"Forever Eden" by Barbara Bennett

It's what you've all been waiting for...

(All 5 of you)

My review of "Forever Eden," #15 of the inspirational romance series "Serenade Sonata."

Let's visit some of the other titles before we venture into my thoughts on "Forever Eden." Who wouldn't want to read such literary gems like "On the Wings of Love," or "Love's Sweet Promise," or "Karaleen," or "Tender Adversary."

I'm surprised there isn't a title called "Love's Loving Love." Maybe I'll write that one. My pseudonym will be something like Cindy Simmons or Cheryl Goodblood, or even Linda Thyme. I'll start a Twitter account and everything...and you can follow me @cherylgoodblood, no wait! Follow me @inspirationalgoddess. YES. That's. It.

This book was a joke, obviously. The only romances I read are horror-romances, if I even touch the darned things. They're all the same: The hero/heroine meets a suitor/suitress and finds himself/herself pining for this suitor/suitress. But, he/she cannot have the suitor/suitress for some reason, be it a personal inner reason (like a solid belief system) or because the suitor/suitress is ever-eluding. They go back and forth, back and forth in the proverbial tug-of-war, and then, finally, someone changes and the two fall into love's embrace (and if it's not an inspirational novel, a little bit more, which is always horribly uncomfortable to read).

I ended up with this book because apparently I was making jokes about "Christian romances" at some point in my life. Of course, while cleaning out a room at our church, there was a pile of them...and Steph chose "Forever Eden" to bring home me. It was not because they knew I wanted to read it. It was just supposed to be funny. But, then I read it, and that, in itself, is kind of funny.

Shall I get on with the plot? Cassandra Wellsley is a beautiful missionary. This former model (oh, what a cross to bare) is located in the jungle of the Philippines. A foresting industry wants to cut down the trees on the land she works, administering medicines and teaching the Filipinos reading and about Christianity. Then, down the path walks Adam Ralston (a representative of the company. His goal? To persuade Cassandra and the natives to be on board) and oh, is he a mystery. And older. We find he was married. Is he divorced? Later on, we learn he left his hospital residency while finishing up his M.D. degree. He begins to love Cassandra, but can he love her God? He used to, but he can't go back to that lifestyle...no he can't! (Dramatically turn your head away from me)

There's health perils and jealousy and then Adam delivers a tribe member's baby (dramatically put your hand to your forehead)...but Cassandra, regardless of how amazing Adam is, cannot step into his love. (Again, dramatically turn your head away from me, but this time shout-whisper, "no!")

Obviously it all turns out in the end, after Cassandra denies Adam's love about a-bajillion times. And then a kajillion more times. And then they have a wet kiss. But, then she turns away and denies him again crying tears of loss from her big, blue doe eyes. Then, Adam proposes...but Cassandra says, "no," but she's OK with it. Really. Stop asking. We had a long talk about it and she's ready to move on. She's fine. Well, maybe a little regret.

I know! Right? That's what I thought!

But, randomly, as Cassandra begins to pull on her big girl pants, guess who comes back? ADAM! (Dramatically raise your firsts to the sky and shout-whisper "Adam!") He never gave up. He decided to take his medical knowledge and become a medical missionary and that's when Cassandra is finally happy.

But, Adam makes her propose to him.

Take that Cassandra Wellsley, or should we call you Cassandra Ralston, now?

I just can't wait for others to read it with me so we can make jokes about it. So, will you join me in "The Forever Eden Project?"