Forever, Interrupted: A Novelby Taylor Jenkins Reid
This heartrending debut novel weaves a beautiful love story with an homage to the redemptive power of female friendship.
“Have you ever heard of supernovas? They shine brighter than anything else in the sky and then fade out really quickly, a short burst of extraordinary energy. I like to think you and Ben were like that . . . in that/b>/b>
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This heartrending debut novel weaves a beautiful love story with an homage to the redemptive power of female friendship.
“Have you ever heard of supernovas? They shine brighter than anything else in the sky and then fade out really quickly, a short burst of extraordinary energy. I like to think you and Ben were like that . . . in that short time, you had more passion than some people have in a lifetime.”
Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year’s Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn’t expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they’ve eloped.
Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met—and who doesn’t even know Elsie exists.
Interweaving Elsie and Ben’s charmed romance with Elsie and Susan’s healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there’s more than one way to find a happy ending.
Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
“Written in a breezy, humorous style familiar to fans of Jane Green and Elin Hilderbrand, After I Do focuses on Lauren’s journey of self-discovery. The intriguing premise and well-drawn characters contribute to an emotionally uplifting and inspiring story.”
"Sweet, heartfelt, and surprising, Forever Interrupted is a story about a young woman struggling to find her way after losing her husband. These characters made me laugh as well as cry, and I ended up falling in love with them, too."
"This beautifully rendered story explores the brilliance and rarity of finding true love, and how to find our way back through the painful aftermath of losing it. These characters will leap right off the page and into your heart."
"Touching and powerful...Reid masterfully grabs hold of the heartstrings and doesn't let go. A stunning first novel."
“A moving novel about life and death.”
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Read an Excerpt
It was New Year’s Eve and Ana and I had this great plan. We were going to go to this party to see this guy she had been flirting with at the gym, and then we were going to leave at 11:30 p.m. We wanted to drive to the beach, open a bottle of champagne together, and ring in the new year tipsy and drenched in sea spray.
Instead, Ana got too drunk at the party, started making out with the guy from the gym, and disappeared for a few hours. This was fairly typical of Ana and something that I had come to love about her, namely that nothing ever went as planned. Something always happened. She was a nice reprieve from my own personality. A personality for whom everything went as planned and nothing ever happened. So when I was stranded at the party waiting for Ana to pop out of wherever she’d been hiding, I wasn’t angry or surprised. I had assumed things might take this turn. I was only slightly annoyed as I rang in the new year with a group of strangers. I stood there awkwardly, as friends kissed each other, and I just stared into my champagne glass. I didn’t let it ruin my evening. I talked to some cool people that night. I made the best of it.
I met a guy named Fabian, who was just finishing med school but said his real passion was “fine wine, fine food, and fine women.” He winked at me as he said this, and as I gracefully removed myself from the conversation shortly thereafter, Fabian asked for my number. I gave it to him, and although he was cute, I knew that if he did call, I wouldn’t answer. Fabian seemed like the kind of guy who would take me to an expensive bar on our first date; the kind of guy who would check out other girls while I was in the bathroom. That was the kind of guy who found victory in sleeping with you. It was a game to him and I . . . just never knew how to play it well.
Ana, on the other hand, knew how to have fun. She met people. She flirted with them. She had whatever that thing is that makes men fawn over women and lose their own self-respect in the process. Ana had all the power in her romances, and while I could see the point in living like that, from an outside view it never seemed very full of passion. It was calculated. I was waiting for someone that would sweep me off my feet and would be swept up by me in equal parts. I wanted someone who wouldn’t want to play games because doing so meant less time being together. I wasn’t sure if this person existed, but I was too young to give up on the idea.
I finally found Ana asleep in the master bathroom. I picked her up and cabbed her home. By the time I reached my own apartment, it was about 2:00 a.m. and I was tired. The bottle of champagne intended for our beach rendezvous went unopened and I got in bed.
As I fell asleep that night, eyeliner not fully cleaned off my face, black sequined dress on the floor, I thought about what this year could bring and my mind raced with all of the possibilities, however unlikely. But out of all the possibilities, I didn’t think about being married by the end of May.
I woke up New Year’s Day alone in my apartment, just like I woke up every other day, and there was nothing in particular that seemed special about it. I read in bed for two hours, I took a shower, I got dressed. I met Ana for breakfast.
I’d been up for about three and a half hours by the time I saw her. She looked like she hadn’t been up for five minutes. Ana is tall and lanky with long brown hair that falls far beyond her shoulders and perfectly matches her golden brown eyes. She was born in Brazil and lived there until she was thirteen, and it’s still noticeable every once in a while in some of her words, mostly her exclamations. Other than that, she’s fully Americanized, assimilated, cleansed of all cultural identity. I’m pretty sure her name is supposed to be pronounced with a long a like “ahn-uh” but somewhere in middle school she gave up explaining the difference, and so now, she’s Ana, any way anyone would like to pronounce it.
That particular morning, she was wearing big sweatpants that didn’t make her look fat because she was so skinny, and she had her hair pulled up into a ponytail, a zip-up sweatshirt covering her torso. You could barely tell she wasn’t wearing a shirt underneath her sweatshirt, and it occurred to me that this is how Ana does it. This is how she drives men crazy. She looks naked while being entirely covered. And you would have absolutely no indication she does this on purpose.
“Nice shirt,” I said, as I pulled my sunglasses off and sat down across from her. Sometimes I worried that my own average body looked oversize compared to hers, that my own plain, all-American features only served to highlight how exotic she was. When I made jokes about it, she would remind me that I am a blond woman in the United States. She’d say blond trumps everything. I’ve always thought of my hair as dirty blond, almost mousy, but I saw her point.
Even with how gorgeous Ana is, I’ve never heard her express satisfaction with her own looks. When I would say I didn’t like my small boobs, she’d remind me that I have long legs and a butt she’d kill for. She’d always confess how much she hated her short eyelashes and knees, that her feet looked like “troll feet.” So maybe we’re all in the same boat. Maybe all women feel like “before” photos.
Ana had already made herself comfortable on the patio, having a muffin and an iced tea. She pretended like she was about to get up when I sat down, but just reached for a half hug.
“Are you ready to kill me for last night?”
“What?” I said as I pulled out the menu. I don’t know why I even bothered to look at the menu. I ate eggs Benedict every Saturday morning.
“I don’t even remember what happened, honestly. I just remember parts of the cab ride home and then you taking my shoes off before you pulled the covers over me.”
I nodded. “That sounds about right. I lost you for about three hours and found you in the upstairs bathroom, so I can’t speak to how far you and that guy from the gym got, but I would imagine . . . ”
“No! I hooked up with Jim?”
I put the menu down. “What? No, the guy from the gym.”
“Yeah, his name is Jim.”
“You met a guy at the gym named Jim?” Technically, this wasn’t his fault. People named Jim should be allowed to go to gyms, but I couldn’t shake the feeling this somehow made him ridiculous. “Is that a bran muffin?”
She nodded, so I took some of it.
“You and I might be the only two people on the planet that like the taste of bran muffins,” she said to me, and she might have been right. Ana and I often found striking similarities in each other in meaningless places, the clearest one being food. It doesn’t matter if you and another person both like tzatziki. It has no bearing on your ability to get along, but somehow, in these overlaps of taste, there was a bond between Ana and me. I knew she was about to order the eggs Benedict too.
“Anyway, I saw you making out with Jim from the gym, but I don’t know what happened after that.”
“Oh, well I’m going to assume that it didn’t get much further because he’s already texted me this morning.”
“It’s eleven a.m.”
“I know. I thought it was a bit quick. But it is flattering,” she said.
“What can I get for you two?” The waitress who came up to us wasn’t our usual waitress. She was older, had been through more.
“Oh, hi! I don’t think we’ve met before. I’m Ana.”
“Daphne.” This waitress wasn’t nearly as interested in being friends with us as Ana might have hoped.
“What happened to Kimberly?” Ana asked.
“Oh, not sure. Just filling in for the day.”
“Ah. Okay, well, we’ll make this easy on you. Two eggs Benedict and I’ll have an iced tea like she has,” I said.
“You got it.”
Once she left, Ana and I resumed our earlier discussion.
“I’ve been thinking about resolutions,” Ana said, offering me some of her iced tea while I waited for mine to get there. I declined because I knew if I had some of hers, she’d take that as license to drink some of mine when it arrived and she’d drink my whole damn glass. I’d known her long enough to know where to draw my boundaries and how to draw them so she wouldn’t notice.
“I’m thinking something radical.”
“Radical? This should be good.”
“Celibacy. Not having sex.”
“No, I know what it means. I’m just wondering why.”
“Oh, well, I came up with it this morning. I’m twenty-six years old and last night I got drunk and can’t be entirely sure if I slept with someone or not. That seems to be the closest to slut rock bottom that I want to get.”
“You are not a slut.” I wasn’t exactly sure if this was true.
“No, you’re right. I’m not a slut. Yet.”
“You could just stop drinking.” I had an interesting relationship with drinking in that I could take it or leave it. Drink, not drink, it did not matter to me. Most people, I’d found so far, fell strongly on one side or the other. Ana fell strongly on the “drinking” side.
“What are you talking about?”
“You know, stop getting drunk.”
“Stop it. I’m not saying something preposterous here. There are plenty of people that just don’t drink.”
“Yeah, Elsie, they’re called alcoholics.”
I laughed. “Fair enough, drinking isn’t the problem. It’s the sleeping around.”
“Right. So I’m just going to stop sleeping around.”
“And what happens when you meet someone you really want to be with?”
“Well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I didn’t meet anyone last year worth my time. I can’t say I expect that to change this year.”
Daphne showed up with two eggs Benedicts and my iced tea. She put them down in front of us, and I didn’t realize how hungry I’d been until the food was staring me in the face. I dug right in.
Ana nodded, chewing. When it started to look like she could speak without spitting food, she added, “I mean, if I meet someone and fall in love, sure. But until then, nobody’s getting in here.” She made an x in the air with her utensils.
“Fair enough.” The best part about this place was they put spinach in the eggs Benedict, kind of an eggs Benedict Florentine. “This doesn’t mean I can’t sleep around though, right?” I said to her.
“No, you still can. You won’t. But you still can.”
Ana was soon on her way back to the other side of town. She was living in Santa Monica in a condo that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. I’d’ve been jealous enough to resent her if she hadn’t offered on a regular basis for me to move in. I always declined, knowing that living with Ana might be the only thing that could teach me to dislike her. I never did understand how Ana could live the way she did on the salary of a part-time yoga teacher, but she always seemed to have enough money for the things she wanted and needed when she wanted and needed them.
After she left, I walked back to my apartment. I knew exactly how I’d be spending my afternoon. It was a new year and I always felt like a new year didn’t feel new without rearranging the furniture. The problem was that I had rearranged my apartment so many times in the two years I’d lived there that I’d exhausted all rational possibilities. I loved my apartment and worked hard to afford it and decorate it. So as I moved the couch from wall to wall, ultimately realizing that it really looked best where it was originally, I was still satisfied. I moved the bookcase from one wall to another, switched my end tables, and decided this was enough of a change for me to commemorate the year. I sat down on the couch, turned on the television, and fell asleep.
It was 5:00 p.m. when I woke up, and while it was technically a Saturday night and single people on Saturday nights are supposed to go out to bars or clubs and find a date, I opted to watch television, read a book, and order a pizza. Maybe this year was going to be the year I did whatever the hell I wanted, regardless of social norms. Maybe.
When it started raining, I knew I’d been right to stay inside. Ana called a few hours later asking what I was doing.
“I wanted to make sure you’re not sitting on the couch watching television.”
“What? Why can’t I watch television?”
“It’s a Saturday night, Elsie. Get up! Go out! I’d say you should come out with me but I’m going on a date with Jim.”
“So much for celibacy.”
“What? I’m not sleeping with him. I’m eating dinner with him.”
I laughed. “Okay, well, I’m spending the night on my couch. I’m tired and sleepy and . . . ”
“Tired and sleepy are the same thing. Stop making excuses.”
“Fine. I’m lazy and I like being alone sometimes.”
“Good. At least you admitted it. I’ll call you tomorrow. Wish me luck keeping it in my pants.”
“You’ll need it.”
“Hey!” I said back.
“Okay, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
With the phone in my hand, I ordered a pizza. When I called Georgie’s Pizza to order it, the woman on the phone told me it would be an hour and a half before it was delivered. When I asked why, all she said was “Rain.” I told her I’d be there in a half hour to pick it up.
Walking into Georgie’s Pizza, I felt nothing. No part of my brain or my body knew what was about to happen. I felt no premonition. I was wearing bright yellow galoshes and what can only be described as fat jeans. The rain had matted my hair to my face and I’d given up pushing it away.
I didn’t even notice Ben sitting there. I was far too involved with the minutiae of trying to buy a pizza. Once the cashier told me it would be another ten minutes, I retired to the small bench in the front of the store, and it was then that I noticed there was another person in the same predicament.
My heart didn’t skip a beat. I had no idea he was “it”; it was “he.” He was the man I’d dreamed about as a child, wondering what my husband would look like. I was seeing this face I had wondered about my whole life and it was right here in front of me and I didn’t recognize it. All I thought was, He’ll probably get his pizza before I get mine.
He looked handsome in a way that suggested he didn’t realize just how handsome he was. There was no effort involved, no self-awareness. He was tall and lean with broad shoulders and strong arms. His jeans were just the right shade of blue; his shirt brought out the gray in his green eyes. They looked stark against his brown hair. I sat down next to him and swatted my hair away from my forehead again. I picked up my phone to check my e-mail and otherwise distract myself from the waiting.
“Hi,” he said. It took me a second to confirm he was, in fact, speaking to me. That easily, my interest was piqued.
“Hi,” I said back. I tried to let it hang there, but I was bad with silence. I had to fill it. “I should have just had it delivered.”
“And miss all this?” he said, referencing the tacky faux-Italian decor with his hands. I laughed. “You have a nice laugh,” he said.
“Oh, stop it,” I said. I swear, my mother taught me how to take a compliment, and yet each time I was given one, I shooed it away like it was on fire. “I mean, thank you. That’s what you’re supposed to say. Thank you.”
I noticed that I had subconsciously shifted my entire body toward him. I’d read all of these articles about body language and pupil dilation when people are attracted to each other, but whenever I got into a situation where it was actually useful (Are his pupils dilated? Does he like me?), I was always far too unfocused to take advantage.
“No, what you’re supposed to do is compliment me back,” he said, smiling. “That way I know where I stand.”
“Ah,” I said. “Well, it doesn’t really tell you much if I compliment you now, does it? I mean, you know that I’m complimenting you because you’ve asked . . . ”
“Trust me, I can still tell.”
“All right,” I said, while I looked him up and down. As I made a show of studying him, he stretched out his legs and lengthened his neck. He pulled his shoulders back and puffed out his chest. I admired the stubble on his cheeks, the way it made him look effortlessly handsome. My eyes felt drawn to the strength of his arms. What I wanted to say was “You have great arms,” and yet, I didn’t have it in me. I played it safe.
“So?” he said.
“I like your shirt,” I said to him. It was a heathered gray shirt with a bird on it.
“Oh,” he said, and I could hear honest to God disappointment in his voice. “I see how it is.”
“What?” I smiled, defensively. “That’s a nice compliment.”
He laughed. He wasn’t overly interested or desperate. He wasn’t aloof or cool either, he just . . . was. I don’t know whether he was this way with all women, whether he was able to talk to any woman as if he’d known her for years, or whether it was just me. But it didn’t matter. It was working. “Oh, it’s fine,” he said. “But I’m not even going to try for your number. Girl compliments your eyes, your hair, your beard, your arms, your name, that means she’s open to a date. Girl compliments your shirt? You’re getting shot down.”
“Wait—that’s not—” I started, but I was interrupted.
“Ben Ross!” the cashier called out, and he jumped up. He looked right at me and said, “Hold that thought.”
He paid for his pizza, thanked the cashier genuinely, and then came and sat right back down next to me on the bench.
“Anyway, I’m thinking if I ask you out, I’m going to be shot down. Am I going to be shot down?”
No, he was absolutely not going to be shot down. But I was now embarrassed and trying hard not to seem eager. I smiled wide at him, unable to keep the canary feathers in my mouth. “Your pizza is going to get cold,” I told him.
He waved me off. “I’m over this pizza. Give it to me straight. Can I have your number?”
There it was. Do-or-die time. How to say it without screaming it with all of the nervous energy in my body? “You can have my number. It’s only fair.”
“Elsie Porter!” the cashier yelled. Apparently, she had been calling it for quite a while, but Ben and I were too distracted to hear much of anything.
“Oh! Sorry, that’s me. Uh . . . just wait here.”
He laughed, and I walked up to pay for my pizza. When I came back, he had his phone out. I gave him my number and I took his.
“I’m going to call you soon, if that’s okay. Or should I do the wait-three-days thing? Is that more your style?”
“No, go for it,” I said, smiling. “The sooner the better.”
He put out his hand to shake and I took it.
“Elsie,” I said, and for the first time, I thought the name Ben sounded like the finest name I’d ever heard. I smiled at him. I couldn’t help it. He smiled back and tapped his pizza. “Well, until then.”
I nodded. “Until then,” I said, and I walked back to my car. Giddy.
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Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Meet the Author
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an essayist and novelist living in Los Angeles and the acclaimed author of Maybe in Another Life, After I Do, and Forever, Interrupted. Before becoming a writer, she worked in entertainment and education.
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Very emotional and very real! Real characters and very relateble! I like this author and really enjoy her books! Read both titles! You won't be dissapointed!
This review is from: Forever, Interrupted: A Novel (Paperback) This novel begins with such a shocking surprise that you are immediately drawn into the story. It's a story of love, loss and new beginnings. Fabulous character development, centering mostly around Elsie, a 20-something free spirit, who lost Ben, her lover and husband, when his life was cut dramatically short. Also we are introduced to Susan, the mother-in-law she had never met until after the tragedy. These characters are so richly portrayed, and the novel flows with such grace, that it is hard to believe this is actually a debut novel! The raw emotion comes through and my reading group has already short listed this for our Fall/Winter lineup! Highly recommended and will be looking forward to future works from this talented writer!
I am a huge Emily Giffin and Sofie Kinsella fan, but Taylor Jenkins Reid might just top my list. I started reading Forever, Interrupted and found that I couldn't put it down. It was completely unexpected to jump from chapter to chapter going back in time to present day putting together the puzzle pieces. I found myself laughing and crying out load throughout the book, and couldn't help but fall in love with all of the characters by the end. I cannot wait for After I Do just to read another Taylor Jenkins Reid novel.
This book showed up on my doorstop. I hadn't requested it, hadn't heard of it. I saw blurbs by Amy Hatvany, author of Heart Like Mine and Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Best of Us. Well I love their books, so I thought I'd give the book a go. Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid was the biggest surprises in a long time! I absolutely loved this book! The main character is Elsie, and you can't help but like her, feel for her. The chapters are current day moving forward and walk you back in time with her relationship to Ben. I found myself laughing during one chapter and crying the next chapter...almost the entire book! It's a love story, tender and really beautiful and on the other hand a story of healing. It reads really fast! I just don't know what else to say about the book, but go buy it! Highly recommending!
One movie with the angel who falls in love with a doctor. if you you like this genre combo its a four but for those who dont skip it it may be on Hallmark
one of the most beautiful books I've read.
The sweetest love. The greatest loss. Forgiveness. Life goes on...all in this book!
Reviewed by Francesca and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog This story is quite a bit what you would expect by reading that title and it is not a spoiler (since it happens at the very beginning) to tell you what it’s about. Elsie is happily married, still on her “honeymoon” period after just being married for 10 days, when her husband is tragically killed in an accident. This is her story of grief and moving forward, as well as how she got there in the first place. And it’s a bit different than what you would think due to the fact her husband’s family never knew about her, or their marriage. Told in the popular back and forth in time, we get to slowly uncover how Ben swept Elsie off her feet, a bit insta-love if you ask me, but somehow it didn’t bother me as it usually would. I guess knowing from the beginning the outcome of the story it just made their romance to be an impulsive one that spans all of 6 months. Meet, date, marry, death. Seeing those happy moments only made knowing the outcome couldn’t change that much harder. This story is very character driven and if you are not on board with the heroine you may not enjoy it as much. Although there’s nothing that makes Elsie stand out from a crowd, I found her to be a character I could relate to. I do think there should’ve been a bigger struggle with the whole not telling the family issue. Maybe it’s the fact that their relationship was all so new, maybe it’s the fact that Elsie already had a bad relationship with her family. I don’t think that was addressed enough. I’ve been a fan of this author for a while now because of the WAY she tells her stories. Her writing is very simple, yet very emotional. And I think for the most part she manages to convey the right emotions in the circumstances we are faced with. Not always, but quite often. I’ve wanted to read FOREVER, INTERRUPTED for a while now. This was her debut novel and it was the last one I had left to read by her. I can’t say it’s my favorite, but as I was expecting it doesn’t deal in happily ever afters. In the end, I was satisfied with where this story ends up. I love that there’s always a message to be learned while reading her books, and as we grieve with Elsie we learn from that as well. I shed a few tears, and I enjoyed every moment. Another one I enjoy that just leaves me anxious for the next book this author will write.
I really, really enjoyed this. Lots of emotion and not too sappy. Can wait to read other titles by Jenkins.
Forever Interrupted: A Novel isn't your typical romance novel. If you are looking for a book to sweep you off your feet from the word go, this isn't for you. This book takes a tragedy and makes you struggle with the aftermath right along with the main character, Elsie Porter Ross. She eventually comes to grips with reality when she learns to lean on those close to her and in turn she becomes a rock to those people. The author did a very good job of forcing me to question myself if I were going through the same situation. As with her other book, After I Do, I found myself thinking about not just myself but how friends and family cope with the same situation. I suppose the moral of a Taylor Jenkins Reid story is to remember if you are suffering and you think you are alone, you are not and that is a very comforting thought.
And it paid off. I really enjoyed it. Sappy but that is not always a bad thing. Fast read.
Honest and well written. Great read.
The best book I've read in a long time. It draws you in and holds you to the end. It's unspeakably sad, funny, tragic, and romantic all at the same timeromantic , a
Elsie is a newlywed whose head over heels for her new husband, and her life shatters when he is killed running a silly errand for her. It's made doubly cruel when this is what leads to her meeting her new disbelieving mother-in-law. This book is a tear jerker amd quite frankly awesome in its portrayal of overwhelming grief. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a cathartic book. As for the review mentioning Hallmark & angels...just what book were you reading??
When the "review" reveals the heart of the story, there is no reason to buy and read. What a disappointment -