Tuesday, November 29, 2016

ARC Review: When Forever Ended (Camassia Cove, #2) by Cara Dee

At ten years old, Kelly and I were two rambunctious boys who carved our initials into a tree in the forest. We promised to be best friends forever and bumped our fists to seal the deal. I never should've kissed him that summer before college. It was a day that buried me in shame, a day I spent the next twenty-four years regretting, a day I never told anyone about.

At forty-three, depression was suffocating me. Not even my wife and two children could lift the heavy fog. I was riddled with guilt and self-hatred, and I was starting to realize that I would slowly fade away until nothing remained. Then one day, Kelly was back in town.

10% of the proceeds will be donated to Hope For Depression.

(All novels taking place in Camassia Cove are standalone.)

Jewel's rating:

Cara Dee sure knows how to make a story feel relevant and real. The issue of severe depression is handled with great care and is heartbreaking to watch. Cara Dee has become one of my favorite authors in a very short period of time and she's an auto-buy for me.

William Calvert and Kelly Oakley are both 43. They were born on the same day and they grew up together and were inseparable until William acted on his feelings for Kelly after they graduated high school. The fallout from that event scarred them both deeply and William was more than hurt by Kelly's rejection. He was devastated. And between that and his own parents' homophobia, William suppressed his bisexuality for more than two decades. But he struggles more and more with living the lie his life has become. He never told his wife that he was also attracted to men and he never told her, or his kids, about Kelly or the real reason behind Brady's middle name. And, periodically, severe depression and self-loathing take their toll and each time it is tougher for William to climb out of the hole.

William has been married to Lissa for about twenty years. They have two children, Brady who is 18 and Aurora who is 13 that neither would trade for anything. And for the first 10 years or so, William was happy. He struggled, some, but he was happy. And Lissa was always steadfast, even when William would tell her she should bail, because he really isn't worth the trouble. I kind of wish she was more unreasonable, but the truth is, she was supportive. But all we really see of Lissa is her in her caretaker role. Their kids were quite supportive as well. And what I really loved about Brady is that even though his family was breaking apart, he saw past his own hurt and really just wanted his father to be happy and healthy. I found that so admirable. Both Brady and Kelly's son, Matt, are really amazing young men.

Kelly, also has struggled with depression, but not to the degree that William has. And once Kelly finally came out to his son, Matt, things got easier for him. But even still, he knows what it's like to hate yourself and what goes on in your head with you're struggling with depression. When he decided to move back to Camassia Cove, in hopes of reconnecting with Will, he wasn't sure what he'd find. He wasn't expecting, though, to find William married, with two kids. Kelly wants to be in William's life in any capacity that William will allow, though, and he's determined to at least be a friend. Kelly is filled with regret about leaving Will behind and though he wouldn't trade his son for anything, a part of him still wonders what would have happened if they would have stayed together.

What I love about Cara Dee's books is that the people all feel so real - primary and secondary, alike, they are just so well drawn. These people are living their lives and have very real struggles, and they make mistakes, and sometimes people get hurt in the process. And part of that journey entails making amends and doing what you can to become a better person.

When Forever Ended is that kind of book. It's heavy and heart-breaking in so many ways. And our MC's definitely make mistakes. This is pointed out in plenty reviews, already, but <spoiler removed>. I'm not sure I've read two characters that were more meant for each other than William and Kelly. Their connection is so strong, even after a 24 year separation, that it can probably be seen from space.

While When Forever Ended is the second book in the Camassia Cove series, it reads as a standalone. I highly recommend both books, though, so you can start with either one.


ARC of When Forever Ended was generously provided, by the author, in exchange for an honest review.

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