Never Forgotten Love by S.M. Stryker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
4.5 cranky stars!
Beckett and Harlow are childhood best friends. Beckett has no self-esteem or confidence because of his verbally and physically abusive mother. She leaves him alone to take care of himself at the young age of 5. He has only two shirts and 2 pair of pants for the entire school year and is an easy target for the kids at school to pick on him. He is smaller than most kids his age plus his mother has gotten into a private school early so she has less time to have to deal with him.
Harlow is his neighbor and she is tough. She protects him from the other kids at school. She has loving parents that take Beckett under their wings. Her father teaches him how to take things about and fix them. Harlow and Beckett spend every possible minute together, he even helps her while she is learning how to create different cupcake recipes. They talk all the time about their dreams of the future.
Then when Beckett is around 13, he is forced to move when his mom remarries. They are devastated and promise to stay in touch. Harlow even makes matching bracelets for them each to wear with a half a heart medallion on it. After another night of being drunk and abusive, Beckett comes home from school the next day to find his computer, phone, books, everything he owned gone. He has lost all ways of staying in contact with Harlow as his computer and phone had all her information on it.
Beckett can’t forget Harlow as he knows they are to be together. In high school he starts to take Krav Mega classes to learn to protect himself from the bullying and gain some self-esteem and confidence. He also meets Richard, someone starting his own software computer company that Beckett is good at doing. Richard is the father he never had. After Beckett graduates college Richard talks him into hiring a private investigator to find Harlow. It has been ten years, and he still wears that bracelet she gave him. There has been no one else for him but his Harlow girl. Will he be able to find her as she seems to have gone off the grid and if he does, will she forgive him for not keeping his promise to stay in touch?
This is a story about lost loves, best friends and second chances but it is also more than that. The story is told in Beckett’s POV so we can relate totally to how little self-esteem he has with the mother he has. The author takes the time for us to know the characters, understand the heartbreak of when they are torn apart as children. Then as adults we see how they have grown and what issues they have had happen to them in the ten years they are apart. There is a great mix of laughs, tears, frustration, angst, and suspense in the book. When you think you know what is going to happen, then something else happens. As Beckett said “It’s funny how what you wish for doesn't always turn out what you want.”
I appreciated the involvement of the supporting characters, at times they were so much a part of the book you didn't feel as if they were supporting characters and I do hope to see books with them as the main characters. I will also be looking to read more from this author.
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