While First Love and Forever is the 4th book in the Byrnehouse-Davies & Hamilton Saga, it's also the 1st book in a small trilogy within this series!!
While this book was first published in 1994, I couldn't find any other book covers, so it was never reissued.
And you'll also find that this particular author is a LDS author and sells almost exclusively to LDS bookstores and such. I have found it only recently on Amazon.
You'll find that there're no sexual details in this story at all.
And this story is a little different in that it actually shares ideas and thoughts of an active LDS person and the things that they go thru.
This story is set in modern times and is classified as a contemporary romance plus a Christian romance.
This book is printed in larger size than just a pocketbook size and is 238 pages long.
You might think that it would be an easy read, but as this author brings forward many issues that LDS people think about and the way they think about things makes this story not an easy read!!
To really understand this book, you need to be an LDS person or at least closely acquainted with one to understand the thinking and pondering and studying that an active LDS person does.
Things like when faced with problems, we go to the Lord in prayer seeking guidance and help. Or we counsel with our church leaders about our behavior. Or if we are following the teachings of the Gospel.
All of these types of thoughts and conversations that we do is different. Different than what the rest of the world might do.
So when you read this book, you can know that Emily's character is a type of what an active, God-fearing, follower of Christ is going to do.
And as Anita Stansfield, and myself, are members of this LDS church, I can relate completely with Emily's thinking and the way that she makes decisions.
This book is about Emily Ladd Hall and the struggle that she goes thru facing a tough, trying marriage and the 2 men that she loves. All the while doing what the Lord wants her to do.
Emily met Michael Hamilton in college and fell instantly in love. But with the guidance of the Spirit, she knows that she must marry Ryan Hall.
The story then takes us 10yrs later with Emily's marriage to Ryan is unfulfilling and hurtful. Michael crosses her path again and she is given the opportunity to leave. But thru prayer and fasting, she knows that the Lord wants her to stay with Ryan.
This leaves Michael brokenhearted not once, but twice and it finally compels him to actually look into the church with a different perspective then what he had in college.
Life with Ryan improves somewhat and Emily is heartened and encouraged for the future.
Then the unthinkable happens. Ryan is killed in a car accident.
And leaves Emily basically penniless.
But there's light at the end of the tunnel.
Inspired to come, Michael finds her in dire straights and unable to cope with the financial situation that Ryan has left her in.
With many bumps along the way, Michael and Emily find their way back to each other, and with the help of the Spirit come to know that there's a larger plan in place for them and for their children.
He asks her to marry him, not because he's finally joined the church but because he loves her beyond measure.
And when we read book 5, First Love, Second Chances, we hear about their wedding and how their life evolves in Australia!!
First Love and Forever is a poignant and moving story that I read years, I mean years ago. And the story is still with me. That's how good the story is.
We all have to make hard decisions in life and we all want to feel like we are doing what is right and doing what the Lord wants us to be doing.
This book is a great example of faith, of the hard earned faith that we all need to find in order to be able to feel the peace that only comes from the Lord.
Anita Stansfield does a marvelous job of creating characters that are real and realistic, interesting and so compelling. I bought this book in '94 and scenes from this book have helped me thru my own troubling and hard times.
Her writing is well thought out and you can tell that she's a master storyteller when I'm crying right along with Emily and the hard things that she has to deal with.
This is one book that I have read over and over again. And I love how Michael's and Emily's story is continued in the next 2 books!!
Check out the other books in the Byrnehouse-Davies & Hamilton Saga:
If you liked First Love and Forever, you might like: