Forever Kind of Woman


Tess McLeish travels from Chicago to Forever, Texas, to join her soon-to-be husband. As a widow with a not-quite-complete medical degree, she can only practice her profession in tandem with a licensed doctor. But her intended, Dr. Waverly, is not pleased to see her and seems to have his eyes on another. While Dr. Waverly leaves her life upended, the attractive Sheriff Carter’s appeal grows. But life in Forever, Texas, turns dangerous for Tess as she finds signs of someone sneaking around her home. Now Tess must fight for her right to remain in the medical field, but also for her own safety.

Susan Payne’s protagonist provides a rare glimpse of what it may have been like to be a female doctor in the western territories during the 1880s. Certainly she has created a strong, independent woman who readers can respect. Her writing, however, does not fully evoke the feelings of the period with some contemporary leanings in language and characterizations. Additionally, the plot moved at a rather slow pace, never quite providing enough action to fully draw in the reader.  Ms. Payne’s characters, particularly Tess, had well fleshed out inner lives, with clear dreams, emotions, and goals. Their interactions, however, feel something less than organic. Ms. Payne’s “Forever Kind of Woman” provides readers with a unique plotline set in small town Forever, Texas. It’s perhaps a bit idealized, but certainly the kind of town readers would like to hop back in time to visit.

Shailyn Rogers