by Elixabeth Schilling

February 2002
ISBN: 1-588-51897-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Publish America
Trade Paperback

Forever Avenley is the story of a family tragedy – the death of a young mother and her husband’s struggle to put his life back together.

Jake Lawrence’s wife Avenley dies giving birth to a beautiful little girl. Jake loved Avenley, and her loss is a bitter one. He hires Rebecca, a kind woman, to help out in the house and take care of baby Cecily, while he tries to put his life back together. It’s not easy, though. His family seems beset with bad luck as his sister confesses that her husband has been beating her in front of their daughter, and the man seems intent on ruining her life. Then his brother returns, and Jake has never gotten along with him. Things are further confused when he and his sister-in-law find themselves attracted to each other. Jake finds his life spiralling out of control. He thinks he will find happiness with a woman he meets at his daughter’s birthday party, and they get married. Unfortunately, things just don’t work out.

Forever Avenley is a melodrama, told from the viewpoint of Jake, a young widower. It’s the story of his search for happiness, and his efforts to raise his daughter in the loving memory of his wife.

If you like soap operas, and stories of dysfunctional families, you’ll enjoy this book. It reminded me of those tragedies of ancient Greece, where everything kept going wrong, but the characters keep the faith, doing their best. If I didn't give it a very high rating, it's because I thought that the writing was flat and the story didn't hold my interest enough. The characters all seemed like something out of a soap opera, but then again, lots of people like that sort of thing. I think this book would please those who love a good 'tear-jerker', and who like to cry at movies. If you miss the 'good old days', then this book is for you.

Reviewed in October 2002 by Jennifer.

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