My Review: 5 out of 5 Stars. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!
So obviously you see the natural progression of my rating throughout this series. With each book I enjoyed the series more. I will say at the start, that again this book seemed a bit longer than it really needed to be and there were times when it just lagged, but, the totality of the story, the characters, and the ending just made it all worth it…
I felt a wider range of emotions with this final book in the series. I am not sure I have ever cried so much throughout one book, as I did with Never Look Back. Sad tears, happy tears, sad tears, happy tears… the cycle continued on until the last page. During the final 25% I pretty much never stopped crying and I think my husband might have actually thought I was having a breakdown…. but this is what made this series so good. There were times, that again Emi’s actions frustrated me. I realized she was never really good at coping or dealing with major things without the help of someone else. From her brother, to Nate, and then Jack – someone was always helping her through these situations, which is great, but it was always after she handled it badly. But I suppose this is why we love her so much – she’s real!!
I LOVED that this final book was told from Jack’s point of view. It was nice to get inside his head and really see him. I loved how he let Emi grieve for all of her losses, never pushed and while there were times he felt pangs of jealousy, he understood and he was willing to allow Emi to cling to this love and loss she could not let go of. Not too many men out there would be capable of living with those kinds of ghosts – being compared to a great love that could have been.
I loved Jack’s family – Matty and Lucas were my favorite! Steven made me SO mad in Colorado and then redeemed himself thereafter. I guess we can all appreciate protective siblings, but man he came on strong. I loved Donna’s continued relationship with Emi and her tie to Jack. It was obvious that this was a difficult place for Emi, but Donna was warm and loving… only wanting what was best for Emi.
And without saying too much, what Jack does for Emi and Nate -both with the stuff left in storage and well, for those who have read the series… you know the thing I mean, and for those who haven’t, hopefully you will soon enough. I was left speechless and bawling like a baby over Jacks selfless actions for Nate and Emi. He re-affirmed what a wonderful man he was.
As for the storage unit stuff, I loved his willingness to let Emi enjoy the memories. I loved his willingness to share in those memories and learn more about her through them. As for the um, who know… “I can’t say anymore part”, I loved Jack’s secretiveness while he pulled it all off, I loved how giddy he got when he was able to reveal it to Emi and how he was so willing to let her have this part of her life. He never once tried to force her to let it go…
And Contessa…. Mmmmmm! I can hardly wait to start this other series of books that actually ties into this series. Lori surely fulfills the series whore in me, wow! I loved this whole aspect. I loved how it all unfolded, I loved that we got to see the start of this relationship in this series and I LOVED that it completed everything. While things worked out for Emi in the end, it wasn’t without substantial loss throughout the series or enormous heartache and regret. We saw so many characters; Emi, Nate, Jack, Chris, Anna, and Jenn grow throughout this series. I felt such an attachment to them all. The series as a whole to me was fantastic and would get 5 out of 5 stars!
I praise Lori for her writing, for her bravery, and for bringing these wonderful characters into my life.
***This next paragraph contains SPOILERS… PLEASE DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE SERIES!!!**
I hate writing spoilers, but this series was wonderful and I wanted to touch on Nate without giving anything away to readers who haven’t read it. I loved Nate. While I didn’t like his behavior in book #1, I still loved him. I was so devastated when he was killed and to watch Emi go through such heartache – to lose her love and their baby was just so raw and emotional, something I know personally. (My best friend was killed in a car accident in our early twenties and I have never gotten over it.. loss like that is always hard. As for her baby, a lot of woman, including myself know the pain that comes with this kind of loss… it’s excruciating and difficult to understand). I cannot say enough, how happy I was that throughout the second and third book we still see Nate – through Emi’s memories, the storage items, the wonderful paintings he’s done, and the gallery that Jack gives Emi. I remember feeling slightly cheated at the end of book #1. Just when Emi and Nate finally find love and happiness together (after two books), it is taken away. But it was what made the story so beautiful. Like I had started to say before, but couldn’t, if Nate and Emi had ended up together, the story wouldn’t have gone very far.
The whole series was emotional, and while I loved Nate and missed him constantly throughout the story, I fell more and more in love with Jack as a person and as a companion for Emi. It is situations like this where first we wonder why and then we see the bigger picture. That our life may not be fated the way we believe… death is a harsh way to force your true hand of fate, but life is like that. At a really young age I was diagnosed with cancer and it brought my young adult life to a screeching halt… for years, while I was sick, I wondered why why why???? And then when I was finally better, finally in remission, I headed off to college (at 25) rather than 18 and met the man I would marry, my soul mate – who was 7 years younger than me. It wasn’t until after we were married that I realized, that had it not been for my life coming to a standstill, there would have been no way we could have been in the same place (in totally different parts of the country) at the same time… but fate found a way to bring us together. Some people may think this seems crazy, but you know, it makes me appreciate what happened to me so much more, it makes the “whys” easier to understand….
Again, praise for Lori Otto and her beautiful Emi Lost & Found Series, I am a true fan!!