For Never & Always

Forever: Grand Central. Nov. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9781538706558. pap. $16.99. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Hannah Rosenstein and Levi “Blue” Matthews grew up together at Carrigan’s Christmasland Inn. For Hannah, Carrigan’s was (and is) a refuge, her safe place. Even the idea of leaving gave her panic attacks. But Carrigan’s was toxic for Blue. As the son of “the help,” he felt stifled and judged by the small town’s residents and Carrigan’s guests. So he left, traveling the world to figure out who he was and who he could be. Four years later, he’s back. Now a confident, queer celebrity chef, Blue is ready to win Hannah back. Their love is still strong, but Hannah is afraid to trust Blue with her heart again. This second-chance romance, told from the perspectives of two Jewish protagonists, is driven by emotion rather than plot. Flashbacks scattered throughout the novel show their early idealistic relationship, while the present-day storyline features characters who are much more self-aware and complicated. Demisexuality and mental health are sensitively and seamlessly incorporated within the plot and are essential parts of Hannah and Blue’s relationship.
VERDICT Fans of Greer’s Season of Love will clamor for this sequel that shares the Carrigan’s Inn setting, as will fans of Courtney Kae and Jean Meltzer.
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