Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
There’s a reason that A.L. Jackson’s current series is titled Redemption Hills. Thus far, the first two books showcase two heroes who are looking for atonement and reconciliation, brothers whose pasts have left a stain on their souls. In her poetic, dark form, Jackson guides her readers deftly through their stories, ones where the heroes can never find absolution without the love of the heroines. Ultimately, love can only be found in the present and future, Jackson suggests, in her newest offering, Say It’s Forever.
Unlike the first book of the series, Say It’s Forever includes the angst of the heroine, Salem, escaping the poor choice of her past while the hero, Jud, can’t seem to move beyond his past choices. In both cases, their pasts are furled on them, and they are left to accept their trajectories. The consequences are deep, deep trauma wounds, gashes that remain open through the first half of the story. As she has done with her past stories, Jackson makes those emotions palpable with her wordsmithing. I’ve acknowledged in past reviews the poetic quality of her writing, and it continues in this newest book.
What you find with Say It’s Forever is a need for Salem and Jud to accept that life right now can be better; that it is important to live with hope. Jackson metes this out throughout their journey that begins with the quality of hate to love (Salem to Jud) and ends with a love so deep your heart will overflow as you read Jackson’s epilogue and bonus epilogue for this story. Like her other books, this newest book is rife with angst and drama. In many ways, there is a cinematic quality to this story; you feel as though you’re watching a movie as Jud and Salem push and pull their way through the book.
The highlight of Say It’s Forever is the same highlight found in past books: children. Gage, Jud’s nephew and a star in the first book of the series, Give Me A Reason, and Salem’s daughter, Juni Bee, bring levity to this story. When Jud and Salem’s story feels heavy and fraught, Gage and Juni Bee step in and ameliorate the angst, making Jud and Salem’s romance palatable. Even more, Trent and Eden as well as Salem’s grandmother, Mimi, provide the support the couple requires to find their happily ever after. And the HEA exists in spades for this story.
Once again, A.L. Jackson reminds us of the magnitude of her writing capacity. There is something always deep and grave about her storytelling. Quite frankly, this isn’t for someone looking for a light romance. However, if you adore the journey of a thousand miles where the hero and heroine overcome the sins of their past to find a future free of strife and abounding in love, then you will absolutely adore Say It’s Forever.
In love and romance,