Brenda Jackson’s Tonight and Forever is an Arabesque romance from 1995 that follows the story of Lorren Jacobs and Justin Madaris. The book explores themes of healing and the power of love.
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, Sweet Savage Flame earns a small percentage from qualifying purchases.Tonight and Forever by Brenda Jackson
Imprint or Line: Arabesque Romance; Kimani Romance
Book Series: Madaris Family Series #1
Published by: Kimani, Harlequin, Arabesque, Pinnacle
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance, Black or Afro American Romance
Format: Paperback, eBook
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader
SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊
Brenda Jackson‘s Tonight and Forever is her first book and the first in her long-running Madaris family series. This is a Pinnacle Arabesque contemporary romance from 1995. Technically, This was a “category romance line,” but they’re not numbered—at least, not to my knowledge. I read the e-book version, as I wasn’t fortunate enough to nab an original copy of Tonight and Forever.
Tonight and Forever‘s heroine, Lorren Jacobs, has left behind her past in California. Now, she’s returned to her roots in Texas. A bad marriage led to a bitter divorce. So, all she wants is to be with the people she loves and focus on her career. Lorren is a writer of 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 keeps 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. This caused a hard shell to form around her as far as men were 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 comes to terms with his first wife’s death and that he can love again.
Final Analysis of Tonight and Forever
Tonight and Forever is a fairly simple romance with a fairly simple plot. Brenda Jackson’s writing is solid, more or less what one might expect from a first book. What propels Tonight and Forever into a “better than good” zone is it’s not simply 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. She’s peppered this novel with plenty of side characters who later get their own stories. I’m interested in reading more about them.