Sunday, February 9, 2014

Forever by Mildred Cram

This novella, first published in 1934, is an ethereal fairy tale that tells the story of “A love that was longer than life and stronger than death.”

It’s the story of Colin and Julie. They first meet in a beautiful valley and fall in love when they are two souls waiting to be born. They promise to find each other again and to be lovers on earth the same as they were in heaven.

Colin is born in England, a much desired son, a handsome, dark-haired scion of wealth and privilege. He grows up to become a lawyer with a knack for untangling the lingering problems of the past—lost wills, old grants, and forgotten deeds. At twenty-six he’s engaged to a nice girl, but he finds himself inexplicably drawn to visit the Chamonix Valley in The Alps. A place he’s never been or seen.

Julie is born in America, she’s the prettiest girl in Philadelphia, and married to a banker who adores her, but she is tormented by the same longing, pulling her to the same alpine valley.

Colin and Julie meet in the valley that has been calling to both of them. It’s as though they've known each other all their lives. They fall instantly in love.

Since this is an old book, long out-of-print as of this writing, that can sometimes be hard to find at a reasonable price for a casual reader, I am going to break my usual rule and tell the rest of the story and how it ends, so if you plan on reading this and don’t want spoilers skip to the final paragraph please.

They vow to meet in the hotel ballroom the next evening, Julie promises to wear the white dress and red slippers Colin likes and they will dance to his favorite waltz, The Blue Danube. But the next day both are killed in separate, unrelated, accidents and their happy ghosts reunite in the ballroom for their promised waltz.

This is a sweet and charming story of romance and reincarnation and a love that never dies. I became curious and sought it out after reading that it was a particular favorite of my favorite leading man from Hollywood’s Golden Age—Tyrone Power. Apparently the story had special meaning for him and he often gave copies of it as gifts and hoped to star in a movie adaptation. Unfortunately that film was never made, which is a great pity as I know he would have been magnificent in it.

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