Tuesday, October 17, 2017 / No comments

Book Review: Can't Buy Forever by Susan Laffoon

Page Publishing Inc
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, opinions, and ramblings are my own.

Book: Can't Buy Forever
Author: Susan Laffoon
Genre: Fiction
Subgenre: Romance, historical fiction

Can't Buy Forever is the story of nineteen Odessa Drake (who hates her name: one part Swan Princess, other part ugly duckling), living in 1950's upper New York state, with her aunt who runs a lodging house mostly occupied by workers from the nearby mine. Odessa, despite thinking herself an ugly duckling, from her description and the way other male characters act around her, seems to be just as beautiful as the Swan Princess. At her Aunt Flo's lodge a few years before, she meets the mysterious dark haired Nicholas, with piercing blue eyes that seem to change shades as his mood changes. Everyone seems to love and trust him, pronouncing him a good guy and perfect for Odessa, despite the pretty substantial age gap of being four years older than her. Making friends with everyone and always being kind and helpful, Nicholas seems wise beyond his years, but hesitant to start a relationship with Odessa (even though the way they act and touch each other seems like they're in a relationship, but it's made very clear that they are not, despite everyone's approval by way of knowing glances). Things start changing though when Roark, a local boy in town seems to be obsessed with Odessa and his hellbent on having her all to himself. From there, secrets are revealed about Nicholas and the love between him and Odessa as they must go on the run, and the history between Nicholas' and Roark's feuding families.

The premise for the book going in was somewhat unclear to me and even more unclear as I was actually reading it. I knew it was a love story between the innocent and lovely Odessa, and the older, perfect Nicholas. But the author threw in numerous story-lines and plot points including an immortality and gypsy curse story-line, along with the history of the newly founded Mormon Church moving to Utah in the 1800's, that I'm not at all quite sure how to exactly describe the book. Is this book strictly romance, or is a mix of magic and fantasy with not-so-subtle religious undertones? Or all of the above?

While I didn't mind Odessa and Nicholas as a couple, I just felt like despite all of the history and obvious multiple descriptions of their pure love and yearning for one another (their intense love for each other is the only way I could imagine that Nicholas could sense where Odessa was when she was scared or hurt. Or maybe it was part of the Gypsy curse...?), those two characters and their love story weren't compelling at all and just fell flat for me. Despite thinking of herself as insecure, Odessa was still pretty much perfect and everyone found her pretty and lovely, and Nicholas, with his worldly, but generous heart, seemed to just be so overprotective of Odessa that instead of trusting her with information about himself and the danger he was in,  kept it to himself to protect her (oh, but he did tell other people so they could protect her when he wasn't there. Makes sense). So overprotective of her that a twist (more like a familial switcheroo) that comes at the end of the book seems downright bizarre and not at all romantic like it was described, and almost somehow cancels out the love story that we took with Nicholas and Odessa.

The story itself (or multiple backstories) seems to meander in many aimless directions throughout he book. The author throws in so much information, history, and characters (So. Many. Characters! And of course, they all love Odessa and Nicholas. Well, most of them), that it all seems a bit too jumbled and confused and we never truly get a good payoff for a lot of the dramatic plots. What could have been an interesting story line of trying to remove a Gypsy curse is instead almost forgotten until the end when it resolved without anyone truly knowing. Instead we get multiple story changes and breaks with newly introduced characters that are either friends or foes of Nicholas and Odessa, nowhere in-between. And pretty much every character introduced finds or has a romantic partner, as if almost every character has to have a happy ending, just like the perfect couple Odessa and Nicholas hopefully will.

I felt like Can't Buy Forever was too all over the place for my taste, and the writing, while not the greatest, was descriptive (sometimes a little too descriptive) and made the story move along in a choppy sort of way. I think if you're into clean (no bad language or sexual references at all), somewhat religious (the Mormon undertones were fairly obvious) romance novels, then you'll probably love this book. I think the novel could have had a lot of potential to actually be a story I would have liked (maybe if they had explored the actual Gypsy story-line and went back to Europe, and brought more of that magic and fantasy quality to it), but in all honestly wasn't my type of book. There were just too many pieces to the puzzle and not all of them fit to make a cohesive and entertaining story for me.

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What did you all think of my newest book review? It wasn't my cup of tea, but how did the plot/story line sound to you? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay Weird,
Emily


Where to Buy:
Amazon

Goodreads:
Can't Buy Forever


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