MILD SPOILERS 😉
3 1/2 Stars
Brenda Jackson’s Tonight and Forever is her first published book and the first in her long-running series of the Madaris family. It’s a Pinnacle Arabesque romance from 1995, which are category romances but are not numbered, at least not to my knowledge.
Plot And Characters
Lorren Jacobs has left behind her past in California to return to her roots in Texas. After a bad marriage led to a bitter divorce, all she wants is to be with the people she loves and focus on her career of writing children’s books. At a party, the successful doctor Justin Madaris catches sight of her and is instantly smitten. Lorren is a beautiful woman, and receiving male attention is natural, but she wants none of that. Especially not from handsome men like Justin Madaris.
While Lorren had an unhappy marriage to a horrible man, Justin is a widower of ten years. His marriage was happy, but sadly, his wife is dead. Justin, however, is still in the realm of the living and is willing to live and love. He’s a mature man in touch with his feelings, not one who lets his feelings control him. However, he does have a sort of rosy, idealized version of his first wife and does keep a token from her. Usually, I’m not too fond of the dead wife trope, but I didn’t feel that Justin was mourning his wife to the exclusion of living in the present. He’s obviously attracted to Lorren and willing to have a relationship with her.
Justin pursues Lorren. Lorren is attracted to the good doctor, but she’s unsure. Her husband hurt her with lies about her inadequacy in the bedroom, which caused a hard shell to form around her as far as men are concerned. But Justin is gentle in his courtship. Lorren’s hesitancy could get a little off-putting, but if, as a reader, you enjoy a kind, sensitive hero who doesn’t force his way over the heroine, you’ll love Justin.
Parts from Lorren’s past make a reappearance to cause trouble. Justin, in a way, has to come to terms that the future is now with Lorren and not with a past that’s gone forever.
Final Analysis of Tonight and Forever
This is a fairly simple romance with a fairly simple plot. The writing is good, but what might one expect from a first book. What propels Tonight and Forever into a “better than good” zone is that it isn’t just a romance about the healing power of love. It’s a book about the power of love itself.
Jackson has since gone on to author over 100 works of fiction. I’m interested in reading more of her work, especially as she’s peppered this book with plenty of side characters you know are getting stories of their own.
Reviewed by Introvert Reader