Monday, January 6, 2020

Julie's Review: You Were There Too

Author: Colleen Oakley
Series: None
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Berkley Books
Pages: 352
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Emotional novel about fate and finding your place
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: Mia Graydon's life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too—unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of it, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he's been dreaming of her too. Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?

Review: You know how when you pick a book up that it's going to be something special and you aren't going to want to put it down? That's how You Were There Too was for me. Sometimes it is the books that hit you in the heart that are the hardest to write reviews on.

Mia is a struggling artist but she's got a loving husband and a wonderful house to decorate but yet she doesn't feel settled. For years she's been having dreams of a man that isn't her husband but when she happens upon him in the new town they moved to, she starts to question everything. It doesn't help that her and Harrison seem to have drifted apart more recently after her 3rd miscarriage. Mia desperately wants a baby while Harrison is now questioning if it's the right path for them.

As Mia and Harrison find themselves adrift, Mia finds herself drawn to Oliver because she feels like she knows him since he's been in her dreams for years. Even more stunning is the fact that she's been in his dreams as well but they've been very different from hers. Mia and Oliver are on a quest to find out the meaning of why they are connected in their dreams and what they mean. This journey makes her step back and examine her life, what if her life was meant to be different.

Now I will say the ending gutted me but not in the typical fashion. Ms. Oakley does a fantastic job of staying away from the wife leaves the husband for the other guy trope. Let's face it while Mia might feel that she knows Oliver, the fact is she doesn't know anything about him.  Even as they spend time with each other they begin to know each other but who are they really? Does it mean you are "fated" to be together because you dream of each other or is it just coincidence?

Do you believe in fate? Do you believe in soul mates? Is fate really a series of coincidences put together to make it feel like something more than it is? These are some of the questions that Ms. Oakley poses throughout her book to make you think about through the eyes of Harrison, Mia and Oliver.

The writing is beautiful and eloquent in how she sets the scenes, the characters and their journeys. Even though this is my first read of 2020, I know these characters will not leave me anytime soon.



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