Erryn reviews ‘As Long As Love Lasts’ by Jea Hawkins. This book was released by the author on July 31, 2018, and is 404 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Lori Pince and released on December 2, 2018. The audiobook is 9 hrs and 51 mins long.
Why I read this book:. I love the premise of opposites attract.
2018 – She doesn’t know if a marriage is worth fighting for.
Peyton Kennedy quantifies everything in terms of numbers and risk. She looks at a problem and solves it, leaving no piece of the puzzle out. When her young, too-whimsical wife inherits a derelict farmhouse from a distant aunt, Peyton can only see the bottom line. Too much work. Too much money. Time. Energy. Definitely not worth saving.
But her wife knows how to get her way, and Peyton finds herself roped into renovations. This…this may be the straw that breaks her marriage’s back, and Peyton’s worried about how worried that makes her. That is, until a 70-year-old bundle of letters and a time-worn diary fall on her head.
Before she knows it, Peyton is drawn into the story of her wife’s great aunt, Marty, a woman who dared defy social conventions for the love of another woman.
1939 – She doesn’t know what love is.
Marty Bell thinks life will fall neatly into place. Her mother has expectations: a husband, wealthy enough to give Marty security for the rest of her days. When she meets a beautiful circus worker who shovels dung and pounds stakes for a living, it’s the first time Marty sees that she can stray from the path.
Soon, her life is dictated by not just her mother, but the upheaval of war and the one thing she never expected to find: love. And Marty will risk anything and everything to hold onto it.
Contemporary and historical lesbian romance intertwine in this emotional tale of a diary, an elephant, and four women who know that few things matter more than finding someone who loves them just the way they are.
I love layered and complex books that also have a simplicity to them. As Long As Love Lasts by Jea Hawkins is that book. The story starts out fairly simple – Peyton is on the verge of ending her marriage to Brooke and bubbly Brooke has no idea things are falling apart. The inheritance of Brooke’s great-aunt’s farm house is either going to make or break the marriage – as most reno projects are wont to do. The discovery of a trove of letters dating back more than half a century turns the women’s lives upside down. Suddenly Peyton has a good reason to stay married – if only to find out what happens to Brooke’s aunt, Marty.
Now, here is where I depart from the book. If I found a trove of letters and a diary, I would read them all in one or two days. Brooke and Peyton are disciplined, however, and take their time. Man, that frustrated me. Because I wanted to know how the story ended and instead I was taken on a beautiful journey that lasted nine hours. Time well spent, I promise you.
Marty was a young woman when she met circus carnie Vera. The attraction was almost instantaneous and the two women spent what little time they could together and although they made no promises, when the circus moved on, Marty held on to the hope she would see Vera again. They do, eventually, and here’s where the elephant comes in. You’ll just have to read to figure out how Alberta fits into the story but a few laughs on my part were had. I loved that the difficulties of being a lesbian in the 1940s and 1950s wasn’t glossed over – the women faced some tough challenges such as how to find a way to be together without being discovered. Of how to fall in love with someone while society expects something very different from you.
As Peyton and Brooke unravel the mystery of Vera and Marty, they have a few things in their lives they have to deal with. Because this journey into the past is either going to strengthen them or tear them apart. And, of course, there’s always the parallel journey of Vera and Marty.
The book is told in alternating chapters, the voice changing between Peyton and Marty. I loved this structure because it pulled me through the past and interwove present day, as I said, paralleling the two relationships. This is a Jea Hawkins romance, so I figured a happy ending was in the cards for the modern-day couple, I just didn’t know what would happen to the women from the past.
Lori Prince narrated this story and she was the perfect choice. She differentiated the four women clearly and even gave Vera that tobacco-laden voice. I was drawn into in the story and Lori held me there, richly immersed in both past and present. I always love the combination of Lori and Jea – I get well written and well performed books.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Jea writes sweet and spicy contemporary lesbian romance. If love conquers all, then she’d like to think her heroines can rule the world one day. Personal addictions include autumn, cozy sweaters, hot chocolate, and the Sims 3.