town in Northwest Jersey. Their reunion is unexpected and emotional. Their passion reignites and their relationship flourishes despite Julia’s abusive ex-husband and Ethan’s possessive ex-wife. But the past rears its ugly head and the lovers soon discover that a foundation built on secrets will always crumble. Can Ethan and Julia overcome their painful past and learn the lessons of honesty, trust, and forgiveness in time to save their love?
The characters in R.I.L.Y. are all introduced in the opening scene. As the story unfolds, the character development continues and the relationships to the secondary characters are revealed. I loved that this romance involved mature adults. The characters are in their late 30’s and early 40’s. They have accomplishments and setbacks. They’ve developed careers, loved and lost, and they have endured some very trying situations. The characters are at a point in life when they know what they want and need, and they know what truly matters to them.
Julia has had her share of real life trauma, and throughout the book, it is apparent just how much life has worn her down and eaten away at her confidence. Julia’s physical responses to her triggers are very affecting. I couldn’t help but feel her pain, and I was desperate to learn her secrets. Ethan grew up rather privileged in comparison, but he has had his share of disappointments. His biggest disappointment was losing his high school sweetheart, Julia, but the dreamy pediatrician has made peace with her leaving him and let go of his anger. Good thing, because Julia’s daughter, Lily, is over-the-moon with Ethan. Lily is struggling through the terrible twos, but Ethan has just the right demeanor to charm her into good behavior. He has always wanted children, and she needs a daddy figure; they’re the perfect match–they just need Julia on board so everyone can have a happily-ever-after.
The story of Julia and Ethan’s reunion is told in a third person narrative from both characters’ point of view. Ms. Bennett is very descriptive, so I felt like I was living the story with the characters. The plot is well paced, and even though there are no huge surprises, the story is engaging from start to finish. I felt a couple conflicts were too easily wrapped up, and I would have liked a more realistic conflict build-up and resolution to at least one of them.
Overall, R.I.L.Y. Forever is a charming romance. The characters are interesting and the story premise is touching. Ms. Bennett’s debut novel is good, and I’m looking forward to her future books!
***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official. For more information regarding our reviews please visit our Fan Site: www.facebook.com/NerdGirl.NG***
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