Keep Forever

Fiction - Womens
253 Pages
Reviewed on 11/15/2017
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Alexa Kingaard was born in San Diego, CA and considers herself a native, having lived most of her life in the area. She currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of an adult son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders. A realtor for fifteen years, she remains involved with her profession and praises her brokers and clients for giving her the nod to be creative. She gives all the credit for completing KEEP FOREVER to her inspiration and late ex-husband, Jeff, who battled the residual effects of the Vietnam War for decades after his return.​

In her debut novel, Alexa creates an intimate portrait of a family dealing with the unseen wounds of a Vietnam Veteran and his lifetime struggle with PTSD. Although the story is fictional, she has tapped the memory of her own experiences to tell a compelling, sensitive account of the emotional turmoil soldiers endure, and the collateral damage created for their wives and children.

“I believe anyone who has known a veteran or active member of our armed services will be able to relate, regardless of the conflict,” she states. “The injuries are an instant replay, noticeable or disguised, and the endurance test of all our military men and women is nothing short of heroic.” This story will capture your heart.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

Reading Keep Forever by Alexa Kingaard is a bit like enjoying one of those warm fuzzy movies that dominate the TV channels at Christmas…not because it’s centered on Christmas, but because it reminds us of those cherished, homey values and feelings that surface, for most of us, as we sit around the tree or Christmas table, the greatest of which is love. This story of Elizabeth, her siblings, and her husband, Paul, spans several decades, but Kingaard is skilled at keeping the story moving, not cluttering it with too many details or insignificant events in a person’s life that can slow down an interesting narrative. When their parents die in a car accident, the teenage Elizabeth and her older brother are at a loss as to how to look after the younger children. This is where those homey values surface: the extended family of uncles, aunts and grandparents rally around the children to help. With their support, all the children grow into happy, responsible adults. This is the kind of love and support all families should be able to count on, but there are far too many who can’t.

Keep Forever is also a story about making decisions when emotions run high. Elizabeth’s older brother, initially faced with the prospect of having to look after this parentless family, enlists in the military. It’s a decision he comes to regret, but which also brings his comrade, Paul, into Elizabeth’s life after they return from service, both injured and suffering with PTSD. What follows, especially for Paul and Elizabeth, is a lifetime of struggling with Paul’s nightmares, but again, her love for her husband carries them through Paul’s suicidal feelings, attempts at rehabilitation and more. And always, their loving family is there for them.

The descriptions of the bloodshed and injuries on the battlefields of Vietnam in Keep Forever are graphic and readers will respond emotionally to what they read. It is good they are included: for those who haven’t fought in Vietnam, who question just how bad it was, Keep Forever will help them visualize it more fully and better understand how these vets feel when they finally come home. A thought from another book comes to mind as you close the pages of Keep Forever: the true measure of a person’s value is determined by who they are, not what they do. Those are the kind of people you will read about in this excellent first novel by Alexa Kingaard.