Title: Forgetting August
Author: J.L. Berg
Series: Lost & Found #1
Release Date: December 1, 2015
She can forgive, but can she forget?
Some days, Everly still thinks she sees him. In the food court at the mall, or in a car speeding past as the light changes. It only lasts a second, but when it happens, she slips back to a time when she was ruled-and nearly ruined-by August Kincaid. And it doesn’t matter that she’s moved on, that she’s about to marry another man. In those moments the only thing she can do to regain control is take a deep breath and remind herself that August can’t hurt her-because he’s in a coma. Except that he’s not anymore.
August is awake. With no memories, he sets out to solve the mystery of his lost life. He unearths a photograph of a beautiful redhead named Everly and knows instinctively that she’s the key. But when he finds her, the August she describes is more monster than man.
Tortured by the thought of having hurt her, August wants only to become the man Everly deserves. As the new August emerges, Everly glimpses the person she first fell in love with. But can she trust that this August is real? When the final secret of their shared past is revealed, one of them will make a choice that changes their future forever . . .
J.L. Berg has written something incredibly beautiful with Forgetting August. While August and Everly’s story is certainly unconventional, there is something about them that is unexpectedly familiar. Their problems and lifestyle may have been far more dramatic than my own, but their emotional turmoil was an unquestionably basic human experience. How do you reconcile the worst and best parts of the people we love? How do we accept the darkness and light in ourselves? After two years of bandaging up her past, Everly’s wounds are exposed and broken wide open when August re-enters her life. The incredible upheaval and unavoidable self-reflection that follows was haunting, leaving me feeling as if J.L. Berg had physically torn my heart in two. This talented author has certainly outdone herself, her growth as a writer pouring off the pages of this heart-wrenching story. J.L. Berg’s vibrant characters and lyrical prose paint a stunning tale of love, forgiveness, and the secrets that we keep.
“If I gave my heart over to a man who then turned into my worst nightmare…? Who would be there to pick up the broken pieces? No one, because there would be nothing left to find.”
The characters in this story consumed me completely. Both so beautifully broken and scarred by the pain they’d inflicted upon one another, August and Everly were more than a little complicated. August’s inability to remember his former life has him experiencing life all over again under the dark cloud of who he was before. The emotional turbulence this dichotomous existence ensured had me feeling deeply for him. I hurt for this character, overwhelmed by the sheer weight of everything he’d lost and anxious at the possibility of his memory returning. J.L. Berg has written this character so carefully, balancing the aspects of his personality that were innate and those he would need to rediscover. Everything about him from his appearance, behavior, and lifestyle to his favorite flavor of ice cream was meticulously pieced together to create this conflicted man. I loved him and hated him, caught between the old August and the new and obviously deeply invested in his journey. I found myself simultaneously rooting for him and wanting to slap him, concrete evidence of J.L. Berg’s exemplary craftsmanship of August Kincaid.
“Maybe sometimes love isn’t pure. Maybe something it’s toxic – so toxic it consumes a person until they would do anything to have it. Like a drug. If I loved her now, would it be the same as before? Would I consume her?”
As conflicted as I found myself about August, I was maybe even more so conflicted by Everly. There were moments where I wanted to scream at her to stop playing such a dangerous game with August and Ryan. Yet there were just as many instances where my heart absolutely broke for her. Her loss was simply devastating and the position she found herself in so unexpected that I couldn’t help but connect with the emotional uproar she was facing. Through all of the ups and downs, J.L. Berg orchestrated an impressive amount of growth with this character. Forced to face the pain she’d never really dealt with, we get to see Everly really struggle. As she moves through her fear and finds the strength to face August and eventually herself, this character comes to life in a beautiful way. Everly has a long way to go in the next book and I was still frustrated with where she was at by the end of Forgetting August, but with the secret Everly has been keeping finally revealed, I know J.L. Berg is just getting started with this character.
“You and I are the same. Both too scared to admit the cold, hard truth – moving on isn’t an option for us because we’re still stuck right damn here.”
Forgetting August is a rollercoaster from start to finish. The concept of this story has been well executed, sucking me in and holding me captive in August and Everly’s world. The plot was well paced and exciting, the perfect balance of angst, mystery, and joyful remembrance. August and Everly’s obvious connection and undeniable chemistry made for an easy acceptance of their convoluted relationship, allowing me to wholly invest myself in their happily ever after. As always, J.L. Berg has rounded out this couple’s journey with lovable secondary characters that are already proving vital to the story. Sarah, Ryan, and Brick have caught my eye and I enjoyed the way they added to my understanding of who Everly and August really are. I’m excited to see the role they’ll play in the grand scheme of things. This unforgettable story will make you feel, make you think, and make you question everything. As August and Everly’s past and present collide, J.L. Berg takes readers through a whirlwind of emotions, leaving me feeling raw, wounded, and against all odds – hopeful.
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Don’t miss the conclusion to the Lost & Found Series:
Remembering Everly (Lost & Found #2)