The Duvoisin family saga that began with A Silent Ocean Away and Decision and Destiny wraps up with this final volume. It takes place in the late 1830s in Virginia and on the lush West Indies island of Charmantes, the longtime residence of the wealthy Duvoisin family. Charmaine Ryan, the family’s governess, finally makes her choice between the two Duvoisin brothers: Paul, the dashing illegitimate son, who makes his marital intentions clear at last; and John, the complex man with whom she has, to her surprise, fallen in love. In the last book, John had left Charmantes in the wake of a devastating tragedy, but circumstances call him back again – to face his father, patriarch Frederic Duvoisin, and determine whether the deep wounds between them can ever be repaired. Forever Waiting is ultimately a novel about maturity, forgiveness, and coming to terms with the past, but before the dust settles, there’s still much more of the Duvoisins’ painful history yet to be revealed.
The novels must be read in order, and although the first one started out rough, I quickly became sold on this trilogy. It’s full of likeable, flawed characters I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with; John’s gradual transformation from embittered, cynical family pariah to honorable hero was especially well portrayed. While the ongoing drama remains at the forefront, the story takes place against a well-rendered backdrop of the 19th-century shipping industry and the burgeoning abolitionist movement along America’s eastern seaboard. The plot twists and turns in unpredictable ways, and the conclusion is as satisfying as anyone could wish. DeVa Gantt is the joint pseudonym for co-author sisters Deb and Valerie, and some have called their style old-fashioned, but if their work marks a return to solid, engrossing storytelling, then I’m all for it.