Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review of Finding Forever by Shawn Lane

Shawn Lane
Finding Forever (Sutter's Bay #4)
Amber Allure | August 5, 2012

Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

For years, Nolan Young has tried to deny he's gay. With an abusive, homophobic father, who is also the mayor of Sutter’s Bay, Nolan has no choice but to ignore that part of himself.
Until he meets Leo Winthrop on the beach one day. Leo is exactly the kind of guy Nolan would want…if he could allow himself to act on his desires.
Leo has been dealing with demons of his own. His older brother brought him to Sutter's Bay hoping it'd help Leo put his past behind him.
The quaint town hasn't been much help...until now. Meeting cute and innocent Nolan changes Leo's outlook and brings hope to his life for the first time in years. But can he convince Nolan to stand up to his father and take a chance on forever with him?

Genre & Keywords: M/M Romance, Contemporary, Abuse, Coming Out, Young Lovers, Virgin, Homophobia

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames

This is the fourth story in the Sutter's Bay series and most of the heroes from the first three books make an appearance here, which was something I enjoyed. It’s the story of Galaxy’s brother, Leo, whom we met in Galaxy and Adam’s book. Leo has been abused by his stepfather and is now going to therapy. The book opens with him being reluctant at the psychologist’s office. Therapy is not really working for him so far.
I think the introduction of the main characters is done very well. They both are pictured, separate from each other, very vividly. Nolan’s character is introduced in the setting of his home. He still lives with his father, who’s mayor of the town, and it’s conveyed immediately and strongly what Nolan has to put up with every day. His father is a violent, bigoted asshole. It’s a miracle that a guy like that has been elected mayor at all.

Not only their introduction but also the initial set-up of Nolan and Leo’s romance is drawn well, it had me interested in their story. However, their issues and problems are quite heavy each on its own, and combined together in one (short) plot they felt a little too top-heavy for my taste. There was not enough room to do all the issues justice, which resulted in a rushed execution of the MCs individual stories and an inappropriate lack of romantic drama. Sure, there was drama in the events involving Nolan’s father, but the romantic relationship was almost completely angst and drama free. Which somehow didn’t quite add up with the internal struggles they should have had, given their histories of abuse.
I admit that I mostly prefer my romances to have more internal tension and less external conflicts. I love a good dose of angst too, and in that regard Finding Forever didn’t deliver what I like most, but that may be completely different for other readers. Nonetheless, I don’t think it’s just my preferences that prevented me from liking this story more, it’s also its rushed execution after that wonderful and compelling set-up. The contrast was too noticeable.

Like I said, it was very nice to see some of the couples from the first three books again. Also, the writing is clear and done well. Plus Lane’s characters are likable guys, and in this case they are adorably sweet and young and therefore pretty hot together. I love that Lane’s stories are interesting little snapshots from everyday life, which makes her characters feel like they could be your neighbors or even friends. It’s the casualness and ease with which she seems to write her stories, that makes them rather addictive. Even though I keep wishing for more lengthy novels from this author, with more room for plot and character development.


  1. Lovely review Janna. I've read a couple of Shawn Lane's books, and while I enjoyed them - I think the word I would use to describe them would be cute - they felt...a bit distant. There didn't seem to be enough time for depth if that makes sense?

    1. Thank you, orannia! That's exactly how I would describe them. I keep hoping for longer stories with a little bit more depth. You make perfect sense, as usual. :D


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