Forever and A Day by Jill Shalvis

Why I read it:  I picked this up from NetGalley. I’m a fan of Shalvis and Lucky Harbor.
What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  LOVE CAN HAPPEN IN A HEARTBEAT.

Grace never thought she’d be starting her life over from scratch. Losing everything has landed her in Lucky Harbor, working as a dog walker for overwhelmed ER doctor Josh Scott. But the day his nanny fails to show up, Grace goes from caring for Josh’s loveable mutt to caring for his rambunctious kids. Soon Grace is playing house with the sexy single dad…

With so many people depending on him, Josh has no time for anything outside of his clinic and family–until Grace arrives in town. Now this brainy blonde is turning his life inside out and giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “good bedside manner.” Josh and Grace don’t know if what they have can last. But in a town like Lucky Harbor, a lifetime of love starts with just one day…

What worked for me (and what didn’t): Looking back over this latest three books, I think that At Last was my favourite.  I enjoyed Forever and a Day but some things about Grace bothered me too much for me to really like her.  And Josh was not a good dad or brother for most of the book.  His priority was clearly his patients and his family was suffering.  There are other doctors but only one Toby’s dad and Anna’s brother.

Grace first:  I thought Grace got away with some pretty arrogant behaviour which Josh barely called her on.  And when he did, he ended up apologising for it.  Grace has no experience with dogs or children  or siblings, but almost from day 1 she is giving Josh “advice” on how to manage his life, his son and his sister.  I was sitting there thinking it wasn’t any of her business and what made her the expert – it made me a little grumpy.  This continues on for most of the book actually.  While her advice was essentially good advice, I didn’t really know why Grace would have any insight.  It felt to me like the author’s own parenting insights were being channeled through Grace.  If Grace had been an experienced nanny and had earned her place to speak so to Josh, I may have taken a different view but as it was, someone who doesn’t know any better coming into to Josh’s home and telling him he’s doing it wrong felt incredibly rude to me.

As for Josh, I found it difficult to see how he’d managed for the previous 5 years, essentially alone. Toby seemed remarkably well adjusted for having a dad who wasn’t around much.  How had he managed for that long without things being a lot worse than it was?  I mean, things were bad, but not as bad as I would have expected in the circumstances.  It was nice to see a male character realise that he “can’t have it all” for a change.  Props for that.   But, many points were deducted because the minute he got himself some spare time he signed up for a basketball game instead of spending more time with his son, which was like, THE POINT.  I liked Josh but taking 5 years to work out that he’s overstretched overstretched me.  I don’t see why Josh ended up being the town hero for some pretty neglectful parenting.  Like Robin at Dear Author, I think a more interesting story would have been him realising earlier in the book and reconnecting with his family and having a relationship with Grace.  I just didn’t buy that Grace could be the fixer here – she’s not Mary Poppins. 

Anna, Josh’s sister, read more like 16/17 than 21 to me.  The characters in the book treated her like she was younger too IMO.

I also wasn’t sure about Grace’s conflict with her family/identity being based on her being adopted.  I certainly get that a child can feel inadequate and believe they’re not able to live up to parental expectations – but because she was adopted?   You don’t need to be adopted to feel inadequate.  Hanging it all on her adoption and genetics felt a little off to me.  Given Grace’s conflict with her family, her parents actually didn’t play a large part in the book and there was no scene where she told them she was living her own life and staying in Lucky Harbor etc like I kind of expected there to be.

That said, the chemistry between Josh and Grace was sizzling and their scenes together (when she wasn’t bossing him around and leaving aside the “what have you done with Toby?” question) were fun and sexy.

I did like the bromance between Josh, Ty and Matt (and even Sawyer) and the scenes where the boys have “found” a copy of Cosmopolitan at the local bar and are poring over the sex advice was hilarious.

Favourite Quote: 

 Ty pointed his beer at Josh. “Want to know what I think?”

“No,” Josh said.

“I think you have a case of being a little girl. Maybe you should prescribe yourself a heavy dose of man-the-fuck-up.”

Grade: C
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