Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Forever Girl by Jill Shalvis
Narrator: Erin Mallon
Series: Wildstone #6
Published by HarperAudio on January 12, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 9 hours, 17 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
When Maze returns to Wildstone for the wedding of her estranged bff and the sister of her heart, it’s also a reunion of a once ragtag team of teenagers who had only each other until a tragedy tore them apart and scattered them wide.
Now as adults together again in the lake house, there are secrets and resentments mixed up in all the amazing childhood memories. Unexpectedly, they instantly fall back into their roles: Maze their reckless leader, Cat the den mother, Heather the beloved baby sister, and Walker, a man of mystery.
Life has changed all four of them in immeasurable ways. Maze and Cat must decide if they can rebuild their friendship, and Maze discovers her long-held attraction to Walker hasn’t faded with the years but has only grown stronger.
The books in the Wildstone series don’t seem to have much connection as far as characters or even locations, so you don’t really have to read them in order. There is a romance or two in each, with much more of a life fiction feel.
Maze is a classic Shalvis girl, full of insecurity and a heart of gold. Walker is actually, the same. As foster kids, they have both been left and work hard not to love anybody again who could hurt them, or leave them. The whole bunch is brought together for Cat’s wedding. Cat is thrilled to have her family together after a few years of everyone off hiding their problems.
Now, a lot of things could have been straightened out more quickly with some adult conversation. I sort of hate that but it is realistic, people don’t want to be vulnerable. These folks are a mess. Cat had a break down of sorts and Dillon was there for her. But now he’s a dick, and his mother is a bitch. Heather has a two year old, only Walker knew about the baby. Maze has isolated herself and estranged herself from Cat’s parents. Walker has been shot and yet trying to be there for all of them, even if they don’t know it.
I enjoy the talk between the members of this “family” and the support they give each other. They do some real soul searching about what they want in their lives. There is a pregnancy scare. Everyone of them is looking hard at what they really want in their future.
Walker knows what he wants and works toward it but he’s not willing to be vulnerable. Maze knows what she wants but doesn’t believe she can have it or deserves it. Cat is not sure she wants what she thought she wanted. Heather is finally handling her life and ready for love. They are start out struggling, but they make some real progress.
While they grapple to figure it out, we get to laugh and cry and hope and cheer for them. I loved this story and I want to see just a bit more of the future but that’s unlikely the way this series is written. Shalvis needs to write a Wildstone holiday story with vignettes of all our favorite Wildstone people and what’s happening with them for the holiday.
Erin Mallon is a popular narrator and I have enjoyed her performance throughout this series. Her male and female characters are differentiated in each book. The male and female voices do sound the same as characters from another book though. I really enjoy the husky quality of her male voices. I chose to listen at 1.4x speed, just a little slower than normal.
Listen to a clip:
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