About the Book
Book: Forever Home
Author: Hope Toler Dougherty
Genre: Sweet Romance/Christian Fiction
Release date: August 16, 2022
With a fulfilling job and a home of her own, former foster child, Merritt Hastings, relishes her stable, respectable life. Dreaming for more is a sure way for heartache. When a contested will turns her world upside down, she must reevaluate what’s important to her, what’s worth fighting for, and what’s worth sacrificing.
Patience has never been Sam Daniels’ strong suit with his history of acting quickly and asking questions later, and he’s ready for changes in his life…now. Too bad the plans for acquiring a radio station didn’t include a contract. Now he’s out of a job, out of a radio station, and out of prospects.
While his life is in flux, at least he can help Merritt steady hers, or will he rush in and overstep …again?
Will the sparks flying between these two opposites lead to a happily-ever-after or heartbreak for both?
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About the Author
Hope Toler Dougherty holds a master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Her novels include Irish Encounter, Mars…With Venus Rising, Rescued Hearts, Forever Music, and Forever Home. Her recent novella, “A Hatteras Surprise,” appears in Candy Cane Wishes and Saltwater Dreams and is also available as a standalone novel. She and her husband delight in visits with their two daughters and twin sons.
More from Hope
When I introduced the Daniels family in Forever Music, the first story in the Forever Series, I wrote about Josie, the little sister. I wanted to write about her brother Sam next, but after about eight chapters, the words stopped flowing and then the pandemic struck. Instead of writing during lockdown, I cleaned out closets, crocheted mask bands, and perfected a killer sourdough loaf.
I wanted to write. I tried to write. I loved Sam and wanted to discover his story, but…nothing.
When my publisher offered a slot in a novella collection, I pushed Sam to the back of my mind and wrote about his older brother, Ben. Ben’s story is set on the beautiful Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Check out his romance in A Hatteras Surprise.
Sharing Ben’s courtship with Ginny Stowe freed me to get back to Sam and Merritt in Forever Home. Their story highlights foster care, music, friendship, and radio stations.
Impatient Sam usually acts first and thinks second. His happy-go-lucky personality chafes Merritt’s stick-with-a-plan attitude. Too bad she needs his help with her livelihood. They don’t hit it off at first, but both are definitely intrigued with each other.
Readers can find subtle Italian references throughout the story. Here’s a favorite recipe friends might find in Merritt’s kitchen. I hope you like it and the story, too!
Orange Pistachio Biscotti
2 C plain flour 1 egg white
1 t baking powder 2 T orange zest
¼ t salt ½-1 C chopped pistachios
1 C sugar 1/2 C candied orange bits
2 eggs orange juice, if needed
Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a mixing bowl. In another bowl, beat eggs and egg white together, then add to flour mixture. Stir in orange zest, nuts, and orange bits. Mix until dough is smooth. If the dough is too dry, add orange juice a tablespoon at a time.
Flour hands and scoop half the dough onto one side of the cookie sheet prepared with cooking spray. Shape the dough into a 15×3-inch log. Repeat with remaining dough. The logs should be several inches apart.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Tops of the logs should be firm.
Remove to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Cut logs on a diagonal into ½-inch-thick slices. Place the slices, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 15 minutes.
Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack. They will harden as they cool. Yields about 48 cookies depending on size
This is the kind of story that seeps into your heart and slowly releases the feelings of hope, reconciliation and takes away the pain that has crippled you for so long. Merritt is someone you know is struggling through a childhood that left her scarred. Being an orphan and living with different families increased her desire to not get close to anyone. She only wants a relationship with someone who has no family. It may sound funny but I understood her reasons without hesitation. Even though I wasn’t an orphan I might as well have been. The loneliness of not really belonging and never having anything of your own makes you feel unloved.
Sam is a nice guy but he sure can’t win Merritt over very easily. The poor guy goes out of his way to help her, befriend her, even agrees to do a recital with her. What he doesn’t realize yet is Merritt is broken inside and it will take prayer and patience to help her. I loved how he didn’t give up, and was quick to apologize when he said or did something wrong.
I love how music is an integral part of this story and how the piano is at the forefront. My grandmother was a school teacher and taught piano as well. My granddad was a piano tuner. I loved going to their house, because my grandmother taught me how to play. When I played all my pain was forgotten as the music soothed my soul. Merritt feels the same when she can escape and get lost in the sounds that bring her peace.
The story is one that puts two people together as they search for happiness and love. Their struggles are mixed with pride and trust at times. Merritt is so determined not to get hurt, that she keeps pushing away. I loved how the author allows Merritt to face her fears and come to understand that she has desired a forever home all along. Never give up on your dream and let God heal those deep wounds. Family is important and letting go of the past will set you free. For Merritt and Sam, their love of music brought them together.
I loved one part in the story when Merritt does something very surprising and unselfish. It shows that she does care and wants to help someone’s dreams happen. It is like a growing process for her. Being in the foster care system has made her compassionate for others and in doing this act she feels a part of something. Yes she belongs and is accepted. In the end the story illustrates how important family is. It isn’t always about being related that makes a family. Being a family is when you come together, love each other, trust each other , help each other and find comfort as you know you have others who will always be there.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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To celebrate her tour, Hope is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card, one signed copy of Forever Home, and book swag!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
Deana, thank you so much for reading and reviewing Forever Home. Thank you also for your beautiful words about Sam and Merritt. I'm sorry that sadness in your own life connected you with Merritt, but I'm grateful that you could relate to her. I appreciate being on your blog so much! Merry Christmas!ReplyDelete
This is a wonderful and insightful review. Forever Home sounds like a truly inspiring story.ReplyDelete
I hope you have a chance to read it, Roxanne!Delete
I'm really looking forward to giving this a read! Thank you so much for sharing it.ReplyDelete