Hello, welcome to February 20202. Time is just flying by. I had to share today about this incredible, beautiful, and very emotional book that I recently finished: You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley. Thank you so much to Berkley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest and spoiler-free review. Check out below for the synopsis and my take on the book.
Title: You Were There Too (Amazon, Goodreads)
Author: Colleen Oakley
Genre: Literary Fiction
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story about a woman who must choose between the man she loves and the man fate has chosen for her, in a novel that reminds us that the best life is one led by the heart.
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?
**I received a copy of this book from the publisher/NetGalley in exchange for sharing this blog post and including a fair and honest review.**
Imagine if you had a whole host of recurring dreams that all featured the same person, only you’d never met that person in your life. Then imagine you *did* meet that person in real life. And found out they’d been dreaming about you, too. What would it mean? What would you do about it? That’s what this book is about, and boy howdy, is it a doozy.
First of all, I want to say that I went into this book with no expectations except that, based on the synopsis, I was pretty sure it might break my heart. Well, it turns out I was right. It totally broke my heart. However, the way that the story went was not necessarily what I expected, so I think the book is worth reading for that alone. The author did such an amazing job with this premise, which seems so simple from the outside but created an incredibly complex set of conflicts for the characters to grapple with.
The author’s prose is elegant and gorgeous, dripping with emotion but not in a sickly sweet sort of way. She just carries you off into the story, and you won’t escape until the very end, like it or not. And I definitely liked it. I don’t want to talk much about the plot because I prefer to keep my reviews completely spoiler-free, but I will say that even though my heart was ripped out by the end, I felt like it was still satisfying and complete.
I loved all the characters and was able to empathize with them all: kind and loving human beings just doing their best to find their paths through life. I could relate to the sense of floundering that our main character, Mia, is experiencing as her life doesn’t exactly come together the way she envisioned–moving from the comfortable hustle-bustle of the city to a small town, going through the grief of three miscarriages, and not exactly “making it” as an artist the way she’d hoped. But she is such a loving and hopeful person, and I really felt for her.
I can tell I’ll be thinking about this book for a long time after finishing it, and suspect I will go back and read certain passages and chapters over again simply because the writing is so beautiful. I highly recommend this one with no reservations!
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