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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Review: Sweet Forever

Sweet Forever
by Ceri Hebert

Torn between the home she loves and the man she’s falling in love with, Hayden must decide which one she will leave behind.

When Hayden Merrick travels to meet her grandmother for the first time, she doesn’t expect to find the father who abandoned her or a man who could prove to be the love of her life.

There hadn’t been much time for romance in Ben’s Winslow’s life and no woman has interested him enough until Hayden arrived at his neighbor’s home. As soon as he meets her, Ben believes she could be the woman he’s always hoped for, but he has to convince her life could be just as sweet on the prairie as on the coast.

Hayden’s plans to return to her home are put on hold as she struggles with a difficult decision—pursue a life in South Dakota or return to the one she’s loved at the edge of the ocean? Ben hopes he can give her the best of both worlds.
Hayden and Ben’s story jumps off the page, helped by Ceri Hebert’s extraordinary ability to create fascinating settings and populate them with equally real and compelling characters.

Whether the scenes are set in South Dakota or on the coast of Maine, both the landscape and populations are captured perfectly. The setting provides an intriguing background for the dramatic changes that both Hayden and Ben experience.

The town of Burton, South Dakota, is populated with characters that absolutely come to life. They are complex, and each one left me wanting to know more. Sally, Hayden’s scheming cousin, is pathetic as well as cunning, and this is part of what makes the story that much more believable. There are no villains here – instead, the circumstances of life become the true antagonist, which is certainly something that most readers can relate to. From the outset, we’re encouraged to see all sides of many issues, and this makes the novel delightfully ambiguous and real.

I ended the book wanting several of these characters as friends, and I was thrilled when the H/H were able to overcome their obstacles.

The plot twists are many and surprising and it’s both compelling and humorous to see Hayden and Ben step outside their respective comfort zones again and again. These characters are revealed slowly and deliciously and the pacing is excellent.

Ceri Hebert is a simply elegant writer and will, I’m sure, become immensely popular. I give her novel 4.5 books and hope that she will continue to give us many more excellent stories.


Reviewed by Sunflower.