4.5 - What an awesome book! I've been thirsting for more historical IRs and this definitely helped my craving. I really like the fact that Ms. Douglas flips the usual time travel trope and has the hero travel back in time to meet his strong willed heroine. Usually the spitfire heroine travels back and meets the hunky, hot historical hero. And it's IR to boot!
In Love Lasts Forever, Thor Magnusen has always known football as his life. When he suffers career altering injuries, he feels his life is over. His father and brother take him out to the family cabin to get his mind off things and there Thor learns a little about his family cabin and finds a timepiece from his great great great grandfather. The timepiece doesn't work but Thor, always interested in learning how things work, decides to fix it. The next day, on a walk while his brother and father go fishing, Thor takes a break in the woods and wakes up in 1860. His first visit is with the beautiful heroine, strong minded Willow Elkridge while she's out gathering water. His attraction is strong but he has to be mindful of the tumultuous time as he learns how to live in 1860.
I like how the author really pays attention to the time. The supporting characters are just as interesting as the main ones, including Eva and Anders Magnusen, Thor's ancestors, the Reverend Brown, an abolitionist who is also Willow's father figure after her parent's death along with his wife Olivia. I was also thankful that the author acknowledged that Thor's clothes and speech were different as some time travel books gloss it right on over.
There are some heavy themes in Love Lasts Forever. The story takes place during the time of slavery human trafficking in America and Thor gets into the thick of helping the abolitionists. There was also an instance where Willow helps an enslaved father reunite with his children but not before trying to sneak onto a plantation to find him. There's a character who reminds me too much of a certain Outlander character I detest (she appears in the third book 'Voyager') and I was glad when Thor told her off. I don't like to watch or read about harsh inhumanities in detail and Ms. Douglas gave enough of the reality of the times to paint a picture but not too much that it became hard to read (although the reality of the time frame and how enslaved families had to live and survive was heart-wrenching itself).
I recommend Love Lasts Forever to all time travel romance and historical romance fans. Thor was an awesome hero who was self aware and selfless in helping those in need and he even goes through a change of his own as he realizes what really matters in life besides football. Willow is a strong yet kind heroine who was willing to put her life in danger more than once to help those less fortunate that herself. Even if her decisions were foolhardy at times (especially after a near assault), she was determined to set things right, in what she believed was in her power. Thor and Willow's love story is one of true human devotion, morality, the human condition and fighting for what's right. Up until the epilogue I was invested in their love story and found myself gasping and holding my breath during perilous moments. I hope we see more offerings from Ms. Douglas if this is a sample of her wonderful work.
A highly recommended read.