Thursday, November 8, 2012

If I'd Never Known Your Love by Georgia Bockhoven

Why I read it:  I bought this one after seeing a B+ review from Ridley (who doesn't hand out the high grades willy-nilly).  She promised me tears but a happy ending, so I bought it.  She was right.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  "I'm going to miss you. Every minute of every hour..." With those words, Julia's husband stepped into his taxi and was gone. Evan McDonald. Julia's lifeline--and the doting father of her two beautiful children. From the moment she'd first spotted him in high school so many years before, Julia had "known" they'd always be together.

Now...Evan's business trip to Colombia becomes deadly when he's kidnapped, and Julia is thrown into a tailspin of horror...and waiting.

For five tortured years Julia does whatever it takes to bring Evan home. Despite her grief and rage at losing the man she loves, she vows to keep struggling. Until she receives a call that shatters her hopes of Evan's return. "But then..."

What worked for me (and what didn't): There were tears.  Julia loves (loved?) Evan so much and they had such a happy marriage - not perfect and unrealistic but genuinely a happy partnership, filled with love and affection and passion.  I've seen them about the place from time to time (- I like to think, in fact, that I have one myself.)  When Evan is kidnapped soon after arriving in Colombia, Julia starts a 5 year long campaign to bring him home.  Her hopes are finally dashed when she is given the news that Evan has died.

After fighting for his safe return for so long, after keeping her hope up, Julia is left with nothing to hang on to.  She has been writing intermittently to Evan since he left but she can't do that anymore.  She knows she had to be strong for her children and somehow find the strength to move on with her life but her grief is unbearable.  (Just as well my hubby didn't see me bawling, he laughs at me when I cry in books or movies).
She was worn down from the need to be strong for Shelly and Jason, from pretending she believed she could build a life worth living without Evan and from getting up every morning knowing the fight was over and that she’d lost.
When, about halfway through the book, we meet David Prescott, a writer who is caretaking the cottage Julia is staying in, I was seriously worried.  How could the author pull a HEA out of this?  It may have been 6 months since Julia found out Evan had died but, for me, in page time, it was more like 6 paragraphs.  Too soon!  Nooooo!  I tweeted that I was seriously doubting the HEA promise.  I didn't think I could accept David as a new partner for Julia; not so soon.   I only had 80 or so pages to go.  I wanted to wail some more.  I mean, I liked David.  I wanted him to be happy.  But with Julia?  Could I get on board with that?

What made it harder for me to accept a potential new partners is that the letters Julia had written to Even in the previous 5 years were still being interspersed throughout the book - making it that much harder for me to be ready for Julia to move on.
 And I’ll tell you that I love you, over and over again, so often that it will echo in your mind when you’re sleeping.
I do it now.
Can you hear me?
*sobs*

I won't say how, that's to be discovered in reading the book, but, there IS a happy ending.   That's not to say that I didn't have some questions right at the end or that I thought parts of the ending were a little under-developed, but, the story being told in this book was complete and it did end up happy. 

There were a couple of unfortunate editing/typo errors which bugged me quite a bit - main character's names were mixed up at crucial times and it had the effect of diluting the emotion for me. I was settled in for an angsty tearjerker read and I didn't like being yanked out of the story that way.

What else? This book didn't work quite as well for me as it did Ridley.  Partly that was because (even though I knew this going in) Julia and Evan aren't together in the book very much - that's something that will usually keep me from reading altogether as it's not my favourite thing.  That I did read it and gave it such a high grade, says something.  While this book was very much Julia's story, I would have loved to have seen more of Evan and what happened to him.  Although, I accept that would have made the book a very different story indeed.

Still, Ridley did promise tears and a HEA and that's what I got so I'm not complaining. :)

Grade:  B

2 comments:

Ridley said...

B, B+, whatever. That's splitting hairs, really.

I'll agree with you that I wanted and maybe even needed more from the ending than she gave me, but she had wrung so much emotion out of me with the book that I had to applaud her. I never, ever, cry over books. It's just not how I read, I guess. But this book had me literally sobbing. I was surrounded by used tissues and my husband was staring at me in panic, repeatedly asking if I was ok.

That's quite an accomplishment, imo.

Kaetrin said...

@Ridley - I've been known to cry in books, at movies/tv, but this one touched a chord. Perhaps especially because of what's been happening with my stepdad and me (of course) imagining what I'd be like if it were my husband in the hospital bed. Threats to husband tend to create a Pavlovian response.