Together Always by Mimi Barbour
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full (181 pgs)
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy
A new body, a new life…
Because of a facial disfigurement, Nurse Grace Joye has never felt beautiful, and when she’s told a brain tumor will end her life within a matter of weeks, she’s devastated. Grace’s friend, psychiatrist Dr. Robert Andrews has been experimenting with spirit travel. He suggests that Grace transfers her spirit to the body of his newest patient–Mrs. Vanessa Knight, a gorgeous-looking woman who is soon to be released from life-support. Grace doesn’t need much convincing to take this drastic step. She will live on and realize her two dreams: to be a mother, and be loved by a man. Only to hear her soon-to-be husband’s whispered words just before the life-support is switched off: “Good-bye, darling. I’m glad I’ll never have to see you again.”
Lucas Knight has been contentedly preparing for Vanessa’s death. Throughout their marriage, this volatile woman had become increasingly vicious towards him and their young son. Therefore, he’s appalled and traumatized when, miraculously, she comes out of her coma. Strangely, this girl isn’t anything like the witch he’d said goodbye to. He could love this gentle angel. But, can he trust her to stay this way?
Fascinating idea! I loved the concept of a terminally ill woman switching bodies with another woman who’s been declared brain dead, especially when the woman suffers from a physical disfigurement and has never felt beautiful, and the body she’s taking is just amazingly lovely. Since Grace is gorgeous on the inside, she deserved for her outside to match.
I also liked the idea that the husband of the brain dead woman, Vanessa, hated her passionately and wanted nothing more than to see the plug pulled. It certainly added plenty of conflict, especially when his “wife” comes back to life and has a completely different temperament.
The secondary characters certainly added flavor here. Comic relief of a sort came from Mrs. Dorn and occasionally from Grace’s dearest friend, Tobias, who’s the man behind the idea for the switch. My heart absolutely broke for Lucas and Vanessa’s son, Samuel. He’s the sweetest child and when we hear why he took his mother’s picture, and the punishment he received for the theft, well … it certainly didn’t endear Vanessa to me and helped me understand why Lucas felt as he did.
The only struggle I had came when Vanessa entered the picture. I truly hated her passionately, possibly more than Lucas did. What she did and her previous behavior was unforgiveable. Clearly Grace is a much kinder person than I am, as she strove to help Vanessa get past all the things that made her the way she was. But my negative feelings for her were so strong, it was all I could do to read through those portions where she participated. And there’s a significant part near the end where it’s all Vanessa. Had I not been reading for review, I might have been tempted to put the book down. On the other hand, it’s a testament to the author’s skill that I became so involved with all the characters and felt as strongly as I did. If they hadn’t been so realistically written, I wouldn’t have cared so much.
The author has a descriptive way with words that I appreciated and the story was cleanly edited and enjoyable. I truly think most romance readers will completely enjoy Together Always, especially if you don’t feel as vehemently as I. The romance between Lucas and Grace is lovely, and watching Samuel learn to trust again was a glorious thing.