“Forever Amber” by Kathleen Winsor is an unsung classic in my opinion. It was given to me by my mom only to be neglected on the bookshelf for years. I finally got around to reading it while on vacation this summer. Within the first few pages I knew that this was a book I would read again and again. Kathleen Winsor writes beautifully. Her world and those in it quickly captivated me. “She had never seen anyone like him before in her life. The clothes he wore, the sound of his voice, the expression in his eyes, all made her feel that she had had a momentary glimpse into another world – and she longed passionately to see it again, if only for a brief while. Everything else, her own world of Marygreen and Uncle Matt’s farm, all the young men she knew, now seemed to her intolerably dull, even contemptible.” (Forever Amber, pg 19).
The main character Amber can be challenging to like at times. She is young and foolhardy and quick to want things but difficult to please. There were times while I was reading “Forever Amber” that I just wanted to shake her and get her to see some sense. Still, I couldn’t help but find myself cheering her on in all her crazed adventures. One thing that Amber is without fail is opinionated. Her mind and her thought process was fascinating to follow. “She was already convinced that people had a better opinion of you if you pretended to be something more than you were than if you used them honestly.” (Forever Amber, pg 87). One thing that I found myself relating to in regards to Amber’s opinions were her thoughts on women. “But Amber had never believed that other women were important to her success and happiness, and she did not intend to let them trouble her now.” (Forever Amber, pg 173). I liked the way that Amber was upfront about her dislike of females. I don’t feel quite as strongly as she does, but nevertheless, I can relate.
“Forever Amber” begins in the countryside. When Amber first sees Bruce, she begs him to take her with him. Theirs is a passionate love affair and one that never ends. Their desire for each other burns brightly and I believe that is part of what makes their love so difficult to maintain. “By now Bruce had been back long enough and she had seen him so often that the jealousies and worries that beset her when he was away had begun to encroach upon the pleasure she found in being with him. She had begun to feel more discontented over what she was missing than grateful for what she had.” (Forever Amber, pg 322). This excerpt is a great example of what Amber is like. She wants things so badly that when she has them she doesn’t know how to enjoy it. It is part of what makes her so charming and infuriating at the same time.
Would I recommend this book? I would, most definitely – but not to everyone. It is a book that would appeal much more to the female population. That is not to say that men would not also find this book enjoyable. It was a great read and after writing this review, I want to go pick it up and begin my first reread of “Forever Amber”. Alas, there is not time for that right now. Perhaps next summer.