USA TODAY® Bestselling author Maggie McGinnis welcomes us to Echo Lake, Vermont, where just the right wishes can lead to sparkly, unexpected happily-ever-afters.
Boston therapist Josie Kendrew specializes in helping other people mend their broken hearts, but her own heart is another story. After years of putting distance between herself and her childhood home, she's forced to rush back to Echo Lake, Vermont when her father has a stroke, but once she arrives, painful memories threaten to send her driving right back out of town. Between her sweet "little sister" and Ethan Miller, the boy she left behind, Josie finds herself face-to-face with a pain she's not sure she can endure. Ethan is now--wow--all man, and he's sitting in the CFO chair of Snowflake Village, her family's Christmas-themed amusement park ... a place noted by journalists as charming and sweet and festive, but a place she's derisively called Camp Ho-Ho forever--or at least since she was old enough to watch the twinkly lights and endless hours destroy her parents.
Ethan Miller never set out to be the one left behind, but when Josie blew out of town ten years ago with no explanation, suddenly that's who he was. After a week spent mostly in a Jim Beam haze, he tucked her engagement ring in a drawer and set out to make a life for himself, though their history gnaws at him every day he walks the pathways of Snowflake Village. A lot has changed since Josie fled, so when she drives back in, a mixture of angry, scared, and sad, he has no idea whether she'll stay ... or leave him shattered once again.
As the days turn into weeks, both Ethan and Josie realize that maybe, just maybe, Snowflake Village might hold more than just ghosts from the past. It might hold the possibility of a second chance at love...
Launching the Echo Lake contemporary series, McGinnis weaves an engrossing and uplifting tale of enduring love. Josie Kendrew ditched her family and fianc and left Echo Lake at age 18. Ten years later, she makes a quick visit to see her father, who has suffered a stroke. Childhood memories of an alcoholic mother and workaholic father are strangely compromised when Josie encounters her mother, now an organized homemaker, and sees her father, the energetic owner of Christmas theme park Snowflake Village, lying listless. She also reconnects with her former fianc , Ethan, despite knowing little about the man he's become. Frequent flashbacks give readers a glimpse into the life Josie left behind, explaining her aversion to Snowflake Village and introducing Avery, a young girl with cancer who in many ways shaped Josie's adult life. Josie and Ethan's charity work with cancer-stricken children adds depth, while former friends, some welcoming and some not, add elements of loyalty and conflict to a robust romance.
Really enjoyed this read. Very nice story ams easy read.
Forever This Time
Good read. A happy ending while working through poor decisions, lack of communication with loved and the stark realities of pediatric cancer patients. Strongly recommend!
Forever This Time
An okay read. I enjoyed the layers of emotional conflict in this book and the exploration of grief and mental health. However, I thought there was an overuse of single italicized words at times, some dialogue was straight up cringe (i.e. “Touch me, Ethan. Please just touch me. Make me forget about everything but you.”), other times it felt like I was reading fan fiction, and it would benefit from more proofreading.
I actually found myself losing interest in the main characters by the time I hit the last hundred pages or so. I was not convinced that Josie is a counselor, especially when you compare her thought processes to Ethan et al. Molly read more like a teenager than a twenty-eight year old, despite multiple characters’ insistence that they’re not teenagers anymore. Josie’s surprise at finding out from Ike that they didn’t actually need help and were just looking after her was odd since she already figured it out earlier when she first went to Mama B’s alone.
Despite being presented as a Boston pull factor, Josie’s patients are more a footnote and afterthought in the overall story, putting it in the same vein as Avery’s mother. They’re brought into the story just to never be addressed again, and doesn’t really serve a purpose outside of being an almost random factoid that counselors and therapists have lives outside of their patients and the foster system is broken.