Published October 2015
Series: Thought I Knew You
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Note: I was granted an advanced reader's copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my rating or the content of my review.
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Despite Karen Caughee’s intense focus on her music, her life is drifting out of its lane. Her alcoholic mother keeps calling from bars for early-morning rides, her boyfriend doesn’t think she gets him, and that Toronto Symphony Orchestra position she applied for ends up going to her friend, Amy. By chance, she meets American Greg Randolf just before she’s in a car accident. He pulls her from the wreckage, but after major surgery, her recovery is slow. Without her music, her life’s pursuit, Karen is pushed further adrift.
Greg stays by her side while she heals, and he sees her every time he’s in Toronto for work. Without any other support or friendship in her life, Karen craves his enthusiastic attention, and their friendship deepens to love. Though she’s fallen hard for him, he doesn’t share everything with her. In one heartrending moment, Karen’s life comes to a crossroads, and she must face the full truth about who Greg is, and about who she has become.
Karen Caughee has a world of problems on her hands: an alcoholic mother, a brother who doesn’t care, a boyfriend who just broke up with her, and a failed violin audition as the above constantly preoccupies her. And the cherry on the icing: the car accident that happened during that same day, that leaves her with a broken arm and a broken leg.
With no family or friends looking after her, she is surprised to find that Greg Randolf a complete stranger that she met at a bar the night of her accident is there by her side, and intent on making things better for her. The more time they spend together, the more she craves Greg’s attention. However, Greg is not originally from Toronto, and frequently travels for work …
What I loved about this book:
- Nothing stood out
What I felt needed improvement:
- The very weak heroine
- The ending, which lacks conclusion and morale
I was granted an ARC of While You Were Gone via Netgalley. This was my first book by Kate Moretti, and the companion novella to Thought I Knew You. There was no indication whatsoever that this couldn’t be read as a standalone and I was okay with that. Frankly, if I hadn’t known, I never would’ve guessed that While You Were Gone was a side-novella to some prequel.
While You Were Gone is definitely a quick read (90 minutes tops), so I read it in full, but during the entire read, I wasn’t exactly captivated, and was frankly looking forward to finding out how the end played out. And well, turns out that I was extremely disappointed at the book as a whole, especially since the ending leaves the reader with a huge WTF feeling. It’s not a cliffhanger, it’s just a ton of loose ends that the author didn’t bother tying together.
Anyway. Let’s begin with the fact that the cover of this book is extremely misleading. It represents a confident girl in a flowy dress and dressy shoes. Well, Karen, the heroin in While You Were Gone is definitely none of that: she spends most her time in a cast, and the rest of her time, she’s uncomfortable in her own skin and sometimes near depression stage. Actually, the whole cover is bloomy and summery and nice and ah…. good feelings! But this book has nothing of that: you’ll get cheating, breakups, alcoholic mothers, accidents, careless family members and frustration. Wow. How’s that for a novella – heavy, huh?
I didn’t like Karen to begin with. Not because I have no compassion (because I admit that she goes through a lot in this book) but because I disliked that fact that she was so cliché and a total pushover. I just couldn’t relate to someone who would settle for a jerk as a boyfriend just because it was the comfortable thing to do. I also couldn’t relate to the fact that she had no friends whatsoever, or couldn’t stand her ground where her mother and brother are concerned. Last but not least, I couldn’t relate to someone who is hell bent on pursuing their career but doesn’t actually have passion for what they do. Or actually, I can understand how that would happen to anyone, but in that case: muster up and go do something you like!
Anyway, the whole story was told from Karen’s POV and it wasn’t extremely joyful. It actually bordered on depression. But then she meets Greg, and suddenly all that gloominess goes away. However, through reading the story from Karen’s POV, you notice that she’s completely weak and delusional: she confides in a total stranger (however heroic that person might have been), just because at that point in time, he’s the only person she has.
“He looked at me, not with pity, like Scott and Amy always did, but with compassion. Understanding. He spoke my language.”
Yet even after months of hour-long talking (and sleeping) with him, she still doesn’t know or doesn’t bother asking him what he does for a living, where he lives, etc. Man, she doesn’t even stalk him on Google. That’s what every normal head-over-heels-in-love person would do! In the end, not even the reader knows what exactly Greg’s job was. I had no details whatsoever on this main (!) character. How am I supposed to relate to the couple and to the relationship they build? But again, in the end, it’s not a big deal, because of the crappy way the book ends – and that doesn’t make you want to know Greg at all.View Spoiler »Turns out Greg actually cheated on his wife and saw Karen in secret – which explains why he was so closed off to Karen. But that doesn’t excuse Karen for not digging further. Anyway. The couple breaks up because – thank god – Karen has enough pride to confront him with the wedding ring she found, and Greg would not leave his wife for her.
But this this not the end of the story: in the end, we fast forward 2 years, and Karen is about to get married, and bringing her and Greg’s lovechild into the marriage. We find this out right after Karen gets a visit from Greg’s wife, telling her she knows, and that Greg has been in a coma since the night they broke up. « Hide Spoiler
So… stuff went completely downhill in the ending and as I said, and a lot of ties were left with loose ends. I would have appreciated a bit more than that, because as it stands, I really don’t know where the morale of the story is (because frankly, none of the characters get out unscathed, or “live to tell” a meaningful story with deep wisdom), and that a big no in my books.
It’s weird, because I really want to find out more, but I wouldn’t risk wasting my time on a book if it is bound to leave me as frustrated as this one…
|All the feels|