The Rest of Forever by M. Elaine Moore

stars-5-0._V192240867_ (1)

 

This is an amazing story.

When twenty-seven -year-old Angeline Myers goes riding her bike in the heavy morning fog, she places herself in the path of a car whose driver cannot see her until it is too late.  The tragic accident forever changes the lives of her twenty-eight-year-old husband, Youth Pastor, Noah Myers and their two infant daughters, Claire and Colton. Noah is shattered—he has always loved Angeline, he can’t fathom his life without her.  Noah is comforted by his brother and his wife and his church family, as well as his deep belief in God. But the loss is still devastating. Not only is he dealing with his grief, but he is suddenly thrust into taking over the role that Angeline had played in their life; the role of housekeeper, cook and motherhood. He often feels like he is drowning in pain, not knowing how to go on.

Lindsey Preston was the driver of the car. She is devastated, wracked by grief and guilt knowing that she has killed a young woman who was someone’s wife and a mother. That she has ruined their lives. Lindsey does not have a support system. She forces herself to go to work, but she has no one that she confides in, no one to share her anguish with.

She feels she has to talk to the husband, tell him how sorry she is. Finally, she gathers her courage and goes to Noah’s house, fully expecting him to rage at her and heap blame on her for what had happened.

Noah doesn’t welcome her with open arms, but he makes it clear that he doesn’t blame her for what happened. It was simply a tragic accident and if anyone was to blame it was Angeline for riding her bike in those conditions. Then he told her to leave. He watched her turn away, and felt mixed emotions as he watched her get in her car and sob brokenly.

Feeling bad about being rude, he phoned her that evening and asked her to come over. He had questions that only she could answer. She agreed and they sat and talked. They began to talk on a regular basis, comforting each other, supporting each other as no one else could because they shared a common bond. The accident that had changed both of their lives and no one else could really understand the feelings they both felt. Gradually they began to meet for coffee, and the relationship changed subtly.

Over time their emotions became involved, but neither one could acknowledge their feelings, because of the circumstances. She had killed his wife, even if it was an accident. Noah’s brother was angry and bitter about what he saw happening between them. Gradually people in the church family began to question Noah’s judgement, and his ability to be a good example to the youth that he mentored.

Technically Noah and Lindsey had done nothing wrong. They had become “friends.” They began to do things together because they shared common interests, but they hadn’t acknowledged feelings that simmered below the surface and they definitely hadn’t step over the moral line. Lindsey knew she loved Noah and she could not watch him lose everything that was important in his life. Ultimately she knew she had to make a decision…and she did.

Moore writes in a way that draws you right into the feelings and emotions of the characters. I felt Noah’s devastation, I shared his sleepless nights, the intense longing for Angeline, his overwhelming grief, how difficult it was to face holidays like Halloween and Christmas as a single parent, without his companion beside him. They had always done family things together and he didn’t know how he could face it alone.

I felt Lindsey’s devastation, her guilt. I understood that she couldn’t eat, that she couldn’t sleep. I felt her need for someone to share the burden with. I felt her fear when her past came back to haunt her.

I felt the comfort that the two of them drew from each other, even though it would have seemed so unlikely in another circumstance. I also saw the little things that they had in common accumulate, and in my mind I began to see that while he never acknowledged it, Noah had a more satisfactory relationship with Lindsey because she actually shared his deepest interests. He and Angeline had loved each other and were married, but the deep friendship that came with truly having shared interests was lacking, whether he admitted it or not.

I’ll be honest, I often avoid books that include a lot of religious nuances, and this book had the earmarks of a sometimes typical “Christian” book—but while Noah was very devout and fully embraced his beliefs, he came across as very human. He quoted scripture often and he lived by his faith, but that was just an inherent part of who he was. I didn’t feel like the author was using him to preach to the reader.  And he struggled with his human traits, just as people do in real life.

I honestly can’t say enough about how much I LOVED this book. Every once in awhile you read a book that is outstanding, and for me this was one of those books.

The Rest of Forever can be purchased on Amaxzon.com by clicking here.