Narrated by Greyson Ash and Douglas Berger
The Corner of Forever and Always is the second book in Lia Riley’s Everland, Georgia series but it works well as a stand-alone.
Tuesday Knight has joined her sister, Pepper (the heroine of the first book, It Happened on Love Street) in the small Georgia town of Everland, having left her dreams of a Broadway career back in New York after a failed love affair with a cheating dirtbag director. Pepper found love with Rhett Valentine in book one of the series and has moved in with him, and Tuesday has taken over the lease on Pepper’s small cottage.
Tuesday is working as a princess in Happily Ever After Land, the local amusement park. Tuesday is scatty, disorganised, untidy, perennially late and forgetful. In her own words, she is a “hot mess”. But she’s also talented, bubbly, charming, kind-hearted and generous.
Rhett’s best friend is Beau Marino, the mayor of Everland. He’s cold, closed and uptight. After the death of his wife, he threw himself into work because it was the only thing that made any sense to him. His marriage had not been happy; in fact his wife drowned at sea when she was with another man.
Beau, like most people who meet her, is drawn to Tuesday. His heart wakes up after years of hibernation (as does his nether-regions). He’s worried that Tuesday is all about the drama and he’d be unable to satisfy her and to become involved with her would just set him up for a repeat of his disaster of a marriage. But he’s drawn to her nonetheless. They’re often in each other’s orbits given their respective relationships to Pepper and Rhett.
Happily Ever After Land is in financial trouble, as is the town of Everland. Tourism is down and business is by no means booming. Beau is approached by a mover and shaker from nearby Hogjaw to condemn the amusement park to make way for a discount mart and outlet mall, on the promise of backing to run for congress. Beau is a good guy and has the town’s best interests at heart and his first preference is to have Everland a designated “Coastal Jewel” by the Georgia Tourism Board. If he can pull it off, the tourism board will provide much-needed funds for some renovations to Happily Ever After Land and the boost in advertising clout will bring tourists and their money to the town. But if he can’t get the tourism board to choose Everland over Hogjaw, the discount mart and outlet mall will at least provide some much-needed economic growth.
Tuesday is nominated as Happily Ever After Land’s lobbyist and thus the pair are forced together a little more.
The rivalry between Hogjaw (bad) and Everland (good) is strong and there is also a tale of buried treasure, as well as a teenage foster child who desperately needs love in the mix too.
The story borrows quite a few things from popular fairy tales, which was a bit of fun and fit with the town and the theme park’s aesthetic too.
Tuesday and Beau were both nice people – even if Tuesday can’t find her shoes most days – and their differences, rather than rubbing each other the wrong way, made them fit together like jigsaw pieces.
The audiobook is advertised as being narrated by Greyson Ash on all the websites but it is actually a dual narration, with Douglas Berger doing the sections from Beau’s point of view and Ms. Ash taking over on Tuesday’s side of the story.
Ms. Ash had an engaging style and I liked her hero voice well enough. There were some odd pauses though, places where sentences ended too soon and other words were left hanging out alone. I wondered if it might be a breath control issue?
Mr. Berger had the stronger performance, with good character differentiation and pacing. Beau’s dad is a biracial man who grew up in Bermuda and Mr. Berger had a chance to show off his Caribbean accent when Mr. Marino joined the cast, briefly, late in the book.
Both narrators delivered on emotional tension and characterisation. Ms. Ash made Tuesday more sympathetic than some of her bad habits may have made her appear, showing Tuesday’s self-deprecating humour and underlying kind-heartedness.
Everland has a number of secondary characters as is typical with small town romance and each narrator had a chance to display their admirable skills, voicing a wide age range.
The Corner of Forever and Always was charming, sweet and funny and a lovely surprise. I plan on picking up the first book in the series now and will keep my eyes open for more from this author and these narrators – though I do hope that Ms. Ash improves her verbal punctuation a little.
TITLE: The Corner of Forever and Always
AUTHOR: Lia Riley
NARRATED BY: Greyson Ash and Douglas Berger
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
STEAM FACTOR: Glad I had my earbuds in
REVIEWER: KaetrinBuy The Corner of Forever and Always by Lia Riley on Amazon EXCERPT: