A Nelson Island Novella
Ever Always is book two in the Nelson Island series by Diana Gardin. This novella tells the story of Ever Allen and Hunter Waters after Sam has run off to Nelson Island. When I read the first book, Wanting Forever, I hated Hunter and Ever. A lot. Sam is a nice guy who gave everything up to protect the girl he loved. Even though I don’t understand his line of thought or how he believed the choices he’d made in any way benefited him or Ever, I got why he was written that way. He made decisions based on emotions rather than taking the time to think it through clearly, so it fell in line with his character.
“Sam was the fixer; he would rather make her(Ever’s) headaches go away than find out what caused them in the first place.”
Reading Ever Always didn’t really make me change my mind about Ever and Hunter, but something I really hadn’t really been expecting happened. I found myself wanting Ever and Hunter to get together. Did I like either one of them? Nope—Ever I especially disliked—but I couldn’t deny their chemistry or the fact that they belonged together. I just didn’t love the way they chose to go about it. Diana Gardin did a good job of developing the characters and explaining how things had played out. As children, Sam, Hunter and Ever had always been together. The three of them against the world. As they grew, feelings developed, and somewhere along the way Ever chose Sam. Being the dutiful brother, Hunter stepped back. Good for Hunter. Too bad he couldn’t be that loyal as an adult. To be fair, I liked Hunter a lot more than I did Ever. I understood his emotions more, I felt they were more legitimate, and even the ones that weren’t made sense when you saw them through the eyes of someone who had been denying his feelings for years. Doesn’t mean I don’t think he’s a douchebag, but I understood him at least. Especially when you take in the complication of a mother who had always favored Hunter.
“Maybe, on some level, he’d just allowed Sam to swoop in and scoop Ever up off her feet when they were teenagers because he knew Sam deserved her love so much more than he did. When Ever had chosen Sam, it had sliced him up inside, but he’d felt relieved. Because finally, Sam had been given the love he deserved.”
Of course, Hunter did a fair amount of blaming Sam for hurting Ever with his happiness. Like Sam should have locked himself inside and embraced misery just because Ever wasn’t next to him. If you love someone, their happiness should make you happy, and the fact that neither Ever nor Hunter cared whether or not Sam was happy pissed me off.
“Hunter tried not to feel bitter, but it wasn’t exactly working. It was going to hurt Ever, seeing what Sam had built down there without her.”
“Hunter could almost feel the tiny pinpricks of pain all of his (Sam’s) comments were inadvertently causing Ever’s heart. Sam would never hurt her on purpose, but Hunter couldn’t fathom why he couldn’t see how this was hurting her. Seeing him happy here was what was going to give her closure, but it still hurt her.”
And this was after Ever and Hunter had already grabbed a little bit of happiness on their own, if you know what I mean. Unfortunately, I didn’t like Ever at all. She is by far one of the most selfish characters I’ve ever come across, and as far as I’m concerned, Sam is better off without her. From the second Sam left Ever couldn’t think about him without feeling bitter. Like he’d seen her dead father, kissed her on the forehead and said, “Hope you get out of this. I’m on my way to Paris. Catch you later.” She acted like he was on a vacation, and even though she claimed to be happy in Duck Creek and not want to leave, every time she heard Sam talk about Nelson Island she was bitter and angry and jealous. And I don’t think it had anything to do with her loving Sam. I think she just wanted him to be at her beck and call like he always had been.
“He couldn’t see her, couldn’t touch her. Couldn’t comfort her. For the first time in their relationship, he couldn’t be there for her right now. At least not in the way she needed him to be.”
Basically, their relationship had to be on Ever’s terms or it wasn’t going to be. Which to me means she never really loved him. I’ve spent the last ten years following my husband all over the country. Leaving family behind, saying goodbye to friends who are practically family, leaving beautiful places I’ve loved for middle-of-nowhere bases. But it’s all been worth it because I love him. If Ever really loved Sam, she would have been happy to be with him anywhere. The way Ever and Hunter betrayed Sam is unforgiveable. It’s one of those situations where even though it turned out good for all the parties involved—Sam was free to move on and find his own happiness—it just didn’t justify the actions. And to see Ever get jealous of Sam and Aston after what she’d already done…What a bitch! The clincher for me was after Ever and Hunter left Nelson Island and Ever ended things with Hunter. She couldn’t be happy with hurting just one brother. Oh no, she had to destroy them both in the same day. Nope not a fan of Ever. Like I said, even though I didn’t like Ever and most of the time I thought Hunter was a jerk, I wanted them to get together. They deserved each other, and had they been a little nobler and gone about it the right way, there could have been a lot less tears and heartache for everyone involved. The good news about this novella is that it made me love Sam that much more. Sam and Aston were very attracted to each other, but Sam stayed loyal to Ever. He still only thought about her, and he was genuinely happy to see her when she came to visit. Sam is the kind of good guy you want to have as a main character, and this novella only confirmed that. Once again, Diana Gardin has created characters who are real and complex, and brought out a whole range of emotions. While I didn’t love them, I wasn’t bored reading about them. I even got teary-eyed when Ever finds out she’s going to have her dream job. It’s good when an author can create characters that you find yourself rooting for even though they aren’t exactly the kind of people you like. It means there’s depth to the story, which is what I look for when I read a book. People have layers, and so should characters.
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╣About the Author╠
Diana Gardin was born and raised combing the coasts of Southeastern Virginia. She is now a happy resident of South Carolina as she married into an enormous Carolina-rooted family. She loves the beach, and even more than that she loves to read while sitting on the beach. While writing was always a passion of Diana’s, she enrolled in college to become an elementary-school teacher. After eight years of teaching in both Virginia and South Carolina, she decided to stay at home with her first child. This decision is what opened her eyes to the fact that she still very much loved to write, and her first novel was written. Diana is also the author of the Young Adult novel COLOR BLIND and the New Adult series the Ashes series.
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Wanting Forever (Nelson Island, #1)
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Sometimes the one thing you want is exactly what you can’t have.
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He broke her heart, she’s missing the largest piece of the puzzle… Paige Hill is no stranger to physical pain, but the ache that plagues her heart is an entirely new kind of hurt. She left Rutherford to escape it, but did she make a huge mistake? Her ex-boyfriend Beau, who scooped up the broken pieces of Paige like he never got the chance in their past, doesn’t think so. He wants her to stay… Clay Forbes can’t eat, can’t sleep, and can’t fight the murder charge that hangs like a guillotine over his head. None of it matters if Paige won’t forgive him. He’ll do anything to find her and bring her home. But how safe will that home be when the two are finally reunited? It seems the death of Hannah Davis is definitely unfinished business in their small college town, and someone is still on a mission to keep Clay and Paige apart…this time forever.