Saturday, June 29, 2013

Forever Promised

"Forever Promised" by Amy Lane

Beautiful and loving ending to my favorite series

Very Highly Recommended

There’s this bittersweet feeling that comes with completing something you love. Whether it’s a task at work, a knitting project, building a cabinet—for me it’s usually associated with reading or writing. One of the first books I ever read in the male/male genre was Keeping Promise Rock, and I became an instant Amy Lane fan. She’s who I want to be when I grow up, and now to be able to review the fourth, and last, Promise book overwhelms me.

I want to do it justice, and I know I won’t be able to, but here’s my best shot.

At my dad’s house, and I imagine at most family’s homes, there are two special seats. One is for the head of the family. It’s usually the patriarch, like my dad, but sometimes it’s the revered female also. At my house, it’s my dad. He’s ninety years old, and we—all eight of us kids and the grandkids and great-grandkids and now soon to be a great-great-grandson—look to him before we do anything. It’s how it should be, forever and ever, amen.

Then there’s the emotional head of the family. Since my mom passed away in 2000, that role has mostly been filled by my sister Diane. Not Big Diane, but Little Diane. See, I have two sisters named Diane. Remember, I am from the south, and everything we do comes with a story here. My mom and dad were both married before—my dad was divorced and has three kids from his first marriage, and my mom was widowed with three daughters before they married and had me and my younger brother. And they both had daughters named Diane, and yeah, the older was Big Diane and the younger Little Diane.

Well, in Amy Lane’s world, Deacon is the head of the family. He’s the one that the family turns to, the dad, the sun that all the planets of his collected brothers and sisters circle. He’s been the center of the series, and he’s my perfect man. Stubborn as nails and loyal to a fault, he puts the family first, always.

Then there’s the seat at the other end of the dining room table. And most would think it’s Crick, or Benny, but it’s not. In this book, it’s Mikhail. See, I can’t call him Mickey, because I don’t want my arms yanked off like a fly, and I’m not quite family, as much as I want to be. I know it will surprise many, but trust me, here, it’s Mikhail.

Forever Promised opens with Benny, and appropriately enough, ends with Benny. In between, we have love, life, death, marriage, and all the little things that form the fabric of our lives. And oh, have these things been woven into a tapestry that took my breath away. Every single player was represented here. All of this wonderful, beautiful family has their moment in the sun. But three stand out for me.

Deacon, as always, has my heart. His family gets to give back to him as they haven’t before. There is one scene with Jon—I had to put my book down and walk it off. It was that…transcendent.

Mikhail. Now I love the little man, and have since I saw his snitty little butt make an entrance on the second book. But here, oh God, he takes my breath away. I fell in love with him so hard, and I wanted to wrap him up in cotton and carry him away.

And Benny. It’s so clich├ęd, but our little girl grew up. In such a big, heart-stopping way. And I fell a little in love with her too.

I don’t want to give the plot away, since this book deserves to be savored. I will say, if it has to end, this was the way to do it.

Amy Lane has had my heart for a couple of years now, and she broke it a little, roughed it up, but then wrote this love letter to grace and care, love and family, and healed it. Such damned fine writing, and with her hand on the rudder, I’d sail to any port with her.

Amazing. Simply amazing.