Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Frankie and Tommy once dreamed of traveling the world together. But when seventeen-year-old Frank kissed Tom, their plans ended with a punch to the jaw and Frank leaving town without looking back. Thirty years later, Frank’s successful career as a journalist is interrupted by his uncle’s death and the question of his inheritance—the family resort where his childhood dreams were built. When he returns to the Pocono Mountains, however, he finds a dilapidated lodge and Tommy, the boy he never forgot.
Tom’s been keeping the resort together with spit and glue while caring for Frank’s uncle, Robert—a man he considered father, mentor, and friend—and his aged mother, who he refuses to leave behind. Now Robert is gone, taking Tom’s job with him. And Frank is on the doorstep, wanting to know why Tom is still there and why the old lodge is falling apart.
But before they can rebuild the resort, they’ll have to rebuild their friendship. Only then can they renew the forever they planned all those years ago
Kelly Jensen has another warmhearted winner of a contemporary romance in Renewing Forever, the second in her This Time Forever series. This time, instead of a decades old one family home, Jensen looks to frame her story around a family resort high in the Pocono Mountains that has seen better days and the men whose lives were and are grounded in its foundations and woods.
I’ve always felt that houses, especially older ones, have a life of their own, one made over years of habitation, wear, care, and the impressions of the people who have pressed their personalities and lives upon their structures, until they almost give off a feeling of their own when you enter them. Fanciful notions? Maybe. But Kelly Jensen’s resort has the power to pull one man back and to keep one man safely tied to the dreams it represents, past, present, and future. And with her vivid descriptions and ability to create painful scenes of a resort on the edge of heartbreaking neglect and foreclosure, she contrasts that with memories of a place brimming over with promise, joy, and, love.
In many ways, this is a novel that has layers of time, past, present, and a flickering hope of the future that shrouded by a mystery. What happened all those years ago that divided these men? As the story climbs towards the answer, we get flashbacks to the their past, and each boys background and history. Then we move forward to the present as they awkwardly deal with the fact that Frank now owns the resort that Tom has been living in and keeping together for all these years.
The men, their relationship, their friends, the dynamics between them all are all rendered realistically. It’s complicated, as they say because of old romances and misec up feelings have a way of playing havoc when trying to sort out a truth. Kelly Jensen gets that muddy nature of life, especially at a older age with more emotional baggage to haul around.
There’s plenty of angst, hurt/comfort here, the serious nature of homelessness to deal with, and issues of trust. Not exactly a lighthearted romance but the depth of the issues is mirrored by the depth of the characterizations and setting. It’s a conglomeration of narrative wonder.
I thought that ending was just about right for these two men, such a beautiful way to go into the future.
This Time Forever series has given us a remarkable home, a memorable resort, and what? What is next in this series? I can’t wait to find out.
I highly recommend this story, this series, and yes, this author. They are all amazing.
Cover art: Natasha Snow. I love this cover artist but honestly wish there was a little aging to this house. It’s not how I pictured this resort in the Pocono Mountains surrounded by the woods. It does fit in with the branding of the series.
Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon
ebook, 285 pages
Published November 12th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Edition Language English
Series This Time Forever