Thursday, January 12, 2017

"Never Forget" by Jody Hedlund

Oh, my. Let me just ask, where is my Nathaniel Winthrop? One of my fellow book bloggers likes to talk about her book boyfriends. Well, I'd like to make Nathaniel, hero of Never Forget, mine!

Rose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Island

June 1880

Will she betray his trust to stay on the island she loves?

Abbie Wilson is content to spend her days clamming, crabbing, and tending Rose Island Lighthouse. Her grandpa is the head light keeper, but his senility may lead to their eviction. Since leaving the island would kill her beloved Gramps, Abbie will do anything to keep him in the one place he knows and loves.

Wealthy Nathaniel Winthrop III’s wild living has gained him a reputation as the ‘bad boy’ among the elite social circles of Newport. After a blow to the head in a yachting accident washes him up on Rose Island, Nathaniel has no memories of his past.

Abbie tends the wounded stranger in her home only to realize he assumes they’re married. Although she knows she needs to correct Nathaniel’s mistake, his presence calms Gramps and provides a way to prevent eviction from the lighthouse.

The longer the charade continues, the harder it gets for Abbie to tell Nathaniel the truth, more so as she begins to fall in love. Everyone she’s ever loved has abandoned her. Will Nathaniel leave her too, once he discovers he’s not really her husband?

Never Forget is the fifth and final book in Jody Hedlund's Beacons of Hope series. (It can be read as a stand alone novel.) It features Nathaniel Winthrop, Victoria Cole's spurned fiancé from Forever Safe. In that novel, I thought Nathaniel was probably a pretty nice guy. Well, his life spiraled out of control in the intervening time between the novels, and the opening of Never Forget finds him as an alcoholic playboy. He doesn't stay that way for long, though, as he ends up falling off his yacht during a storm and washing up on the shores of Rose Island ... with amnesia. He's found by Abbie, a woman desperate to remain on the island, as it's the only place her grandfather, the longtime light keeper now stricken with dementia, is happy.

Abbie's husband Nate, who was the official assistant keeper, disappeared several months previously, and when the lighthouse superintendent Davis shows up just after Abbie finds Nathaniel, Abbie allows him to believe that Nathaniel is Nate. Since Nathaniel has lost his memory, when he overhears Abbie talking with Mr. Davis, he believes that he truly is her husband, and he sets out to prove that he can be a better man.

Over the course of a few weeks, Abbie and Nathaniel build a relationship ... a relationship that Nathaniel believes is real but Abbie knows is based on a lie. There's a lot of tension in that knowledge, and I often wanted to shake Abbie and tell her to just confess already! Yet I also understood what drove her to keep silent: her fear that they would have to leave the island, causing her grandfather to descend farther into his illness.

There are plenty of swoony moments in Never Forget, and I loved watching Nathaniel's pursuit of Abbie. As I look back on Nathaniel's story, I can't help but think of Brandon Heath's "I'm Not Who I Was." The Nathaniel at the beginning of the novel and the Nathaniel at the end are two very different men, but his journey is wholly believable.

Abbie and Nathaniel's love faces several obstacles (not the least of which is the fact that their relationship is based on a lie!), including one I saw coming a mile away. This particular obstacle is resolved rather ... um ... conveniently, though there's also a final—and satisfying—twist that I didn't anticipate. And it's pretty easy to overlook any faults in the story because it's just so enjoyable!

Never Forget is a wonderful, swoon-worthy romance full of Biblical truth. I highly recommend it! 4-1/2 stars.

Buy the book.

Read my reviews of Hedlund's Beacons of Hope novels
Hearts Made Whole (5 stars), Undaunted Hope (4 stars), and Forever Safe (4-1/2 stars); the Michigan Brides novels Unending Devotion (5 stars) and A Noble Groom (5 stars); and her YA books The Vow (4 stars), An Uncertain Choice (5 stars), and A Daring Sacrifice (4-1/2 stars).

Enter the giveaway:
To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away the entire Beacons of Hope series. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Follow the tour:
January 10: Reading Is My SuperPower
January 10: Karen Sue Hadley
January 10: Bookworm Mama
January 11: Faithfully Bookish
January 11: Inklings and Notions
January 11: Blossoms and Blessings
January 12: Smiling Book Reviews
January 12: Genesis 5020
January 12: Christian Chick’s Thoughts
January 13: God’s Little Bookworm
January 13: The Scribbler
January 13: Bibliophile Reviews
January 14: Daysong Reflections
January 14: Blogging With Carol
January 14: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
January 15: Moments Dipped in Ink
January 15: Books. Books. And More Books.
January 16: A Greater Yes
January 16: Bigreadersite
January 17: Connie’s History Classroom
January 17: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
January 18: Book by Book
January 18: Jeanette’s Thoughts
January 19: Carpe Diem
January 19: A Bakers Perspective
January 19: Splashes of Joy
January 20: Christian Bookaholic
January 20: Stuff and Nonsense
January 20: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
January 21: Radiant Light
January 21: cherylbbookblog
January 21: His Grace is Sufficient
January 22: Neverending Stories
January 22: A Path of Joy
January 23: History, Hope, Laughter & Happily-ever-after
January 23: Henry Happens
January 23: Onceuponatime

Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and Christy Award,  best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Guest Post from Jody Hedlund

Which Do You Prefer: Series or Standalones?

Readers usually have strong opinions about whether they like series or standalones.

Some readers refuse to read books that are inter-related. Others can’t get enough books about their favorite characters.

I see the pros and cons of both.

For series, I don’t like feeling lost as I try to wade through previous characters along with their backstory. I recently started a series by a well-known author and was disappointed to realize the first book was connected to a previous series she’d already published. From the get-go, I felt left out as though I didn’t quite know who all the characters were or their significance.

On the other hand, for standalones, I sometimes feel as though I would like the story to continue. I’ve invested in the setting and characters and so enjoy when I can return to that place and continue to glimpse the characters I’ve fallen in love with—even if from a distance.

My favorites are books that fall in the middle between standalone and series. I like to think of them as standalones within a series. Becky Wade’s Porter brother series is like that. Each of the books centers around one of the brothers (and a tomboy sister). While characters from other books make an appearance in the stories, each plot is separate and complete without any reliance upon another book.

My Beacons of Hope lighthouse series falls in the middle too. The books are related in that they all take place at lighthouses and share a symbolic “cross of hope” that is passed on from one book to the next. A minor character in a previous book becomes the hero or heroine in the next book. But each book can be read by itself without having read any of the others.

In other words, readers can pick up my newest release, Never Forget, which is the fifth and final book in the series, and they wouldn’t be confused about who the characters are or what their history is. The plot starts with a bang and ends with a satisfying sigh. It is complete story unto itself.

And yet, for those who’ve read other books in the series, they’ll get to see the happily-ever-after of a character from a previous book. And they’ll also get to find out where the cross of hope finally ends.

If you’re not a fan of series, I encourage you to give the Beacons of Hope series a try. It might satisfy the need for standalones and series all in one neat little package.

To that end, I’m giving away all FIVE books in the series as part of the Celebrate Lit blog tour to one lucky winner!

Tell us: What is your preference: Standalones, Series, or Standalones within a Series?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today for the blog tour! I really appreciate it! I enjoyed reading your review of Never Forget and loved that you noticed Nathaniel's character arc (he would make a very sweet book boyfriend!) :-)

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jody! I really enjoyed the whole series--can't wait for the next!


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