Loving Longest by Lisa Van Gemert is a modern variation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion where we find:
- Emma, a young widow and passionate English teacher and,
- Adam, a police officer closed to trust or love
“Thanks” to a meth lab exploding in Emma’s neighbourhood, both characters meet, well, Adam meets a bleeding face, Emma’s face. As Emma lives alone, Adam has to track down from her home to her school and then to Emma’s sister Amy to find someone to take care of her. However, Adam eventually takes care of Barrett, Emma’s dog while she is in hospital. When Emma is back home, he offers to walk Barrett every morning as Emma is not able to do it, she agrees.
A strong attraction between them is forming and they start dating after being honest with each other and saying that they are not a full person to give. We know about Emma’s late husband, better said, at this point we know part of his marriage but we do not know anything about Adam’s past.
They fall in love and they are very happy although some days they barely see each other due to work, so they are just stealing moments to be together. However they are happy knowing each other and loving each other.
Before Thanksgiving, Adam asks her to spend the holiday with him and his family and she agrees. Barbara, Adam’s mother is not very welcoming, let’s say that everything she does or says looks like she hates Emma even when she has just met her. One of the afternoons they are in New York, Emma overhears a conversation between Adam’s parents and Adam where Barbara tries to convince Adam that Emma is not appropriate for him and she even implies that there might be something “dark” on Emma’s husband’s death. Emma cannot believe what she is listening to and she is so shocked about Barbara’s implication that she almost misses the part when Adam declares that he is going to ask her to marry him.
Our Anne Elliot cannot think about having a happy marriage when her “mother-in-law” just hates her and she cannot put Adam on the situation where he has to choose between her and his family because part of his family hates her. Even when Adam keeps telling her that he chooses her. However, Emma cannot do that to him or to herself, so they break up.
A couple of years later, Emma encounters Becca, Adam’s sister, and Becca tells her about her teaching career and that she is going back to NY for his brother’s wedding. Emma’s heart breaks even more now because she knows that’s the end to any hope, Adam is lost to her.
Emma just needs to go on with her life: her job that she loves, her sister and nieces and nephew, her friends, her knitting and after some time she starts travelling as she does lectures on cruises. (I found this quite interesting!)
Six years after she met Becca, Emma is in a cruise around the British Isles and she has several presentations prepared about Jane Austen, George Elliot and Charles Dickens.
Her first conference is about Jane Austen and when she is reading Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne, a person comes in the theatre and locks eyes with her: Adam. OMG! Yes, it is Adam and he listens to her reading:”Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever.”
That cruise becomes extremely awkward because not only Adam is there, also his whole family… even Barbara. I need to say that (mini-spoiler) that Adam is not married! Becca has two brothers and she never specified nor Emma asked.
For the most romantic readers, this does not exactly become a Love Boat trip or at least it is not a love cruise where our protagonist end together… not exactly at least.
Our protagonists will have more heartache to live but…
Spoiler alert! 😛
happy ending will eventually arrive but it will be very difficult. There is too much complication for them and too much suffering even before they met.
Religion is a key part on the lives of Emma and Adam, I found it very nice but I know there are a few of you who do not like this topic on books. Trust me that it is not too much at all and I really enjoyed the wedding as Adam is Jewish and Emma Catholic. It is a lovely and funny wedding 🙂
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