Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Review: Forever and Forever by Josi S. Kilpack

Forever and Forever by Josi S. Kilpack

Book Description:

It’s 1836, and nineteen-year-old Fanny Appleton, a privileged daughter of a wealthy, upper-class Boston industrialist, is touring Europe with her family. Like many girls of her day, she enjoys the fine clothes, food, and company of the elite social circles. But unlike her peers, Fanny is also drawn to education, literature, and more intellectual pursuits. Published author and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is also touring Europe, but under much different circumstances. Recently widowed, he is gathering research for a new publication that he hope will secure his professorship at Harvard College. Befriended by the Appleton family while visiting Switzerland, Henry is introduced to Fanny and sees in her a kindred spirit, a lover of language and literature and high ideals. He is in love. Fanny, however, is uncertain. He is from a much lower social class and is older than she is. How could such a relationship ever thrive? Could a book of Henry’s poetry, personally delivered, persuade Fanny to believe in a love that lasts forever and forever?

My Thoughts:

Although I've studied his works, I never learned much about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's background--his hopes, dreams, and loves that place his writing in context. I loved getting to know these things about him. I especially connected with the reviews and reactions to his writing in his time.

At times, I wished there had been more of the book from his perspective because I wanted to know a little more why he was so compelled to love a woman who was, at times, hard to like. Curious why Kilpack wrote Fanny the way she did, I read the notes in the back of the book and did some internet research and found that, while not always a sympathetic character, Kilpack seems to have portrayed Fanny honestly. Despite this, there were times that I liked Fanny, so ultimately I longed for them to be together.

In the end, it was worth it, seeing the change in Fanny, though I wished I could have seen more of the tenderness between the two of them at the end of the book--maybe drawing out the last few scenes a little for this reader's satisfaction. Perhaps some of the family's reaction to their change in relationship might have been nice as well, and I couldn't help but want to know if she ever learned German.

I had not known about this couple's courtship and very much enjoyed learning about them--bringing them to life. I hope there are more books based on historical figures to come!

Forever and Forever by Josi S. Kilpack

is available in Paperback & eBook