I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.While You Were Gone by Kate Moretti
Published by Red Adept Publishing on September 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Romance
Buy on Amazon, B&N
A Companion Novella to the NYT Bestseller Thought I Knew You
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.
I originally didn’t realize that While You Were Gone was a novella attached to another of Moretti’s works called Thought I Knew You. I actually had no idea until I was probably half way through when I started realizing that half of Greg’s story was MIA. I wasn’t particularly surprised by the subject matter of the book, early on you get an idea of what’s actually going on behind the scenes, but it was still a fantastic read.
While You Were Gone is an emotional roller coaster ride filled with more than pure romance. Its a story about self-discovery, life choices and reconstructing family ties. Karen is meant to be the every-woman, the late twenties-early thirties who can’t seem to find her way, the one who begins to question their life choices.
Karen’s life is about music. She immerses herself in her career at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and her boyfriend Scott until everything falls apart. Her boyfriend leaves her, she gets into a serious car accident and her beloved career is no longer set in stone. The night of the crash she meet Greg, a man who inspires Karen to be more than just a musician, and causes her to question what she really wants in her future. When Karen learns about Greg’s secret everything falls apart, but in the ashes can she find the strength and courage to become the person she was meant to be?
I didn’t really like Karen and her desire to steal everyone else’s men. I don’t feel this opinion is out of left field since she goes after a guy while they are both on first dates or that she goes after a man who is clearly holding himself back from her. If a guy is reluctant, don’t chase him or force yourself on him! She consistently seems to have her hands in the “someone-else’s-partner” cookie jar but fails to see how this makes her unlikable by other women (I mean, she only has one female friend!).
Otherwise, While You Were Gone was an amazing book with heart wrenching moments, strong characters and the sex scenes were PG. It’s incredibly hard to find novels that have love scenes that end well before anything actually happens. I definitely loved the fact that more focus was put on the love story and Karen’s relationship with her mother and brother rather than sex scenes. I loved that not every second page was filed with intense descriptions of what they did to each others’ body, but instead was filled with text that helped develop the characters, their relationships and the plot.
I also loved that Moretti’s writing is so masterful and strong emotionally that the main family oriented portions of the book were something I could understand. I don’t understand family ties as thoroughly as most people and generally shy away from novels that are heavily family. I usually end up frustrated by the book or feeling like there’s something wrong with me for not really understanding the relationships between the characters. I was shocked to find my lack of irritation with Karen’s desire for family bonds and even found myself cheering her on.
I cannot wait to delve into more of Kate’s work because While You were Gone was unique and extremely well written. I rarely come across a novel that feels so realistic, encompassing and realistic.
This book would appeal to readers who enjoy clean romance, family struggles, self-discovery and tales about coming to grips with life. I would definitely recommend reading on a Sunday afternoon with a glass of wine on the patio. A light hearted romance with a really explosive ending.