After a valiant struggle, Carmen’s husband, Jobe, succumbs to leukemia. Although she admired Jobe, and bore and raised three children with him, Carmen felt little passion for her husband while he was alive and occasionally strayed outside of her marriage to savor that missing ingredient. In The Forever Marriage, by Ann Bauer, Carmen has daydreamed for years about being a “free” woman, but the reality of Jobe’s death affects her in unexpected ways as she looks back on their life together.
While wandering through Europe after her junior year, Carmen—beautiful, worldly, and untamed—was mortified when she accidentally spilled hot tea on a stranger in London’s Kensington Gardens. It’s through this encounter that she met ungainly Jobe, who was pursuing his PhD in mathematics at Oxford. Never was there a more mismatched couple. But despite their differences, Jobe always seemed available to rescue Carmen when her future was most uncertain.
Having met her share of less than reliable men, Jobe offered Carmen stability and kindness. Despite her misgivings, their relationship progressed but when the two married, she immediately felt trapped…as she knew she would. Although their first child, Luca, was born with Down’s Syndrome, Jobe adored his son and patiently taught Luca a variety of necessary life skills. Luca was eventually followed by a daughter and then another son. Carmen didn’t realize it, but Jobe was fully aware of his wife’s restlessness and her transgressions, yet he, nevertheless, stood by her.
Don’t let the title of Bauer’s book scare you into thinking this is a lightweight novel. Nothing could be further from the truth as Carmen begins to realize after her husband’s passing just how exceptional a man he was. The Forever Marriage will not only make you think, but might even spur you to look at your own life from a new perspective.