Published by Maroli SP Imprints on December 2nd 2014
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Thrown back to the year 1897, Victoria Ashton is mistaken for, and forced to impersonate, the spiteful, unfaithful Countess of Guildford, who's been missing for three weeks. Despite Victoria's attempts to convince the earl she's not his wife, her double's infidelity and lies make it difficult, especially when Victoria falls in love with a man who loathes her.
Nicholas Thornhill, Earl of Guildford, is plagued with rumors he murdered his missing wife. When she unexpectedly reappears, he scoffs at her latest in a long string of lies. But the changes in Victoria make him to alter his opinion as he forges a bond with her that crosses the boundaries of time.
The fixation Nicholas Barrows has on a certain portrait in his gallery comes in the form of a person one day when Victoria Ashton walks in. An explosion however, sees her thrown back in time about a hundred years ago, straight into the aristocratic ranks of late Victorian England and into the arms of a husband whom ‘she’ had taken great delight in humiliating. The narrative switches back and forth between 1898 and the present time, thought the bulk of time is spent unfurling Nicholas’s and Victoria’s conflicting relationship in the past.
Reading Forever Mine is a solid read, a revisit of the epically sweeping time-travel romances of yesteryear, where the relationship between 2 star-crossed lovers is prioritised above the flaky science of time travel and the unanswered questions of reincarnation and past lives – which are only hinted at by the author. (Where really, is the dead body of ‘Vickie’, for instance, is that merely a figment of Victoria’s memory?)
Despite the loose strings and the slight suspense which I found unsatisfactorily resolved, Monica Burns does manage to write a wholly poignant and heart-wrenching tale of lovers lost and reunited. I wasn’t exactly convinced or moved by Nick/Victoria’s present-day, slightly rushed reunion which seemed almost anti-climatic, but the last few angsty pages definitely added a subtle sheen of emotional complexity that has been lacking of such stories of late.