Eve's at it again, and this time it is not the apple she is tempting with
By JB Lexington
OK, a cursory glance at my photo on this website is probably all you need to see to know that I am probably not the market audience for JB Lexington’s Forever Eve. In truth, this is probably the first voyage into the genre. But with that said, lets let’s shed off some preconceptions, and some clothes, and get fresh perspective and life experience.
Starting on her wedding day, Izabel Jones (Carmichael) seals her own Faustian pack, becoming entrenched into the wealthy, but rigid, conservative lifestyle, dominated by the abusive relationship with her husband, Bo. She loves her man, or more accurately she loves whom he was, and it is soon clear that he is not that man he once was, or has much intention of being again. As a reflection of this staid and oppressive life we also have unfettered access into the world of Natalie, her best friend, who is beautiful, proud, confident and free. This is Izabel’s siren song, providing the environment in which Izabel’s own sexual/personal liberation can occur.
The catalyst for the unfolding story is a fantastical exploration of lost love from past lives, but personally I found this less interesting, and in many respects less relevant, than the internal conflict of her deeply flawed relationship to a man she still wishes to love, and the insipid influence of the relationship on her belief in herself. The duality of a lost love adds a flight of fancy and the genre defining escapism, and helps lighten a story which would otherwise be a tale of escape from the effects of domestic violence, but for me only served as a distraction to the best aspects of Lexington’s writing. Though the existence as ‘Eve’, as well as the reference to Izabel through her maiden name, rather than the crushed entity as Mrs Carmichael, does offer a glimpse into the possibilities of a sexual and personal liberation.
Saying that, the story flows well and none of the overarching story feels laboured or unnecessary and has done a good job in avoiding the stereotypical pitfalls of the worst of the genre’s lexicon. Lexington has also been careful to ensure that Izabel’s husband is no one dimensional monster. Sadly my favourite character, Tippy, the mother in law, was used sparingly.
As with all books of the genre (I assume), there is an underlying exploration of the dynamic between sex, power and self-worth. The sex is of course mind blowing, but here at least it is not a pancreas for all ills, and we are left with a damaged woman that does not insult those effected by domestic violence. Though I did find the ‘Pretty Woman’ past life experience of Eve, a prostitute, a little saccharin.