"Almost Missed You is a skillful, insightful debut: a deft exploration of the mysteries of marriage, the price we pay for our secrets, and just how easy it is to make the worst choices imaginable." —Chris Bohjalian, New York Times bestselling author of The Sandcastle Girls and Midwives
"Almost Missed You is an emotional powerhouse of a novel." —Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of A Sudden Light and The Art of Racing in the Rain
"In Almost Missed You, debut author Jessica Strawser meticulously weaves together a kidnapped child, friends in turmoil, and a Craigslist ad into a tangled web of secrets, lies, and unexpected alliances. This heart-breaking page-turner will make you question how well you really know everyone you hold dear." — Amy Sue Nathan, author of The Glass Wives
"Jessica Strawser has expertly woven a tale of a marriage in crisis with elements of daring, danger, mystery, and secrets that will surprise and delight you...Glorious!" — Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars in the Heavens
"Jessica Strawser writes from the heart." —New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline
"Almost Missed You is compelling fiction from a brave new voice." —Bestselling author Sophie Littlefield
Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.
So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.
Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.
As the suspenseful events unfold through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Jessica Strawser's Almost Missed You is a page turning story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
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About the Author
Jessica Strawser is editor-at-large at Writer’s Digest, where she served as editorial director for nearly a decade and became known for her in-depth cover interviews with literary luminaries. She’s the author of the book club favorites Almost Missed You and Not That I Could Tell, a Book of the Month selection and Barnes&Noble Best New Fiction pick for March 2018 (both St. Martin’s Press).
She has written for The New York Times Modern Love column, Publishers Weekly, and other fine venues, and is a popular speaker at writing conferences and book festivals. She lives with her husband and two children in Cincinnati.
Read an Excerpt
Almost Missed You
By Jessica Strawser
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Jessica Strawser
All rights reserved.
Violet couldn't remember the last time she'd felt so at peace. She almost felt guilty admitting this to herself as there had been so many moments to treasure in the three years since Bear was born. Becoming a mother had been many things — often indescribably rewarding, occasionally stupefying, sometimes even terrifying in the intensity of the love she felt for someone so small and vulnerable and dependent upon her — but relaxing was not one of them.
Every moment of it had led up to this, though: The blue-green southern Florida ocean sparkling before her, the gentle waves breaking, the pelicans diving into the water, and her sitting here taking it all in, a book in one hand, a piña colada in the other, and a rare and blissful stillness around her in the hour since Finn had taken Bear up to the hotel room for his nap. She smiled at the memory of Bear building sand castles earlier, making crashing noises as he plowed his dump truck through the mounds of sand he'd carefully sculpted just moments before, and of the way Finn looked at her when he offered to handle naptime today — a mixture of tenderness and something she couldn't put her finger on, as if he hadn't wanted to look away. He felt it too, the collective release of their first vacation in years. Tonight, after Bear was in bed, they would take that fresh bottle of pinot grigio out to the balcony, and she'd lay her head on that perfect-fit spot on his shoulder as they settled in to watch the moonlight sparkle on the rolling water.
Life was good.
She couldn't help thinking of the day she'd met Finn. It had been on this very stretch of beach, right on the other side of the pier. They'd had that kind of instant electric connection that happens only once in a lifetime, and yet by the time she'd flopped her suitcase onto her bed back at home, she'd had the sinking feeling she'd never see him again. It had left her with a desperate empty sensation, and feeling a little foolish for pining so earnestly for someone she'd only met. She wished she could reach back in time and tell her former self not to worry. It would all work out in the end.
Dominoes. It was that intricate chain reaction of tiny movements that came to mind whenever anyone asked how they finally ended up together. There had been years of radio silence between their first and second meetings, no doubt filled with unrealized opportunities, untaken chances, unspoken words, missed connections. Even as children, they had passed each other like ships in the night. Their coupling was a story that people demanded they tell again and again. They'd be introduced at parties —"And this is Violet and her husband, Finn. Don't let them get away from you until they've told you the story of how they met. It's a bestseller!"— they'd oblige, and then would come the response: That it must have been fate. Meant to be. Kismet.
Violet wasn't sure their story was so different from any other. Ask any couple about their meeting, and you'd discover how many things had to have gone exactly right — or exactly wrong — for them to have gotten together. If so and so had been on time, and so and so hadn't been feeling sick that day, and so and so had come through with that concert ticket slash ride slash twenty dollars, and cell phones had been invented back then, and any number of other against-the-odds occurrences or nonoccurrences had or had not transpired in the hours, days, weeks, even years up until their crossing paths again and again until one time everything finally aligned, they never would have ended up together.
Fate, people liked to call it.
But Violet pictured it as dominoes.
Somehow, they'd been positioned perfectly. And at the end of the line was Finn.
Sometimes she couldn't believe her luck.
Because not only was Finn Finn, but Finn had given her their Bear Cub. Her most precious thing. Motherhood had wrapped its chubby little baby-lotion-scented arms around her and would not let go, in spite of the fact that Bear's birth involved no perfect culmination of events — in fact, his was one of those stories that made people gasp in horror. There had been a postpartum hemorrhage, but not until a few hours after they'd welcomed Bear to their little world, and the doctors almost didn't catch the bleeding. She'd very nearly died.
What a marvel to wake up the next morning and see how pale Finn was, how stoic, how shaken to the core. "I'm perfectly okay," she told him in a hoity-toity imitation of her gram that usually made him laugh. But he just entwined his fingers with hers and lowered his forehead to their clasped hands, and she was overcome with emotion. To be loved the way Finn loved her. To have been gifted this beautiful baby boy, and to have survived his birth after all. To finally have a family of her own, something she hadn't known since her parents' accident when she was a child. Her heart had never felt so full.
Bear and Finn were her whole life now. Once Bear grew into a full-fledged toddler, Violet quit her job, a bold move she'd never imagined herself making. Her days became overrun with adventures to find exciting new leaves and rocks, with the constant challenge of trying to get him to eat anything but string cheese and chicken nuggets, with sippy cups that never had all the right parts clean, with tiny cars that always seemed to be underfoot. She brought just enough order to the chaos not to irk Finn with a complete mess when he got home from work. But mostly, she just enjoyed Bear. Sometimes after Finn had left for his morning commute, as she and Bear shared the tiny kitchen table, eating frozen waffles and watching PBS Kids, she'd look down at her pajamas and slippers and think that there was absolutely nowhere she would rather be.
Except the beach. She did occasionally fantasize about some time alone on the beach, a piña colada in hand, the only cries she could hear coming from the seagulls overhead.
And now here she was, right there in her fantasy, with some rare time to herself, and all she could think about was Bear.
It was useless trying to convince herself she needed more time alone. She wondered if she should be bothered by the fact that she seemed to have lost her ability to shut off her mom mode. But the thing was, the mode suited her. She had needed a little break — but really she'd been reveling in the novelty of the idea of these stolen hours far more than in the reality of their emptiness.
She was overcome by an urge to go up to the room in time to be the one to rouse Bear from his nap, to dish him up a big bowl of ice cream — something he was almost never allowed at home — and to sit on the balcony next to him watching the airplanes fly by, their banners advertising all-you-can-eat seafood buffets and two-for-one water park tickets stretching out behind them like toddler siren songs. Finn had pointed out that the tackier the advertisement on the airplane, the more Bear loved it.
"That's what it's all about, right?" she'd said, light-headed with giddiness at their first day here as a family. "This is why we have kids!"
"I know, I know — to see the world through their eyes, with childlike innocence and wonder."
"No. To embrace the tacky."
It was a lame joke, but it made Finn laugh. He'd seemed a little quiet yesterday — tired, probably. He'd drunk so much coffee at the airport and on their subsequent crawl through the North Miami traffic here to Sunny Isles that he'd tossed and turned for half the night, and it had felt like a triumph to make him smile.
Now, at the sight of a giant pink flamingo banner waving behind a dangerously small red plane droning overhead, she got to her feet and stretched. She shook the sand off her decadent new Ralph Lauren beach towel, a gift from Gram for the trip, and slipped her book and empty cup into the outside pocket of the coordinating beach bag. She attempted to fold her beach chair, wrestled with the stubborn arms of the thing, and decided to just leave it — they'd be back down later anyway, and even if they decided Bear had had enough sun, Finn wouldn't mind coming to get it. He was good-natured about doing husbandly things.
Dry, hot sand puffed out behind her feet as she made her way to the resort's gated pool area. She could already picture Bear's face covered in chocolate ice cream, his adorable little dimpled grin sticky cheek to cheek.
When the elevator deposited her on the ninth floor with a ding, she paused outside their door to listen. All quiet. She smiled. He was still asleep — she hadn't missed a thing. She slipped her keycard into the slot, which for once worked on the first try, and bounded in, eyes bright.
For a second, she thought that her card had somehow worked on the wrong room. She was about to call out a horrified apology to anyone who might be in the suite. This one had barely been checked into. It had none of the open suitcases and discarded T-shirts and flip-flops and drying swimsuits and sunscreen bottles and magazines and snacks and toys that had already overtaken their room.
But then, from her spot in the front hallway, she realized that the purse on the table was hers.
She stepped farther into the room and glanced into the bathroom on the right. Her toiletries were there, lined up neatly on the marble sink top, but they were all alone. Absent was the chaos of Finn's shaving gear and contacts and solution and glasses, of Bear's bubblegum-flavored toothpaste and prescription eczema cream and Lightning McQueen comb.
Baffled, she walked into the combined living and sleeping area, and it was the same. Her things were just as she'd left them. But all traces of her husband and son were gone. As if they'd never been there at all. As if they'd been figments of her imagination all along.CHAPTER 2
Violet didn't register the words at first. She'd moved her chair up as close to the waterline as she could without risking dousing the beach bag at her side. For a while, she'd watched, entranced, as the foam crept closer and closer to her freshly manicured toes. But then she'd been pulled back into her novel. She hadn't noticed the man walking barefoot in the surf, hadn't seen him start to pass her and then back up, doing such an obvious double take at her that there really was nothing left to do but speak.
She looked down at her faded mustard yellow T-shirt, then up at the man. He seemed to be about her age, but he was wearing mirrored sunglasses, and she couldn't see his expression. Like a cop, she thought. No. A narc.
"Camp Pickiwicki," she said, in a tone of total agreement. You could barely make out the black letters — they'd disintegrated over hundreds of washes — but the circular logo sprawled across her shirt was still recognizable, the way the C tucked into the tree that formed the P.
"You went there?" He sounded more than just disbelieving. Suspicious.
"Picki-picki-wicki-wicki-yay!" she chanted halfheartedly. For two weeks during the summer she'd turned twelve, she and her fellow campers had been cajoled into yelling the rallying cry at daybreak, before meals, after canoe races, when it was time to leave the fire circle and go to bed. If you'd been there once, it was ingrained in your mind forever.
He laughed. "And your T-shirt still fits. Astonishing. I outgrew mine well over a decade ago."
"Oh — this is my gram's. My grandmother's. She volunteered on the special event nights."
"And do you often wear your grandmother's clothes to the beach?" He gave her a big white-toothed smile, and Violet could just see the arches of his raised eyebrows peeking out above his sunglasses.
"I do not," she replied coolly. "But then I thought, what if someone else here went to Camp Pickiwicki? I mean, the place was only open for one summer, and hardly anyone signed up even then, and it's also in Western Pennsylvania and here we are in beautiful Sunny Isles Beach, conveniently located about a zillion miles south of the campgrounds, so you never know."
"Indeed. I like to keep an eye out for fellow Pickiwickians everywhere I go."
A teenager on an out-of-control skimboard came barreling onto the sand, and the man leaped out of his way, knocking into Violet's beach umbrella. She grabbed the pole to hold it steady.
"Perhaps you should keep an eye out for rogue skimboarders wherever you go," she suggested.
He laughed. "Not challenging enough. They're everywhere."
The man got to his knees in the circle of shade at Violet's side and started mounding wet sand around the pole to hold it in place. His sunglasses slid down his nose, and he pushed them up on top of his head. It hadn't been a trick of the mirrored lenses — he was good-looking. Somewhere between rugged and clean-cut, as if he'd be just as comfortable strumming an acoustic guitar as wearing a suit. Hello, handsome stranger. She'd be starting to get nervous right about now if her flight weren't leaving first thing in the morning. She had a tendency to get tongue-tied and ruin these sorts of things. Not that these sorts of things ever happened to her.
"It really is an odd coincidence, though, isn't it?" he said, giving the mound of sand a last pat and flopping down beside her chair. "I've never met anyone who went there, let alone all these years later and a thousand miles away. I loved that place. That was, like, my favorite summer as a kid. Ever."
"I know. I wonder if we were there at the same time? I mean, I think I would recognize you ..."
He shook his head. "We couldn't have been. There were no girls during the session my parents signed me up for. Wasn't supposed to be that way, but that's how it worked out. Or so I was told. You can imagine my disappointment."
She laughed. "Well, then, I am sorry to tell you that you did not get the full Camp Pickiwicki experience. No sneaking out after dark to make out down by the docks?"
"Surely not a good girl like you who wears her grandmother's clothes to the beach."
"Well, then it's finally clear to me what must have happened. You juvenile delinquents early in the summer ruined it for the rest of us by the time August rolled around. I knew the odds of no coeds enrolling that session were slim!"
She shrugged. "That claim is unsubstantiated."
"I can't believe my parents actually lied to me about what happened."
"About what allegedly happened."
"I feel as though you owe me an apology."
"I owe you no such thing."
"The least you could do is make it up to me after dark tonight."
Violet flushed, and the man's face fell.
"That was it, wasn't it?"
"That was what?"
"The line. I'm always crossing it without meaning to. Please. Forget I said that. I was just trying to be clever."
"No offense taken. I'd probably still be sore about it too, if I could trace my lingering virginity back to having missed out on my first tongue kiss at summer camp."
He cocked one eyebrow at her. "I've been accused of a lot of things in my adult life, but being a virgin is not one of them."
"And here you were acting shocked that I was not the Goody Two-shoes little camper you assumed me to be."
"Well, in my defense, you are wearing your grandmother's Camp Pickiwicki T-shirt. At the beach. On an adult vacation with ... who are you with?"
"You came on vacation alone?" He looked more impressed than surprised. "Really?"
"My boyfriend unceremoniously dumped me a few weeks ago. I've been working an insane amount of overtime at the office. I realized that I'd never spent my tax refund. So, I just booked it."
"And how's it been?"
He nodded, and she could tell he was waiting for her to say it had been unexpectedly lonely, there were couples everywhere, there were kids everywhere, she didn't know what she'd been thinking. She'd half expected to feel that way too, before she'd gotten here.
"It's been pretty damn great," she said, shrugging. "I'm actually a little embarrassed at how much it suits me. I don't want to turn into one of those people who get too used to living alone, you know? But then again, maybe I just really needed a vacation."
It was not this particular breakup that upset her as much as the fact that it was one in a long line of them in the years since she'd graduated college. Every time her phone rang and it was a friend she hadn't heard from in a while, she knew even before answering that it was another call to announce an engagement. Violet would manage the customary squeals over the proposal stories and summon genuine enough happiness as she wished them well, but she couldn't do it without mentally tallying her list of engaged friends versus those whose boyfriends were getting serious. And then there was Violet, alone in the "completely single" column, where every prospect turned out to be a false hope just a few months in. She had never been one to feel she needed a boyfriend, or a fiancé, or a husband to be happy, but it was enough to give anyone a complex.
Excerpted from Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser. Copyright © 2017 Jessica Strawser. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Unless you are female , somewhere between the ages of 20-40 with young children , this novel probably will hold very little appeal for you . Overly romantic with unrelatable characters . Unlikely finale.
This novel was very engaging and interesting. I enjoyed every second of it.
Loved it! This book falls into one of my favorite categories: it’s a suspenseful domestic drama. Almost Missed You reminded me of a Liane Moriarty novel—full of heart-wrenching emotional scenes between friends and family, and revelations about the secrets people keep from even their closest confidants. Why would an otherwise loving husband up and disappear with a toddler in the middle of a peaceful family vacation? It’s a mystery that I wanted to solve, and as I dove deeper into this novel I got hooked and was flipping pages late into the night. The author keeps a tight focus on three main characters: Finn, his wife Violet, and his best friend Caitlyn. The reader gets a good look into the motivations of each. The author also handles jumps in time well, as we flash back to the “original sins” of each character. I enjoy realistic, contemporary fiction that delves into the complexities of human behavior. Sometimes we hurt those nearest to us, often without meaning to and without thought of the consequences. Our harmful actions may be due to foolish impulses and selfishness, or they may be simply accidents or inertia. That’s life! And I love reading about it in a well-structured novel. There was more than one time where I thought I knew exactly where this story was going but was proven wrong, which is fun for me as a voracious reader. I highly recommend this novel, a strong debut in 2017.
I always enjoy books that have multiple layers. The ones that can initially lead you down one path, but after different pieces and character’s stories, reveal something a bit different. This debut from Jessica Strawser was memorable and a good fit for those who enjoy layered stories. This is one of those books you finish in one setting because you really want to know how it all plays out. I admit, I almost….almost, jumped to the end to find out the what happened. I stopped myself though because as the story moved forward, I realized this wasn’t going to be exactly as I thought it would be. While it wasn’t a perfect novel, I did enjoy it. I thought it was honest about the difficulties in marriage, the secrets we think are better off hidden, the struggles we hide and the consequences we face when we make not so wise decisions. Through all of it though, I was surprised at how I enjoyed the ending. I wasn’t sure how it was going to pan out, but I appreciate when an author leaves us readers with hope and redemption in ways you don’t fully expect. What’s a recent novel about married couples you enjoyed? (This was a Spring pick for SheReads.org. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.) Originally posted at http://booksandbeverages.org/2017/05/16/almost-missed-jessica-strawser-book-review/
What should have been a relaxing, enjoyable vacation in Florida, turns into a terrible nightmare for Violet, when her husband, Finn, disappears from their hotel room taking their three-year-old son, Bear, with him. Violet is distraught but also baffled. She thought her marriage to Finn was solid and they both loved being parents to Bear. Meanwhile, Finn manages to solicit the help of his high school friend, Caitlin, to stay under the radar of the FBI. Caitlin had also become close friends with Violet as her husband, George, was away a lot and their twins were of a similar age to Violet's and Finn's son, Bear. Caitlin understands how devastated Violet must be and feels torn about aiding Finn but is forced to remain quiet in order to protect her own secret and her family. The story switches between August 2016 when Finn disappears and various times in the past when the reader learns about all the events that finally led to Finn and Violet getting married. Told through the three alternating perspectives of Finn, Violet, and Caitlin, it slowly becomes clear that all the characters have been keeping secrets. I really liked that every character managed to surprise me and the way the revelations were made was well done. All the little twists kept me glued to the pages. The story contained a compelling mix of suspense, mystery, and emotion. It's been a while since I've been this absorbed in a domestic suspense novel. From the convincing writing style, the unanticipated plotting, and the solid characterization I would have never guessed this was the author's first novel. I thought it was really impressive. My only minor issue was with the epilogue. It's not that I didn't like it as such, but it was just a bit too high on the serendipity scale for me. I will, however, definitely be looking out for Jessica Strawser's next novel due out in 2018.
For fans of Liane Moriarty, Beatriz Williams, Marisa de los Santos... Absolutely gripping. This story was so intense for me as mother that I vacillated between tearing up and feeling sick. The plot twisted and twisted. The writing itself, down to the sentence level, is *expert.* Jessica Strawser reminds me of Liane Moriarty in the way she writes with the deeply felt emotional pull of women's fiction while also giving secrets teeth as is more often seen in thrillers and mysteries.
So many secrets. So much sorrow. All between the covers of Almost Missed You. Jessica Strawser’s début novel, Almost Missed You, wears a plot line woven as finely as a spider spins its web. Intricately written into each of her characters are elements of deceit and lies. It should be noted that often they don’t outright lie. They simply don’t share the truth about certain things. Of her characters, the one I identified with was Gram, the grandmother of Victoria, the main character (or at least the main one from my perspective). Gram had raised Victoria from childhood and they had a bond as maternal as a natural mother and daughter. Although a somewhat minor character, Gram’s strong love and support see Victoria through a devastating period when her husband and son disappear. I suppose being a mom, grandma, and great-grandma drew me to Gram’s personality and treatment of others. The other characters were well-developed for their purposes. However, the degree of secrecy among them was astounding. Strawser deftly manages sharing chapter by chapter their individual stories. At times, the switching between characters and story lines left me in a state of vertigo keeping up with who knew which secret. This would be my only critical comment about Almost Missed You. Strawser’s writing and ability to thread together the various plot lines and characters in this her début novel leaves me a bit jealous as a fellow writer. I highly recommend Almost Missed You if you enjoy a fast-paced book filled with suspense and mystery. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing an ARC for review purposes.
It all began the day that Violet and Finn took Bear to see the ocean for the very first time. Violet and Finn had a story book kind of meeting on this very same beach years ago, so it was a very special place to them both. As Finn takes Bear into the hotel room for his nap , Violet is left sitting on the sparkling beach, a refreshing drink in her hand, and heart full of precious memories, gratitude, and contentment. When Violet finds Finn and Bear and all of their belongings gone upon her return to the hotel room, it almost feels like they had been nothing but a dream of hers. There was no trace of of her small family. That is the moment when Violet’s beautiful world falls apart. The characters in this story are realistic and likable, in spite of their faults, so they are able to carry a plot filled with twists and turns quite effectively. Just when you think you have this one figured out, the author has more surprises for you. I highly recommend this twisting and turning mystery. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
Almost Missed You, Jessica Strawser Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: Women’s Fiction OK, this is quite a hard book to review. I loved the idea of it, was on tenterhooks thinking why on earth Finn would do that, especially from the fragments we saw of how he was with Violet and Bear just beforehand, but the constant past and present flipping made me feel in danger of whiplash. Its not a format I really like, I’ve read a very few where it works for me, and too many more where it doesn’t. Just as I'm engrossed in the story of the past it flips to the present, and then I’m suckered in to whets happening and bam...its back to the past. I've read books where that works well for me, but with this one it just left me really frustrated, flipping back and forth right when there was a huge question needed answering. I guess there's an argument that it kept up the suspense of the secrets and let them out at optimum time for that but for me it just was really annoying, and spoiled the story. I ended up skipping and flicking through to read past, past, past, and then all the present bits, as I was getting so irritated at the flipping of times. Oddly enough I've just read another laid out exactly the same way, where from about 1/3rd in I did the same thing....Leah Mercer's novel Who we were Before. Another that's really emotional at times, where the past and present collide creating a huge rift between a couple. If you love this book look out for that one. As to the story and characters, well TBH I really only liked Violet and Bear. I understood why the other characters did what they did, but I was amazed at how easily it seemed to come to them, how they didn’t think beyond the immediate actions. Its kind of hard to write without giving things away but all the characters lives were so closely intertwined and the secrets had such a huge impact. I didn’t understand why some things weren't told earlier, of course the book would have been different if they had ;-) so as that needs to be kept for me there needed to be a better reason for the actions and the secrets. I did feel for Finn when it all came out, but enough to forgive him the awful thing he he to Violet? I don’t know – she loved him but did she ever see the real Finn, or was she in love with the person he presented to her? Or is there really any difference, maybe we’re all more than one person, maybe the way life hits us makes us what we are? He had some pretty awful thoughts between Violet and his past, that made me really feel for her and get cross at him, but then again we can’t actually control what we think, what we feel can we? I did feel too that some of the events towards the end got a rather poorly explained and slick conclusion, that didn’t feel as if that would have happened in reality, and that niggled at me. The ending was a little ambiguous, but it left the way open for a HEA and for me that's OK, I can imagine one for them, for Violet needed that, wanted that and I loved her. I’d really have preferred a more concrete happy ending though – I’m a sap I know but I love things to end well. Overall though I felt I was interested in the story, wanted it to end well, but the present/past/present/past flipping format was so annoying to me. I wasn’t totally gripped by the story and I think that was a huge reason why, and maybe in a different format I would have enjoyed it more. The plot is perfect, real, and one that made me think, its just the exec
I really enjoyed this book. This is a wonderful debut by this author. I have never read a story quite like this one before. It is about connections, those we make and those we miss, it is about friendship, love, betrayal and loyalty. It is so beautifully written. As a mother I could totally relate to how Violet felt to have her little boy Bear missing and at the hands of her husband. I actually found I could relate to her quite often as she uncovers some other details from Finn's past. This story was very cleverly thought out and so well executed. There were so many unexpected twists and turns in this story it kept me 100% engaged all the way through. I would definitely recommend this book especially for anyone who wants to read something a little different. I will definitely look for more from this author in the future.
I have mixed feelings for this book. I think the author did a great job writing the book. I truly enjoyed it for the most part. However, I come away with an extreme emotion for one of the characters. It's an emotion that I just can't get over. I have never, ever felt this way over a character in a book. I'm guessing it's the mother in me that is making me feel this way. I'm not going to spoil the reading of the book for anyone, so I will not give the particulars here. For anyone who has read the book, I'm sure you will know what I'm talking about. Otherwise, I did enjoy the book and was glad that I got the opportunity to read it. Thanks to St. Martin's Press for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Wow! What a fantastic read! Strawser's debut is a deep entanglement of friendships, relationships, responsibility, love, romance, guilt and a whole lot in between. For me, this novel evoked the memory of other books like Gone Girl, Interference, and Girl on the Train, except that in this case, it all seems so much more plausible and relatable. You can imagine how everything got so complicated and there is a thread of love and understanding that weaves through the story and props it all up in a much more human and positive way. The book is a page-turner and I ripped through it in just two nights. This one will be high on the book lists in 2017.