REVIEW: COLLEEN OAKLEY – YOU WERE THERE TOO

REVIEW: COLLEEN OAKLEY – YOU WERE THERE TOOYou Were There Too by Colleen Oakley
Published by Berkley on January 7, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
Tropes: Family, Marriage, Supernatural
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on AmazonBuy on Audible
Narrator: Sophie Amoss, Dan Bittner
Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
Cliffhanger: No, but open ending

five-stars

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 them, 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?

YOU WERE THERE TOO

by Colleen Oakley

Maybe instead of wondering why we’re all connected, what’s important—the only thing that’s important—is to know that we are.

I think you need to experience this story with as little information as possible. What you need to know though is that this is not romance – but it’s a love story. This book does not have a classical happily ever after. I was honest to God scared about this book before I started – I love my HEAs and I rarely read books that don’t have one. So I steeled my heart (to no avail, of course) and went in.

In YOU WERE THERE TOO we meet Harrison and Mia, a married couple who, on the outside, have everything. They are for all intents and purposes happy together. But of course it can’t stay that way. As it is often the case, miscommunication leads to rocky times.

 Love isn’t supposed to hurt. But really, if you’re doing it right, love hurts all the time.

Here are the things I absolutely loved about this story:

  • The characters
    • Mia – so damned likable, relatable and human. She’d had dreams about another man for years – when she met Oliver she felt safe enough to talk to Harrison about it – I really loved that. She struggled with her attraction to Oliver but at no time I doubted her deep love for her husband.
    • Harrison – this man was so incredibly good and kind and funny. And so so troubled. I wanted to hug him hard and talk some sense into him. My heart broke for him.
    • Oliver – I wanted to dislike him. I really did but I couldn’t because he, too, was a good guy who was confused about the dreams he’d had.
  • The plot
    • This story must have been a nightmare to plot. Everything, every word, every gesture, every scene serves a purpose. And everything is tied up with a bow and at no time the author takes the easy way out. It was so well planned and executed that I was left pretty speechless at the end of it.
    • There is also a certain balance and righteousness that gives everything sense and purpose.
    • It was so unpredictable and unique, I just couldn’t put it down until I had all the answers.
    • The realism despite the metaphysical aspect was astounding.

Mia’s sadness is his sadness and he’d carry it around with him like water in a bucket until the end of his days if it meant that she didn’t have to.

  • Mia and Harrison
    • I adored them together. I thought they had a strong marriage but the author shows the reader that even a solid relationship can get in trouble. Their love for one another was so palpable, despite everything.
    • The despair I felt when they were at an impasse was…I only wanted them to be happy again. I rooted so hard for their relationship.

And in that moment, our eyes locked, I see my husband, and I remember all at once how much I love him. And I wonder how I could ever forget, even for a second.

  • The impeccable writing
    • This author can write up a storm. She has so much talent, it’s crazy. I want to see her writing romance – I’m sure she’d be incredible.

Sprinkled in between you have light moments that take the edge off of the angst but at the same time I hated them because they were so sweet and I knew it wouldn’t stay that way.

This year is six days old and I’ve already read two amazing books by authors I’ve never read before. I can’t believe my luck. With YOU WERE THERE TOO Colleen Oakley ripped my heart out and never put it back together, yet I can’t be mad at her. This book left me sad, yes, but also with a sense of hope – the end is left open and that’s good. Everything else would cheapen what these characters went through. This thought-provoking story was hard to read but I’m so glad I took a chance. It will linger with me for a while. Colleen earned herself a spot on my auto-read list.@OakleyColleen @BerkleyPub

It’s him.
It’s always been him.

About Colleen Oakley

Colleen Oakley is the critically acclaimed author of Before I GoClose Enough to Touch and the forthcoming You Were There Too. Colleen’s novels have been longlisted for the Southern Book Prize twice and shortlisted for the French Reader’s Prize. Her books have been translated into 18 languages, optioned for film and have received numerous accolades including:

*Indie Next List Pick Jan 2015 and March 2017

*People magazine Best New Book

*Us Weekly “Must” Pick

*Romantic Times Top Pick

*Library Journal Big Fiction Debut

*Publisher’s Lunch Buzz Books

*In Touch Weekly: Grade A

*Pop Sugar’s Books We Can’t Wait to Read

*Real Simple’s Best Books List

*Bookbub’s 12 New Books to Read If You Love Jodi Picoult

A former magazine editor for Marie Claire and Women’s Health & Fitness, Colleen’s articles and essays have been featured in The New York TimesLadies’ Home JournalWomen’s HealthRedbookParadeWoman’s DayFitnessHealthMarie Claire and Martha Stewart Weddings. A proud graduate of the University of Georgia’s school of journalism, Colleen currently lives in Atlanta with her husband, four kids and the world’s biggest lapdog, Bailey.

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five-stars

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