Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Kathryn Shay - Always and Forever

In ALWAYS AND FOREVER, a contemporary romance, Patrick O’Neil has always taken his responsibilities to heart. The first sibling in a passionate Irish family, he’s there for his four Irish brothers and sister to listen, console and sometimes give them a swift kick in the butt. But his relationship with his wife Brie has been tumultuous from day one, and it hasn’t changed in nearly twenty years. Both bear scars from their past. 
Though their marriage is in jeopardy, when Brie finds herself in the most terrifying situation of her life, it’s Pat she needs during and after the ordeal. Back-dropped by New York City, an authentic Irish Pub in Greenwich Village, the politics and romance in Washington D.C, this family saga will tug at your heartstrings and keep your pulse pounding. 
Edgy, sexy and emotional, the conclusion to the O’Neil series will surprise the reader in its emotional intensity and unique plot-line.

Comment: This is the 5th installment in the O'Neill series by author Kathryn Shay. I liked the previous books in general, that is why I decided to read this one, although the main theme wasn't one I tend to look for - a married couple dealing with issues.
Nevertheless, I wanted to finish the series...

 In this book we have the story of the oldest O'Neill sibling, the one who has always been there for his brothers and sister and who seems to have a deeper sense of black and white. 
Patrick is a family man and he loves his wife and children, as well as his whole family. However, his relationship with his wife hasn't always been the easiest and there was a time things weren't  easy between them. Despite their highs and lows, they have stuck together. But can the weight of the professional lives and the expectations of their marriage cause them to become more distant than united? And when something frightening happens, can they be each other's support?

Based on what we see of Patrick and Brie - the main couple of this story - in the other books, I thought this one would be a little boring since they are an established couple so the "fun" of first love/falling in love wouldn't be there and I feared the author might emphasize how their relationship developed in the past instead and, usually, that isn't something I like reading about.

In fact, their relationship takes central stage in this story but thankfully for me, the secondary characters are always close by and I'm glad to say that this book worked out for me because there was plenty to focus on besides Patrick and Brie.
It was actually very sweet to have some updates on the other siblings' lives and of their marriages.

As for Patrick and Brie... now this book is finished, I can't say I was really into them as a couple. I can understand why they became a couple and how they created their own solid family but there's something about them, even putting the stress of family life aside, that didn't make me as invested in them as I was in the other couples.
I liked Brie really tried to be a career woman, someone who dedicated herself to her job and her professional side. I can imagine how difficult that is to accomplish while being a wife and mother but it did seem the couple had that in hand. 
In fact, it seemed a little off weird why was there a problem to begin with, but Patrick was a little pushed into the whole jealousy path but in his interactions with Brie that wasn't always as obvious. I don't think their relationship needed this obstacle...

This book also has another sub plot on going, related to something that happens to Brie at some point. This situation causes some anxiety and worry among the whole cast and the author chose to develop this as a sort of mystery. The doubts in who might be the culprit were quite well achieved, I think, although I rarely tend to guess who the "bad guy" is. When we find out, the reasons are so... flimsy that I could, sincerely, ignore it and push it aside.
Besides, the purpose was to highlight how Brie loves Patrick and thought of him in a time of need. Unnecessary tactics, though (for me) to showcase this little element of the marriage in trouble trope...

In the end all was well, as one can imagine. It actually made me think why was there a problem in the first place... Anyway, the main couple talked and made up, the secondary characters all played their parts and we even had an extra sugary epilogue to really display the happiness of everyone.
Grade: 7/10

Side note: I thought, well this is, another series ended but then I checked GR and there's another book, after this one really tying everything neatly!
I read the blurb and now I'm thinking, how will the author explain this in a believable manner... but I'll read it nevertheless, to see if it was a good or a bad decision to keep up with the series after such a wrap up end in this book.

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