Cover Image: Still My Forever

Still My Forever

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Sawyer’s best work yet! I expected a sweet romantic story, but the depth of emotion and the conflict within the characters absolutely stunned me. 

Ava and Gil start the novel on poor terms, and both of them are demonstrated with all their ugly flaws. Ava is forced to confront her selfishness, while other characters are also brought to face the one in the mirror. 

Some of the best interactions came between Ava and her parents—or Ava’s parents and the other characters—who were incredibly upfront and lovable. The icing on the cake, as is a staple in Sawyer’s books, is the thread of having a true relationship with God through Jesus. 

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this genre of fiction. I will not be forgetting this novel anytime soon. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. I will definitely be buying a physical copy for my bookshelf!
Was this review helpful?
Outside and in, this story was a beautiful concerto to the soul.

My heart sang while absorbing Ava’s and Gil’s journey through broken hopes, shattered dreams, and misunderstandings. Each chapter brought forward fresh opportunities and plot twists that surprised and delighted me, as well as delicious treats I could practically smell as the characters snarfed them down.

Themes involved in this novel’s plot were numerous and beautiful, yet the one that outshone them all was that of discerning and following God’s direction in one’s life. The other themes underscored this exquisitely.

It was wonderful to see a character stepping into his mentor’s shoes until he could find footing of his own. Even more fun was that cousins were featured as rivals. The musical aspects of this story were written with detailed flourish and provided the backbone for the sweet-as-honey romance. It was neat to see participants of all ages within the community.

The complex and charming characters fit perfectly with the author’s trademark style. Even the one I loved to hate grew on me, as Mrs. Sawyer is so skilled at doing in her stories. As per usual, her cast carried regrets and hopes, flaws and talents, dreams and faith as they journeyed together.

The narration by Barbara McCulloh was fantastic. She’s one of my favorite narrators, and I was glad to see (and hear) that she’d signed up to do the reading for Mrs. Sawyer’s latest novel. Very great choice!
Was this review helpful?
A very sweet and interesting novel. I enjoyed getting to know Gil, Ava and the band. 
I love how the author blend romance, faith and second chances throughout this well written novel. 
My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for a copy. Opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This book was so good! At point, I did not want to stop reading. The lead couple is Ava and Gil. Gil left home to pursue a music career in NY City. He has returned, thinking that he has failed. His hometown welcomes him home and loves him unconditionally. The healing in this book is evident. It occurs in Ava, Gil, and Gil's family. I read an electronic copy courtesy of Net Galley.
Was this review helpful?
Another heartwarming, uplifting offering from amazing storyteller Kim Vogel Sawyer!  Set in 1905 in a small Kansas community of Russian immigrants, the fictional story is reflective of the author’s Mennonite family heritage.  It takes you on an emotion-packed journey from beginning to end.  The smoothly flowing plot reveals the story through clearly alternating points of view of three main characters.  The wonderful cast of well-crafted characters brings the story to life.  The second chance romance is sweet and endearing.  The strong faith thread woven throughout the story is inspiring and encouraging. If you love history, romance, and music you will enjoy and appreciate this highly satisfying read.  
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley with no obligation to write a positive review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Kim Vogel Sawyer does it again! Beautifully written story of love, and forgiveness. This was a heartfelt story of two people that are drawn in two different directions and then their lives cross again. Will they reconcile their differences and let love lead them or will they choose to go their separate ways? I guess you will have to read this book and find out. You will not regret it!
Was this review helpful?
An absolute treasure of a book. KVS has done it again. I love this author’s writing and the fact that she is a fellow kansas native. I found myself laughing and crying and before long weeping. A book who brings about this much emotion is always a winner in my eyes.

Thank you netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review this book. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Still My Forever, by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a heart-warming Christian historical fiction story. This well-written story pulled me right into the story. It is an easy to read story with wonderful, caring characters. I appreciated the parts of the story of how helpful the people were. When the men’s band needed a new leader, Ava’s father took over. With Gilbert’s return, her father graciously hands the position over to Gilbert. Seeing a need, Gilbert also starts a boy’s band and enters them in a competition.

Not only is their a story of caring for others, this is a story that points out everything happens for a reason and God answers prays in unusual ways. This is very evident with the incident of one of the members of the men’s band. I enjoyed reading this story and seeing how the broken relationship between Gilbert and Ava gets restored. I especially enjoyed how Gilbert’s aunt and uncle try to help Gilbert understand about how they raised him.

I voluntarily received a complimentary copy of this book, this is my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Gilbert and Ava were meant to be together but Gilbert had wanted to be a successful musician and composer so he left Ava four years ago to make his break in New York City.  His introduction into the music world of New York was not as grand as he had hoped and now he is back in Falke, Kansas, for a stopover before he returns to New York.  But will God have different plans for his life than he has had?  Will his love for Ava still ring true and will she forgive him for leaving her?

This is a sweet story about a small town in Kansas.  There is music and romance, as well as religious dialogue woven through the story.  The story is rich and well crafted and offers a peek into the Russian Mennonite culture and ways.

I was given an arc copy of this book and I willingly offer my honest review after having read it.
Was this review helpful?
If you enjoy sweet historical romance, you will enjoy Still My Forever set in a Mennonite community in Kansas in 1905. I admired Ava Flaming for staying at home to help care for her ill mama instead of marrying Gil Baty and going to New York where he tried to make a name as a composer. I did also admire Gil for trying to make a life in New York. Musicians will want to read this story of Gil trying to make a winning band out of the boys in Falke. I received a complimentary e-book through NetGalley. This is my honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
This historical romance set in a Kansas Mennonite community drew me in from the start. Gilbert’s returned to Falke gave way to surprises and pain at tiimes, as he was asked to direct the men’s band. Gil and Ava story had plenty of twists and turns in learning to let go of the past.  I appreciated the historical element of the Russian immigrants and their music heritage based on the author’s legacy. I could hear the men and the boys band playing while reading. There’s a lovely theme of faith, community, discovering forgiveness and God’s perfect plan for one’s life. 

Thank you to WaterBrook Publishing and NetGalley for an advance e-copy of this book to read without any obligation to write a positive review. I have expressed my own thoughts.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book. I liked the interactions between the characters and the second chance at love. Also the way the parents were included in the story.
Thank you netgalley!
Was this review helpful?
As always, Kim Vogel Sawyer has delivered an outstanding story of love and redemption and hope. Set in Faulke, Kansas, the story follows Gil and Ava as they discover God's plan for their lives. Four years earlier, Gil left for New York City, hoping to make it big in the music business. Now he is home and the love he felt for Eva before he left hasn't gone anywhere. He doesn't want to commit though, as he is unsure where his future will take him. Ava has patiently taken care of her ailing mom the entire time he has been gone and finds her old feelings resurface just as soon as she sees him. Can the two trust each other and the promises of God to lead them to a new future?
Super good book! I always love the message that Sawyer portrays in each of her stories. With God, we do have hope for our future. 
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read and review the book. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This was a good story.  Music played as the main theme.  A sweet romance helped carry the storyline. 
I know there are many groups of Mennonites.  The group talked about in the story emigrated from Russia. While the speech followed accurately, I felt a lot of detail was left out.  Did they have to dress a certain way?  Were woman forced to wear head coverings?  Married men grow beards?  This story seemed to lack the patriarchal aspect most Amish, Mennonite, and other cults live by ( I’m more sensitive coming from a damaging cult).  
Also, it was confusing about the town size.  It was described as small, but there were an awful lot of musicians for a small town size.
Was this review helpful?
About this book:

“Four years after leaving town to make a name for himself as a composer, Gilbert Baty has returned temporarily to Falke, Kansas. Now, he's trying to keep everyone from learning the truth about his disastrous years in New York City. He hopes to start writing music again in Falke, but he can't help being distracted by Ava Flaming, the brown-eyed baker to whom he was briefly engaged before he ended things--and who still stirs feelings in him he knows he has no right to pursue.
Ava had thought she was past the loss of Gil Baty. But to her dismay, she's as drawn to him as ever. The situation only gets worse when Gil establishes a youth band in Falke, showing once more what a good man he is.
But when the band has a chance to compete in a statewide competition, Ava faces the prospect of heartbreak again. Could music take Gil away forever this time? Or might God be stirring in Ava's and Gil's hearts a new song that will draw them together for good?”

Series: As of now, no, a stand-alone novel.

Spiritual Content- Psalm 28:7 at the beginning; Scriptures are mentioned, quoted, read, & discussed; Prayers; Many, many talks about God, His will, His forgiveness, & God-given gifts; Talks about those in the Bible; 'H's are capital when referring to God; The town this is set in is a Mennonite community & all the characters are Mennonite; Going to church, a Bible study/meeting, & sermons; Ava struggles with wondering why God chooses a different pathway for His followers and if He really cares about her requests, thinking that He doesn’t answer in the way she wants (she wants to believe that God has a purpose in everything, about half-way through she starts changing in her thoughts about it all (positively)); Many, many mentions of God, His will, & God-given gifts; Many, many mentions of prayers, praying, prayer requests, & blessings over food; Many, many mentions of a church, church going, services, a reverend/clergymen, sermons, hymns, & worship; Mentions of Bibles, Bible reading, & those in the Bible; Mentions of Bible meetings/studies; Mentions of blessings & being blessed; A few mentions of eternity; A mention of an angel choirs; A mention of wooden crosses; 
*Note: A mention of Gil using his baton the way a “story wizard practiced with a magic wand”.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: two forms of ‘dumb’; Sarcasm & Eye rolling; Fight, being hit and hitting back, pain, & injuries (border-line barely-above-not-detailed // semi-detailed); Joseph is very jealousy of Gil (*Spoiler* (view spoiler)); Ava tells a fib to Gil (at the beginning, to play down her feelings towards him); Mentions of fevers & deaths; Mentions of a fight, accidents (falling down stairs), injuries, pain, blood/bleeding, & a death (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of jealousy; Mentions of gossip & rumors; A few mentions of a fire; A few mentions of gambling (which is not approved of in the town); A couple mentions of a young girl being heartbroken when her cat died; A couple mentions of hunting falcons; A mention of a father who drank himself to death; A mention of children receiving a strapping when misbehaving;
*Note: Mentions of a baby that came too early, his passing, & his mother’s grieving over him (up to semi-detailed).

Sexual Content- a fingers-to-lips touch, a hand kiss, four forehead/top-of-the-head kisses, and a barely-above-not-detailed kiss; Recalling a kiss (barely-above-not-detailed); Wanting to be kissed (barely-above-not-detailed); Wanting to kiss & embrace someone (Gil towards Ava, but he does not because they are not betrothed); Touches, Embraces, Shivers, Hand holding, Nearness, & Smelling (barely-above-not-detailed); Blushes; Noticing & Staring; Mentions of kisses & kissing; Mentions of blushes; Mentions of chaperones & not being alone with someone of the opposite gender; A couple mentions of flirting; A mention that Gil would be mortified if he accidently saw Ava in her sleeping clothes; Love, falling/being in love, & the emotions;
*Note: A mention of a mother who died in labor. 

-Ava Flaming, age 21
-Gilbert “Gil” Baty, age 22
P.O.V. switches between them & Joseph
Set in 1905
336 pages

Pre Teens- One Star
New Teens- Two Stars
Early High School Teens- Three Stars 
Older High School Teens- Four Stars 
My personal Rating- Four Stars

I’ve never been a big fan of the “second chance relationship” trope (when a couple meets again after a while and they’re no longer a couple, but still attracted to each other). I typically feel jipped with that trope because I want to see their first falling in love and all the sweetness that comes with it, but I hate to see the couple break up—which is an important part of that trope. This book made it work so well.

I adored Ava’s caring for her parents and their relationship. They were focused-on God and His will and therefore their relationship were so supportive and healthy, which was just lovely to read. Her parents weren’t just there, they were a large part of the story with their wisdom and prayers and I loved that so much. 

I felt a little frustrated with Ava towards the end and Joseph at the beginning, but it was still a very sweet read with a satisfying ending. 

The whole story was wholesome and interesting. It’s a book that you feel like you’re basking in the warm sunshine when you read it, does that make sense? Many of the books I’ve read by this author have that same…element? Ambiance? Experience? It’s definitely a talent. You see the characters grow and fantastic faith content while reading a sweet story. 

Link to review:

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
*I received this book for free from the Publisher (Waterbrook Press) for this honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This was a beautiful and sweet story.

Set in 1905 Kansas in a Mennonite community of Russia immigrants, this story tells of finding purpose. It's also a story of forgiveness and letting go of bitterness and jealousy.

Sawyer has the gift of creating characters that you fall in love with. Some many of the characters in this book were easy to love, dislike, and pity. The interactions between characters was strong and I found myself in tears as I learned the stories of different characters. I found myself laughing at the antics of the kids. This is a feel good story. But not necessarily an unrealistic happily ever after story as well. I appreciate how the author kept the story real.

This is truly an uplifting feel good story!

Disclaimer: I did receive this book from the publisher but was under no obligation to provide a review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Still my Forever by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a very sweet second chance historical romance that is set in 1905 Kansas in a Mennonite community of Russian immigrants. Our main characters of Gil and Ava were previously engaged but Gil had left to pursue his dreams and love for music in New York City. Gil has since returned to Kansas for the summer – will Ava and Gil rekindle their romance from the past? Does Gil have his priorities straight as he works to direct the town band? Will he stay in Kansas after the summer or head back to New York City?

This is a perfect story for music lovers! 4 stars. Gil is a composer who begins to direct the men’s band and establishes a youth band and soon realizes what means most to him in this beautiful small town. Ava really cared about her family and that was so great to see. Since the characters are in their early 20s, it was nice to see parents so involved in the story. 

The faith content in this was also great, many prayers and verses discussed. I also loved the parts centered around the youth band – the children were adorable! It was so inspiring to see this sweet little band come to life and how happy the children were.

Overall, the romance was sweet, the ending was satisfying and uplifting, and I just really enjoy Kim Vogel Sawyer’s writing. Thank you to WaterBrook Press and NetGalley for providing an advanced reader copy for me to honestly read and review.
Was this review helpful?
A Truly Beautiful Story

Not having read a historical fiction story in a very long time, I wasn't sure what to expect. But I must say that with Still My Forever, author Kim Vogel Sawyer has made me want to delve more into this genre. It was truly heartfelt and my heart immediately went out to Gil and his broken spirit. It had to be so difficult for him to return to Falke with broken dreams and to a difficult family situation. I wondered how he would get back to his music and to Ava.
As for Ava, I understood how hard it had to be for her. Taking care of her mom, the household and a host of other tasks had her putting her own needs on hold. However, Gil's return had her looking at things in a new light.

How these two forge ahead in their redeveloped friendship and relationship is a truly beautiful story. It was touching and inspiring as they sought God's will for their lives and the possibility of a renewed relationship. The story drew me into what the characters were going through and feeling, and this made the story that much more special. It is a beautiful story that is not to be missed, and I highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley. All comments and opinions are strictly my own.
Was this review helpful?
Still My Forever is set in a Mennonite community in 1905 Falke, Kansas. Twenty-one year-old Ava Flaming lives with her parents, caring for her ailing mother, and nursing her own broken heart. Gil Baty, who was briefly Ava's fiance before moving to New York to pursue a career in music, has returned to Falke to nurse his wounded spirit. While I have no musical talent, and not a great amount of interest in music, I was enthralled by this story that is wrapped in music. I believe you will be as well. 

Kim Vogel Sawyer has a way of making her characters matter to her readers, and in doing so she is also able to help her readers embrace her characters' life lessons, lessons easily applied to our daily lives, lessons that go down with a spoonful of sugar which is the enjoyment of a story well-told. I am grateful to have received a complimentary copy of Still My Forever from WaterBrook via NetGalley without obligation. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Was this review helpful?
When I first started reading this title and realized it was Mennonite fiction I was not sure about continuing the story as this is not a genre I prefer. But knowing how much I enjoyed the author's writing from past books, I continued. I am so glad I did. It did not take long for the story and characters to sweep me away. The part where the title is explained is so sweet, The heroine's actions towards the end of the story did frustrate me but I was satisfied by the ending.
Was this review helpful?