Reading a work by Mona Ingram makes you want to vacation on one of the gulf islands off British Columbia, the westernmost province of Canada. In one short descriptive phrase, Ms. Ingram offers up the essence of this beautiful territory:
Galiano and its neighboring islands had been, “scoured by retreating glaciers” with “broad expanses of layered rock that lead down to the water”.
Between Galiano and Vancouver lies Salt Spring Island where, “Tall trees crowded the road on this section of the island and in the late afternoon, the sun lay in parallel stripes across the road causing a dizzying effect”.
Ms. Ingram sets her sixth novella, Forever in My Heart, in both of the above mentioned
locations. Galiano Island, site of the Bradford family’s 200-acre Camp Tillicum, becomes a safe place where underprivileged, ‘at risk’ kids can be themselves and connect with others from similar backgrounds.
Unbeknowst to handsome, dark-eyed Matthew Bradford, volunteering at the three-week camp will shape his life for the next 14 years. In less than ten days, he would form an affinity for a fellow counselor and during week two would meet James Watson, a politician with lofty goals.
But when Natalie disappeared from her cabin without warning and wouldn’t answer his persistent calls, the Bradford heir accepted a position in Watson’s campaign office and returned to Vancouver Island at the camp’s end.
Now thirteen years later, the skilled communicator has risen to the position of press secretary to the Premier of British Columbia. Tired of covering up Watson’s affairs and neglected duties again and again, Matthew had been contemplating a change.
Meanwhile on Salt Spring, a home to authors, artists and people working in the film industry, Natalie Hayden has become one of the most sought-after potters in the province. With the help of monies from her Aunt Brenda’s estate, the single mother has set up her own pottery studio where she could pursue her life’s passion and support her daughter, Brianna.
For Matthew, his accidental meeting with a 13-year-old girl on a school tour of the Parliament Buildings thrust the past into the present. He immediately remembered Natalie’s distinctive hair coloring and dusting of freckles. In turn, Matthew’s look of recognition activated Brianna’s bullshit detector leading to a confrontation with her mother.
Will the reluctant Natalie allow Matthew to rekindle their long-lost summer love? Will the single-minded Brianna still have to wait until her 16th birthday to learn the name of her father? What will Matt give up to earn the love of Brianna – and her mother?
Ms. Ingram’s 141-page novella will answer those questions and more. One reviewer characterized Forever in My Heart as, “a relaxing read with enough twists to make it real”.
A second reviewer commented that Mona Ingram’s stories never disappoint her readers: “Her characters are real and quickly become well loved; people you would like as friends.”
This reader found Ms. Ingram’s writing to be simple, straight forward and right on the mark. With a limited amount of words the author created a memorable setting and characters that readers won’t soon forget. Even though Forever in My Heart spanned a period of 13 years, the transitions between past and present were effortless. Any of Ms. Ingram’s novellas, usually 32,000-43,000 words, could be read in one sitting; an added attraction for book lovers with a limited amount of free time.
Each book in the Forever series focuses on a character at a crossroads in life. Most stories feature a woman, but may also include a male counterpart. While Ms. Ingram’s stand alone stories focus on how the characters find love, they do not include graphic sex and may be read in any order.