Review by Veronica

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I took a trembling breath, shaking my head. ‘I’m… maybe nervous?’ 

Nervous… elated… wondering when I’m going to wake up and find I’ve overslept for school again. 

‘Nervous?’ Elliot pulled his hand back, brow creasing. ‘Jessie, you know you don’t have to worry about me trying anything.’ 

I shook my head, my voice a whisper. ‘I’m more worried you might not try.’ 

After the longest silence, he placed a tentative hand against my cheek, leant in and kissed me. I felt like I’d come home.

Always on My Mind is a heartwarming story of learning to forgive yourself and taking that first step of finding your HEA. 

When Jessie left home at eighteen, she swore she’d never go back. But when life takes a turn for the complicated, she’s forced to move in with her twin, Isaac, and his two best friends. To her dismay, one of these is Elliot, the boy Jessie once loved, until his life was changed forever by a terrible accident that Jessie still blames herself for.

Cohabiting with three alarmingly unhouse-trained males was not in Jessie’s life plan so when Isaac, Elliot and Arthur offer her a generous rent discount if she’ll help them with their ‘Boys to Men Project’, designed to end years of disastrous dating, she reluctantly accepts the challenge.

As Jessie embraces the comfort of being home, revelling in her new job at her parents’ day centre full of people determined to grow old disgracefully, she realises her housemates aren’t the only ones needing to make some changes. And maybe, if she can finally forgive herself for Elliot’s accident, she can start to look forward to a future, with or without him by her side.

I quickly remembered how fast I could get sucked into a Beth Moran book. There is just something about her storytelling abilities that just draws you in and doesn’t let you go until the very end. Her ability to craft a beautiful and emotional story continues to amaze me. Always On My Mind follows Jessie, who has returned home after losing her job and home. Coming home is not something Jessie wants to do because it means facing her past, but more importantly, facing Elliot. Elliot is Jessie’s first love, but she blames herself for a terrible accident that forever changed Elliot’s life.

I loved the wonderful mixture of humour and heart in this book. Whenever this story started to feel a bit heavy, Beth lifted her reader’s spirit with sweet and funny moments. I loved the Outlaws, who are seniors who attend daytime programs at the local senior centre, which Jessie’s parents own. This group of people were a hoot, and the things they got into just had me laughing and cringing at the same time. I hope I can be that much of a troublemaker when I am older. Jessie’s living experience with her three male roommates was fabulous. These guys were dorky, sweet, and slightly quirky. I loved being a part of their boys-to-men mission and watching them try to win over the women of their dreams. Fans of Beth’s books will be delighted that some of the characters from her other books appear in this one. 

In this book, Beth tackles some pretty tough issues, such as grief, living with a disability, anxiety, and depression. I can tell that Beth has taken her time to research the issues and has thought about how she can include them in her story. She approaches with thought and with hope. I got this sense that these are tough and terrible things, but there is always hope that things will get better. 

Jessie and Elliot are adorable and just so so sweet. My heart melted every time Elliot told Jessie that he would never forget anything that had to do with her. There were so many quiet moments between these two that greatly impacted me as a reader. The simple act of eating breakfast or sharing a cup of tea had so much depth and meaning. There was this chemistry/feeling of rightness between Elliot and Jessie. I knew as a reader that they were each other’s soulmates. This book is great for those who want to read a romance but want something not chock-full of romance cheese. There is this realism to all the love stories in this book. 

Always On My Mind is a breathtaking story about love, forgiveness, and coming home. 

Thank you, Boldwood Books and Rachel Random Resources, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.