- Title: Forever Beach
- Author: Shelley Noble
- Genre: Women’s Fiction
- Pages: 432
- Published: June 2016 – William Morrow Paperbacks
- Source: Publisher
One woman struggling to hold on to what she has,
One woman learning to forgive
Their lives entwined by one little girl.
Sarah Hargreave is anxious to finalize the adoption of her foster daughter Leila. Once a foster child herself, Sarah longs to become Leila’s “forever” family and give her all the love and stability she was denied in her own childhood. When Leila’s biological mother suddenly reappears and petitions the court for the return of her daughter, Sarah is terrified she’ll lose the little girl she loves to the drug addicted mother who abandoned her.
Having grown up in foster care, Ilona Cartwright fights for the rights of children who have no one to fight for them. But to Sarah she is Nonie Blanchard, who grew up in the same group foster home as Sarah. They’d promised to be best friends forever, then Nonie was adopted by a wealthy family, and Sarah never heard from her again. Sarah still hurts from the betrayal. But Nonie harbors her own resentment toward the past.
Mistrustful of each other, the two women form a tenuous alliance to ensure Leila’s future, but when Leila’s very survival is on the line, they’ll have to come to terms with their own feelings of hurt and rejection to save the child they both have come to love. (publisher)
My take: Sarah is on track to adopt Leila, her four-year old foster daughter, when she receives a letter stating the girl’s birth mother is contesting the case. Supervised visits will begin soon putting Leila back in harm’s way for sure unless Sarah and her support team of friends and professionals can stop it.
Shelley Noble takes readers inside the world of Child Protection services that attempts to save children from horrible circumstances. My heart breaks thinking about the defenseless children caught up in a legal system. Noble’s story made me feel the frustration of the people who only want to help them, save them – each one a hero.
I loved Sarah’s friends who became her family and stood by her when life got tough. I was bothered by the emotional drama between Sarah and the ad litem attorney caused by a misunderstanding when they were girls (in the foster care system). But, perhaps the insecurity experienced by both when they were young was the cause for the drama. That issue aside, I liked Forever Beach and recommend it. Book club questions are included at the end. I think this would be a good choice for book groups.
Shelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer. She most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Liberty States Fiction Writers. Shelley lives in Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey.