This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Author, Susan Laffoon. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Can't Buy Forever by Susan Laffoon
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
Release Date: June 1, 2015
Publisher: Page Publishing Inc
Source: Author, Susan Laffoon
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository
In the early 1950s, Odessa Drake (Dessa) is rescued from a bleak existence with a single mother. She takes a chance on the unknown to work in a boarding house owned by a widowed great aunt in Mineville, New York. Dessa is devoted to Aunt Flo and especially a young man, Nicholas, who appears and takes shelter in the attic, the only available space. Four years pass. She looks forward to each day because of his presence, in spite of the tedious work. Dessa is now eighteen and knows little more of Nicholas than the day he arrived to work the mines. She knows only he is a remarkable man who has a limp and she trusts Nicholas explicitly. There is a familiarity both recognize and an unshakeable bond develops. Nicholas has reasons to keep his past buried. Dangers loom and become evident when Nicholas gets too close and exposes their bond. What is the mystery behind this threat? To discover the answer, they escape by railway heading West, colliding with treachery and uncovering secrets, mile by mile. Their journey is impossible, but, they are supported by friends who risk their lives to make sure a great love and lineage is preserved. Or is it? None will forget their odyssey as they proceed to their destiny farther than they imagined.
Can’t Buy Forever is a story about love, loss, and forgiveness. It also has fantasy elements, religious elements, and folklore. It was so much more than I expected. This story follows the lives of Odessa and Nicholas. At the start of the book, they have a connection that is amazing. There have been no physical actions on either of their parts to consummate the attraction because Odessa is young and Nicholas is a boarder at her Aunt’s house. Nicholas is older and works at a mine in town. When I say, older, I mean by four years but considering that they met when she was fourteen, nothing would have been appropriate between them, ever. Now that she is eighteen and he is twenty-two anything building between them would be considered appropriate.
Dessa is madly in love with Nicholas but his actions have never been more than that of a friend. Until one day when Nicholas kisses her. He plays it off as if he meant nothing by it but it sets Dessa’s heart a flame and she is no longer willing to be put off. Luckily for her there are powers at play that force actions to be taken and Nicholas declares his intentions. Unfortunately, his display also comes with consequences that are dire and puts them both in a position that they need to leave town and head to a safer place.
This trek brings Dessa closer to understanding what motivates Nicholas. It also puts what she thought as reality into stark contrast as secrets are revealed that are quite simply unbelievable. These secrets and the people that are in Nicholas’s life will put her faith in him and love to the test. This is so much more than a mere romance. This is about the power of secrets. How unforgiveness can become a curse and how the truth and forgiveness can set you free.
I did not expect there to be a fantasy element to this story and I really appreciated that. It was fun to imagine the scenarios and ponder the reality of them. I found the story to be fascinating even though sometimes it was hard to accept the fantasy portion as even possible. It is hard to write a story that has elements of fantasy but that they are supposed to be an acceptable reality. It can either make a story or break it. I think that this story walked the fine line. At times it made my eyes roll a bit but at others I was all in.
I found that, for me, there were parts a bit hard to follow but overall it was an enjoyable read. Something that I really thought interesting about this book was that it explored the early beginnings of a particular faith (if I tell you it will be a spoiler) and integrated its beliefs into the story. Not in a religious way so much but in another way to ponder its beginnings. This is the first book I have read that has done that and it stood out to me. I recommend this book to readers who want more of a thriller in their romance story.
*Thank you to Susan Laffoon for this complimentary copy of Can’t Buy Forever*