It's 1836, and nineteen-year-old Fanny Appleton, a privileged daughter of a wealthy, upper-class Boston industrialist, is touring Europe with her family. Like many girls of her day, she enjoys the fine clothes, food, and company of the elite social circles. But unlike her peers, Fanny is also drawn to education, literature, and more intellectual pursuits.Published author and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is also touring Europe, but under much different circumstances. Recently widowed, he is gathering research for a new publication that he hopes will secure his professorship at Harvard College.Befriended by the Appleton family while visiting Switzerland, Henry is introduced to Fanny and sees in her a kindred spirit, a lover of language and literature and high ideals. He is in love. Fanny, however, is uncertain. He is from a much lower social class and is older than she is. How could such a relationship ever thrive?Could a book of Henry's poetry, personally delivered, persuade Fanny to believe in a love that lasts forever and forever?
I am not a fan of poetry at all, so when I saw that this book was about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the idea of it didn't really excite me, but I have enjoyed all the other proper romance books I've read, so I decided to give this one a try.
When you're writing a historical novel, there are only so many liberties you can take with the story. Sadly, there's just not a whole lot that happens in this book. There's a whole lot of talking. And more talking. And, yes, even more talking. Maybe rich people back then just didn't have much else to do. The beginning of the book, when they were touring Europe was more interesting, because I enjoyed reading about the different locations, but once Fanny and Henry returned to Boston, things slowed way down. Because of that, this story kind of dragged on for me. I didn't dislike it, it just wasn't something that kept my attention for a very long time. I did find the time line at the end of the book fascinating though.
I was unsure what to think about this new Historical Proper Romance line when I heard about it. I'm somewhat familiar with Longfellow's writing, but I haven't ever considered his inspiration or the relationships he had.
It took me awhile to start reading, but once I did I read fairly quickly. The European Tour was interesting. It's hard to imagine a family traveling for such a long time, especially when you consider work back home. The lifestyle is definitely not one I can relate to.
The relationship is quite drawn out and Fannie's attitude made her somewhat unlikeable. It ended quite sweetly though, so be patient (and perhaps consider ignoring the timeline-that was a downer).
Kilpack is a very good author and I thought she did this story justice. I learned a lot.
I'm very happy that they are continuing with the proper romance line. Good clean romances are sadly hard to come by, so I'm glad Shadow Mountain is continuing with this.
Writing a Historical romance must be very very difficult because there is only so much you can deviate from actual history. And while Henry Longfellow appears to have had a hard life fighting depression and things, sadly it doesn't make for the type of story that you want to pick up and devour. All that being said, the writing is solid, and the characters are well done. Honestly I can understand Fanny's choices from the very beginning and whether or not she made those choices for the reasons the author had her making them, it definitely makes sense to me :)
Title: Forever and Forever
Author: Josi S. Kilpack
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: April 2016
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.
Purchase: Amazon Deseret Book