Hi everyone! So today I’m reviewing The Forever Stone by Gloria Repp, which I kindly received from the author and Booktasters. Our protagonist is Madeline aka Mollie, a young widow who escapes her pain and horrendous family to live with her aunt in Pine Barrens, New Jersey. There she helps Aunt Lin with cleaning out an old manor and attempting to restore it. She also begins to make friends in her new home, and maybe a potential love interest or two.
Repp’s writing is very evocative, especially when it came to describing Pine Barrens. She captured this small town and its inhabitants, and I found her word choice and imagery engaging. There is a lot of religious imagery used but I didn’t find it overbearing or distracting. The beginning of the novel is slow paced, which will put off some readers. I liked it as it gave me the opportunity to know Mollie and her plight better. I could connect with her more, knowing her background – though some information is revealed later in the plot. She is quite an interesting figure who has led a difficult few years at the beginning of the book, so it is nice to see how she changes throughout.
However, I did have a couple of issues. You know at the beginning of this review I mentioned a love interest or two? There’s three (potentially a fourth). Whilst I am a sucker for a good love triangle, the number of men seemed too much. One of the men, Timothy, appears as a father-figure to Mollie, but that only became apparent later in the novel. At a couple of points I couldn’t remember which guy was who. I also found some of the drama in Pine Barrens a bit far-fetched. The Forever Stone is marketed as a romance novel, but then we have arson, theft, and murder all get mentioned. The plot became really cluttered and a wee bit OTT. It didn’t help that all the things mentioned occur within the second half of the book, contrasting with the beginning’s slow pace. Whilst Repp does tie up all the plot strands by the end, it did feel a bit messy.
The Forever Stone was an enjoyable read. I found the character of Mollie really interesting and Repp’s writing is excellent. The plot could have been more streamlined, but since this is a first book in a trilogy maybe these events/characters will reoccur. But this was a really sweet, summer read.
The Forever Stone is published independently and you can find more information here.