Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday Book Review: AT LAST, by Barbara Bretton

 At Last, by Barbara Bretton
First Published 1992, republished 2011

About the Book (from Goodreads):
From the moment they met as children, there was something special between Noah Chase and Gracie Taylor, something that grew and matured right along with them. Despite Gracie's troubled family--and Noah's cold, distant one--they managed to make each other laugh, and keep each other's dreams alive...

But Noah's father already had plans for his golden boy's future--plans that did not include the likes of poor, ordinary Gracie Taylor. And when he succeeded in tearing them apart--on the night before their wedding--it seemed those childhood dreams and teenage passions had been crushed by more grown-up things, like sorrows and secrets and lies...

Now, Gracie has returned to Idle Point, Maine--and so has Noah. Over the years, they've wondered if those dreams were just delusions, or if a love like theirs could ever happen again. Maybe they'll find out at last...
My Take:

First let me say I enjoyed this book and found myself fascinated by the world and characters the author created. Her descriptions were detailed and loving as she described the coastal community and its inhabitants, and I was engrossed in the love story, rooting for the happily ever after.


The writing style was old fashioned, or old school, or something early 90's... Different enough to keep pulling me out of the story to take a deep breath and say, well that's just her unique style. Parts sounded more like one of my mom's older romance novels (which I don't generally read or like), slow and too descriptive with too many adjectives bogging down the main point, while other scenes and dialogue were riveting, fast paced and on the money. I'm not sure what to think of it all, or the way the author blended past and present or circled around and got back to things, dipping into the backstory and swirling forward back to present day every once in a while.

All that said, I did get totally absorbed in the storyline and enjoyed this achingly sweet romance and was so glad to finally get tot the HEA.

Gracie Taylor and Noah Chase grew up together in the same small Maine town, but on opposite sides of the tracks. Gracie's mom dies when she was an infant and her father slipped into an alcoholic stupor for the next twenty years, leaving his elderly mother to take care of his daughter. Noah was the only son of the richest man in town, newspaper mogul Samuel Chase. The families inexplicably know and despise one another, for murky reasons that don't become clear to Gracie and Noah until much later.

They meet on the first day of kindergarten, when Noah takes Gracie under his wing and she falls in love with him, (a fact that is repeated and repeated.) After being best friends for a year or two, there is a confrontation between the fathers and Noah is sent away to boarding school, only home for short visits, growing up to be an overindulged, entitled jerk of a guy until he gets kicked out of boarding school one summer and reconnects with Gracie ...and their young love affair truly begins.

Despite the fact that they are kids and young adults for most of the book, this isn't YA or NA as the book starts with Gracie as an adult, running away from Noah and off to grad school in the prologue. Chapter One goes back to that first day of kindergarten and swirls forward from there in fits and starts. The points of view vary between many main characters, including Gracie and Noah's parents and others, seeing the same scenes through the kids' eyes as well as the adult perspective a few moments later. Trust me, this is not a fast read or you will get lost in perspectives.

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