Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86345-7
Contemporary Romance, 2014
Professor Tamryn West has come all the way to Gauthier, Louisiana on a mission. With the recent discovery of a room used as part of the Railway Underground back in those days, she is confident that she is one step closer to finding evidence that her great-great-great grandmother was not only a conductor in that part of the country way back then, she also founded the first school for black people. The person she wants to meet, Matthew Gauthier, is related to the woman who most likely helped Tamryn’s ancestor open the school. She wants to poke around his place for clues, but he refused to entertained her last batch of emails. Therefore, she’s here in person to do her own research and, if possible, meet up with and persuade the elusive Matthew to be more cooperative.
Matthew turns out to be a hot attorney who is also the neighborhood hero. His family founded the place, after all, and he continues to give plenty back to the neighborhood. Name a charity, a local enterprise, or something – and chances are, he’s one of its biggest backers. Everyone loves Matthew – well, maybe except that ex-girlfriend – and Tamryn soon finds herself falling under his spell too. However, Matthew has a secret. He has the very diary she is searching for, but he can’t let her see it as it contains many family secrets that can ruin his political ambitions. Meanwhile, she is haunted by a previous relationship with a colleague who used her research to further his own career.
Yours Forever is actually a sweet romance with two characters that are, for the most part, too adorable for words. These two banter and exchange heated glances as if they are planning to launch a sky full of fireworks. For the most part, the characters feel like ordinary normal people despite their above average looks and – on his part – his big fat bank account. Okay, I confess that I find the town and its people being all so welcoming and nice a bit creepy. Okay, very creepy, and sentences like the one below don’t help me feel any better.
Her crack of laughter drew particularly interested stares from the group of ladies she’d spoken to earlier. They all looked toward her and Matt with approving smiles on their faces.
There is something disturbing about all this, something that has me thinking of Rosemary’s Baby.
The story falls apart spectacularly for me in the late third or so. Yes, Matt is a naughty boy keeping some things away from Tamryn, but I don’t blame him in this case. He wants to keep some sordid family history in the past, and I can’t fault him in this. He’s not obligated to sabotage himself or ruin his family name no matter how sweet Tamryn’s honey pot is and, I feel, love shouldn’t mean she’s suddenly entitled to his every secret in his family closet. And yet, she acts like he has betrayed him by keeping things to himself, and the author genuinely believes that Matt is indeed in the wrong. But I don’t see it – I don’t understand why Matt is so awful for doing what he does. Tamryn’s quest isn’t noble or selfless – she wants the information to write a book and earn herself a tenure as much as she wants to hug herself with the notion that someone in her family did some amazing things. Therefore, there is something very self-serving in her acting like he’s personally run over her dog and taken a dump over the corpse.
The ending has me scratching my head too. Both of them walk away from their issues instead of facing them head on, and, on his part, it’s okay because he’s loaded while she gets a new gig in the neighborhood because everyone wants her to have Satan’s baby with Matt. This is an anticlimax after all that build up, if you ask me.
Anyway, Yours Forever is a pretty decent read, even if I feel that the author has overdone the whole happy small town thing to the point of unintentional creepiness. But the last third deflates, like an overly sweet cake that sinks just before it is ready to be served. Oh well, at least I get to live and read another book without getting diabetes.