Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“Thanks for everything. For who you are, and who you taught me to be.”
God, this book was such an emotional rollercoaster! From the intense exploration of an abusive relationship to the foundations of a beautiful new love, this book has it all. There’s even elements of Past Life Regression which loads of romance lovers will find intriguing! Not a book I would pick up on a normal day, but I enjoyed this one and would recommend it to so many others – here’s my review!
Izabel Carmichael is level-headed, structured, and straight as an arrow. Her path in life is simple, or so she always thought. School, then career, then marriage and kids. What could possibly happen to divert that plan? A husband with a wandering eye and anger management issues that escalate daily. Her life is a husk of what it appears to be and far from what she’d imagined it would be. Plagued with pride, shame, and denial, she chooses to harbor her dirty little secret.
Her past collides with her present when she runs into a familiar stranger, and it turns her world upside down. She is forced to accept her suppressed emotions and open her heart to an unexpected love.
Even though the beginning of the book made me very sad, I thought it was incredibly powerful! It’s worth noting before I begin that there are themes of domestic abuse which some readers may find distressing. Even someone like myself, who has fortunately never been a victim to this on such a level, was deeply touched by just how vivid and real this is and it portrays exactly how a victim feels in such a realistic way. I felt so sad as I learned what Izabel went through, and even on her wedding night, she falls victim to a side of her new husband, Bo, that she only knows too well. I must applaud the author for including this theme in her book, a theme so important and one that simply needs to be spoken about a lot more. Izabel is too forgiving of this behaviour and simply does all she can for a quiet life. Something that can hit home for many readers. A strong opening to the book that really makes you think!
The more I read, the more I just wanted to wrap Izabel up in cotton wool and keep her safe! This stage of her life should be the happiest of all, but it’s actually horrifying to read. I loathed Bo’s character, but I have to say that the author has done such a perfect job of portraying someone so controlling and despicable. I’ve not yet come across a character so vile in a book, so I was genuinely shocked when we learned about his personality. Even this early on, I had a good grasp of each character and had a good idea of what Bo’s family were like. Tippy was a unusual character, and I quite like how she was hard to read! I was also happy that Izabel had someone so understanding by her side when she was suffering in silence. The book started off incredibly strong and packed quite a punch. I only hoped Izabel could get out of this mess she’s in and find a little more happiness in her life.
I felt that Izabel’s friend, Nat, was the perfect person to tell Bo where to go… if Izabel managed to pluck up some courage! With her issue being such a sensitive subject, it was natural for her to feel nervous about disclosing any details about her experiences. It was easy to put yourself into Izabel’s shoes and to really understand her mindset thanks to how well the author has written this character’s perspective. Nat is a really quirky little character, and definitely someone who has the potential to bring Izabel out of her shell. The book continues at a nice pace, and the author has built up a kind of suspense for the reader – will Izabel ever get the confidence she needs to get out of this toxic relationship? Would she ever find real love and live a happy life? I wanted so much change for this character already, and I’d grown so attached to her throughout the beginning of the book.
“The tension from earlier hovers over me like a construction crane carrying a load of concrete.”
The story took such an unusual turn, something which made the story incredibly unique! We explore a session of PLR (Past Life Regression) and see a different version of Izabel we don’t expect – Eve. Eve has a much different life to the one Izabel is living, and even though the reader doesn’t get all the information at this point, it really had the potential to grow into something I’ve not seen before in a book! The story gets VERY visual, so if you enjoy the rude bits in a romance, get on this (pun not intended) and Izabel sees first hand what a true, happy and loving relationship looks like. I had a few ideas for where the story could go, but I was keeping an open mind at this stage. I felt like anything could happen! I knew Izabel’s confidence wouldn’t appear over night, but I had a feeling that a few more PLR sessions would help her see sense.
Meeting a person in physical life that you knew from a previous one is such a weird concept but I loved how this was explored in the book. It feels so complex, but at the same time it’s easy to comprehend. I can’t tell you how many times I went off in a bit of a day dream thinking about the possibility of another life than the one I know about! I found the author’s description to be pretty enchanting, whether a person, place or a feeling is explored. Again, I really admired Nat’s character, and just how she’s there for Izabel whenever she needs her. I was also thankful she’d introduced her to those PLR sessions! I desperately wanted to Izabel to open up about her abusive experiences with her husband too, and I felt like her confidence was growing – hopefully she’d feel comfortable sharing her stories soon! I was surprisingly invested in this story by this point, and I was looking forward to seeing what else Izabel experiences.
After bumping into the same guy twice, it’s clear there is some sort of connection between the two. At this point in the book, things must be SO confusing for poor Izabel, not only from her vivid PLR sessions, but also the fact that she’s a newlywed. Can you imagine how her abusive husband, Bo, would feel and react if he ever saw her having a conversation with another man?! Just the thought was stressing me out to the max! I was getting a little nervous about how close she was becoming with Mr Newbie. Even though I wanted her to be happy and settled in life and in a relationship, I also wanted her to be safe more than anything! The author is an absolute natural at keeping her readers on edge, and I was interested to see just how she would tackle the issues Izabel faces in the second half of the book.
One particular scene in the book was absolutely terrifying for both Izabel and the reader, so terrifying in fact that I almost shed a tear! Bo loses his temper, more than he ever has before, and the results are disgusting. It must have been incredibly hard for the author to write this scene, but I do admire her for doing so. I feel too many people are oblivious to what happens behind closed doors in certain relationships, and I’m hoping that people reading this book can take away Izabel’s strength, life lessons and confidence from the author’s words. The way this part of the story is written fills the reader with emotion, and I know this scene will stick in my mind for a while. Bo doesn’t seem to be entirely truthful about his trips away, and this is the big push Izabel needs to make a change in her life. Thankfully, she seems to have the best people around her!
“If promises on the kitchen floor were kept, he’d never hit me again.”
The story continued to play with all my emotions and I could see Izabel’s character grow before my very eyes. I felt relieved as Izabel took more control and when we compare her with the Izabel we met at the start of the book, we can see just how well the author has developed this character. I’ve always thought that bottling things up inside is the worst thing you could possibly do and I understand just how stressful it is telling your loved ones how you feel or what is happening that they don’t know about. The author has effortlessly portrayed this to her readers without even saying the words. I think that through seeing Izabel’s growth and positive experiences once she shared how she was feeling, readers will be more inclined to take a leaf out of this character’s book! At this point, I wondered how the author would end the book. Would Izabel take a chance on new love, or will she be far too forgiving?
Izabel and Henry (The Newbie) get closer and as he reveals a letter from his grandfather, we the past and present collide in a clever way, and it made so much sense! It was very cute, I must admit, and it filled my heart with warmth and happiness. It made me understand further just how much the pair needed to be together, and exactly why forgetting about her sour relationship was good for her. The author has really turned this story around and changed the tone of the book in such a memorable and unexpected way, and filled the pages with real love where there wasn’t any before. The words were beautiful on each page and they painted such a perfect picture of what Izabel’s life could be like if she was brave enough to take the plunge.
The book turns a little raunchy…no, VERY raunchy, as Izabel finds a new safe place in the form of Henry. The author has expressed feelings like no other and created chapters full of feeling and potential. I think I would have personally liked to see a little more of the PLR elements (as I enjoyed this bit a lot!) but I still liked how the story plays out. Izabel’s journey in life was beginning to get more positive than before and I just hoped she’d be able to forget about her old life. I’m sure if Bo came anywhere near her again, Nat would have something to say about it! I was looking forward to seeing how the author ended the story and whether Izabel would get the happily ever after she craved.
Just as we think things couldn’t be better for Izabel, an unwelcome visitor makes an appearance which turns everything upside down. There’s the possibility of her losing it all even though she’s doing all she can to keep herself and everyone around her safe. This made for such powerful reading and even though the ending chapter of the book was very close, I had no idea how the book would end. I know there is a second book in the works so perhaps we won’t get all the answers we’re desperate for until book two! The author keeps the reader completely on edge throughout the end of the book, forcing us to think about a range of different outcomes and just whether Izabel would crumble and return to her old life. I was excited to find out how the author ended the book and just how book two would continue the story.
“You, with your bright spirit and pristine beauty, brought clarity to my broken mind and enraptured my bitter heart.”
The ending of the story fills the reader with questions and ‘what ifs’, and I feel it’s the perfect foundation for a second book in the series. I had hopes for more PLR and I feel there was much more we could explore in Izabel’s life and throughout her relationships. The author’s tone at the end of the book makes us think, to re-evaluate life and think about how we can become happier in our own lives. It’s powerful, emotional and such an unforgettable ending. The book focuses on bettering yourself and doing all we can to fill life with happiness and no regret. It’s definitely opened my eyes to how some relationships work and makes me fortunate about the good things I have. However, the final few words on that last page gave me the biggest smile of all!
This book was an absolute shock to the system – not only does it explore a relationship of severe domestic abuse, but it does so in such a moving and powerful way. Even though the book filled me with emotion, it was strong and well put together, and the author seems to have really found her niche. There was a really interesting element of Past Life Regression in the story, and even though I would have personally liked to have read more about this, I did enjoy how this created a heartwarming twist. I hoped there would be more of this good stuff to come in book two, as well as some answers to a few of my burning questions. A great book with a ton of life lessons, beautiful language and a huge dollop of lust!
A big thank you to the author, J.B Lexington for my copy of this book to read and review! You can grab your own copy of Forever Eve from Amazon, available on Kindle and paperback. Make sure you follow the author on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates!