AUTHOR:  Kimberly Adams

GENRE:  Romance

Available @ AMAZON

REVIEWER:  Pistol Annie

RATING:  ****4 Stars****


It was 1990, and we were tying yellow ribbons around old oak trees.

And we were waiting.

The time I’d spent with Grant Butler was stolen. Each moment between us only fueled our need for each other. He was older, and forbidden by my parents.

And then he was gone.

Grant wrote to me from Saudi Arabia, and in his very first letter, he asked me to marry him. In his last letter, he promised to hold me in his arms on my graduation day.

His last letter ended in forever.

As I tried to move on with my life, I was consumed each day with the memories of a ghost…

Of my young love. My first love.

On August 26th, 1997, he was finally found…
but I’d already lost him.

This is the story of our life…. and it’s only just begun.


Stunned, wowed, impressed, flabbergasted, maimed and shredded pretty much describes the range of my feelings at the end of this book.  I’m left with a painful ache in my heart for all that was lost and found, and lost once again.  Kimberly Adams, who is a new-to-me-author, chose to take this book one step too far in my humble opinion.  That last step was a real joy zapper!  And that, my fellow readers, is my one and only criticism and the reason for a one-star deduction.  Along with these characters, readers had already suffered enough emotional trauma throughout this story without having to take that one last defining step.  I didn’t need OR want to go that far into the future.  I would have been totally and completely satisfied drawing my own conclusions without this particular ending.  With that being said, First lives up to the hype and I highly recommend it!  

But, oh how I did love these characters and their story!  There are no words to express the beauty and power of the deep love story between Grant and Annie.  The writing is flawless, exceptionally well-developed and spellbinding.  The journey felt natural and realistic.  Told in a two-part storyline with captivating and riveting imagery and detail, it’s mostly narrated from Annie’s point of view.  Still, you get enough input from Grant to make it a fair shake.  Part One melts your heart with the beginnings of new love when a senior boy vigorously asserts himself into a tenth grade girl’s heart, and then Part Two tears them apart with his commitment to the U.S. Marines and deployment to Afghanistan.  There’s a lot of ground to cover before the pieces are finally reconnected.  

In an epic love story that spans the years 1989-2017, beginning in high school where two normal teenagers, Annie Lake and Grant Butler, fall in love, this book covers multiple layers of life and love.  These two young lovers share magical “firsts” along with heartbreak and loss.  In all aspects it is exquisite, intriguing, and enjoyable to the very end.  The story has grit and plenty of raw emotion and enough passion to satisfy the most demanding romance lover.  Have Kleenex close at hand.  It is also one of the most beautifully and poignantly written storylines to ever have consumed me in one sitting.   After years of separation, their reunions, although bittersweet, are always the perfect culmination of heart and soul.  

Having a memorable hero is one of the best ways to set a romance novel apart from the rest of the pack, and Grant Butler was indeed a formidable character.   An all-around good guy, a sweet talking charmer with a side of devilish, too.  Of course, he’s gorgeous, but Grant comes with a grungy side to him as well.  He’s the epitome of everything we want in our book boyfriends.

Hailed as the girl next door, Annie is feisty and refuses to be placed in a mold or transformed to the expectations of others.  Readers will easily identify with her.  She’s smart and artistic.  Not one to go along with the crowd, but well-liked.  She’s a good girl — and a virgin.  

While the hero and heroine are the undeniable center of this story, there are secondary players who impact the storyline in big ways, including friends and family members.  They add plenty of depth and spirit.

The author is articulate, astute and precise, and she frankly blew me away with my first adventure into her writing world.  I am always hopeful for a happily-ever-after when I begin a new love story.  Neither did she disappoint — even though it was bittersweet.  From this day forward, she will also be remembered as the author who — without a doubt — cured me of the need to beg for an epilogue.  From now on, I’m of the mindset that less is more and just leave me happy at the end of the last chapter, thank you very much!  Be careful what you wish for — it might just backfire leaving you with an achy breaky heart that even a glass of wine (or two) won’t mend.  One thing is for certain – Grant and Annie are characters who came to life on the pages, capturing my heart, and they won’t soon be forgotten.  



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