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As Long as Love Lasts

Written by: Jea Hawkins
Narrated by: Lori Prince
Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
Categories: LGBT
4 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

2018 - She doesn't know if a marriage is worth fighting for.

Peyton Kennedy quantifies everything in terms of numbers and risk. She looks at a problem and solves it, leaving no piece of the puzzle out. When her young, too-whimsical wife inherits a derelict farmhouse from a distant aunt, Peyton can only see the bottom line. Too much work. Too much money. Time. Energy. Definitely not worth saving. 

But her wife knows how to get her way, and Peyton finds herself roped into renovations. This...this may be the straw that breaks her marriage's back, and Peyton's worried about how worried that makes her. That is, until a 70-year-old bundle of letters and a time-worn diary fall on her head.

Before she knows it, Peyton is drawn into the story of her wife’s great aunt, Marty, a woman who dared defy social conventions for the love of another woman. 

1939 - She doesn't know what love is.

Marty Bell thinks life will fall neatly into place. Her mother has expectations: a husband, wealthy enough to give Marty security for the rest of her days. When she meets a beautiful circus worker who shovels dung and pounds stakes for a living, it's the first time Marty sees that she can stray from the path.  

Soon, her life is dictated by not just her mother, but the upheaval of war and the one thing she never expected to find: love. And Marty will risk anything and everything to hold onto it.

Contemporary and historical lesbian romance intertwine in this emotional tale of a diary, an elephant, and four women who know that few things matter more than finding someone who loves them just the way they are.

©2018 Jea Hawkins (P)2019 Jea Hawkins

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ana
  • 2019-12-24

Amazing!

Lovely story with great narration! Couldn’t put my phone down! Don’t pass this up. Love love love!

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-01-10

How about a sequel?

I just finished listening to this and I thought it was a great story, particularly about Marty and Vera. It doesn’t stick to the formulaic lesbian romance fiction but So what?-that’s the way life is. Anyway, I would love to see a sequel where we get to learn Vera’s story beyond the surface.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lira D.
  • 2020-01-08

Romance from the past is what kept me listening

The romance storyline from the past is what kept me listening. Like most others have said, I wasn't a fan of the current day storyline- the 2 just weren't very likeable or developed so I wasn't invested in their story. Now Marty, Vera and the elephant... I was all sucked into that story. I wish there had been more of that story. Overall it was well written and I love the concept. Lori's narration is great. I wasn't sure about the ending... only because they didn't spell it out for me and it made me feel like I was missing something. But the pre-ending was a nice plot twist.

1 person found this helpful

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  • cjldypyro
  • 2020-01-03

As big as an elephant

Oh, what a book. The story grips you from the very beginning. I was pulling so hard for Brooke and Peyton. Wonderful story with superb narration. An elephant? Awesome. :)

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sab
  • 2020-02-17

This was a great book

But i am left with the want of more... you can’t end this story with the 1981 epilogue you need to tell the story of Vera, and the story of Brook and her wife.
I will be looking for the sequel...

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  • Jennifer Morrow
  • 2020-02-14

Loved it!!

Such a fantastic story of love, loss, hurt and reconnection through stories of the same of those who came before!

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  • A. J. Holmes
  • 2020-02-07

A beautiful love that survives and surpasses time.

I've read this title a couple times because it's just that good however, hearing it on Audible really brought it to life. The narration by Lori Prince was done very well and I'm so thankful for that. There's is no doubt I'll be listening to this one again as I read along with the book.

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  • Dee Resz
  • 2020-01-21

One sided love

I titled this review one sided love because that's what it felt like throughout the story with Vera and Marty's love leading me to continue and Peyton and Brooks love wanting me to stop listening. There was a forced lack of connection between Brook and Peyton to set the stage for what was supposed to happen throughout but it almost ruined the story for me. I first heard Lori Prince narrate Like Jazz and her voice matched the characters for me but this was really hard to follow since her narration only matched Brook and Vera. Story was interesting and I loved the time period changes back and forth and almost loved the past more than the present most of the time.

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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 2020-01-21

Parallel lives

I love layered and complex books that also have a simplicity to them. As Long As Love Lasts by Jea Hawkins is that book. The story starts out fairly simple – Peyton is on the verge of ending her marriage to Brooke and bubbly Brooke has no idea things are falling apart. The inheritance of Brooke’s great-aunt’s farm house is either going to make or break the marriage – as most reno projects are wont to do. The discovery of a trove of letters dating back more than half a century turns the women’s lives upside down. Suddenly Peyton has a good reason to stay married – if only to find out what happens to Brooke’s aunt, Marty.

Now, here is where I depart from the book. If I found a trove of letters and a diary, I would read them all in one or two days. Brooke and Peyton are disciplined, however, and take their time. Man, that frustrated me. Because I wanted to know how the story ended and instead I was taken on a beautiful journey that lasted nine hours. Time well spent, I promise you.

Marty was a young woman when she met circus carnie Vera. The attraction was almost instantaneous and the two women spent what little time they could together and although they made no promises, when the circus moved on, Marty held on to the hope she would see Vera again. They do, eventually, and here’s where the elephant comes in. You’ll just have to read to figure out how Alberta fits into the story but a few laughs on my part were had. I loved that the difficulties of being a lesbian in the 1940s and 1950s wasn’t glossed over – the women faced some tough challenges such as how to find a way to be together without being discovered. Of how to fall in love with someone while society expects something very different from you.

As Peyton and Brooke unravel the mystery of Vera and Marty, they have a few things in their lives they have to deal with. Because this journey into the past is either going to strengthen them or tear them apart. And, of course, there’s always the parallel journey of Vera and Marty.

The book is told in alternating chapters, the voice changing between Peyton and Marty. I loved this structure because it pulled me through the past and interwove present day, as I said, paralleling the two relationships. This is a Jea Hawkins romance, so I figured a happy ending was in the cards for the modern-day couple, I just didn’t know what would happen to the women from the past.

Lori Prince narrated this story and she was the perfect choice. She differentiated the four women clearly and even gave Vera that tobacco-laden voice. I was drawn into in the story and Lori held me there, richly immersed in both past and present. I always love the combination of Lori and Jea – I get well written and well performed books.

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  • JulieM
  • 2019-12-30

Fantastic Love Across Time Story

I loved this story! It’s one of those great romances that has parallel structures between the couples in a contemporary setting, and a couple in a historical setting. The modern couple is made of Peyton and Brooke (practical and bubbly in that order), whose marriage is on the rocks. Renovating the house Brooke inherited from her aunt Marty might be the thing that finally throws this rocky marriage into divorce.

As Peyton and Brooke renovate the house, we learn of Marty’s life, especially around World War II. She was a closeted lesbian at a time when she couldn’t live as openly as her niece and wife do now. As the modern couple works through the mysteries of the past, they find a way to repair their broken marriage and come out with their love stronger than ever.

Stories like this can be my jam. I remember loving Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café when I read that at age 17. This was just as good. The details are evocative, and you feel for these different women. Maybe I saw a little of myself in them, too.

As far as the heat level of the novel, there is a sex scene between the historical couple, but most of the physical intimacy on the page is kept to kisses. This book doesn’t try to be erotica, but it does lean into the romantic love relationships between women.

This is probably one of the best books I have heard in all of 2019. I recommend this to those who enjoy WLW fic and historical drama. If you liked The Notebook, this could be a book for you.

Narrator Lori Prince’s performance here is up to her standard. She has a voice that sounds especially suited for younger characters, but not once did any of her acting choices sound too young or not appropriate. Prince reading Jea Hawkins’ novels is always a treat, and I look forward to the next one.