When I’m Gone: My Review

When I'm Gone

I received an ARC copy from the publisher Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

Release: March 2016

Author: Emily Bleeker

Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Warning: This book also deals with loss and abuse. (Also my review might be a bit spoilery!)

My rating: ★★★★★

The story:

When Luke’s wife dies of cancer after sixteen years of marriage, needless to say he is devastated, and definitely doesn’t feel ready to take care of their three children on his own. However, on the day of her burial, he comes back home to find a letter from her, and it seems she had everything planned to help him through it. She planned everything before she died, to help her husband get over everything and get on with his life. But through the letters, Luke also discovers that his wife was most likely hiding something from him. Who is this mysterious Dr Neal she keeps mentioning? And why does their son think he was adopted?

With the help of Natalie’s best friend Annie, and their new baby-sitter Jessie, Luke slowly starts getting better, but he also becomes obsessed with those letters he keeps receiving. Natalie was hiding something from him, it becomes more obvious with each letter, and he can’t stand not to know why…

My opinion:

This book was amazing! It’s been a while since I last read a contemporary book like that, and oh boy, I wasn’t disappointed. I was originally planning on giving it four stars, but it had many plot twists and kept surprising me until the end, so I couldn’t not give it the five stars it deserved.

First, you have to know that it his a very moving book, that deals with sensible issues. When your wife has cancer, you know that she will most likely die soon. But that can’t prepare you for actually losing her. It can’t prepare you for all the pain, and all the new responsibilities that will fall upon yourself when you also have three children to take care of. From the oldest who thinks he was adopted, to the youngest who sleeps with his mom’s phone, and with the middle kid who starts wearing her mom’s clothes, that’s a lot to deal with.

Except Natalie, for the better or the worse, had everything planned out. In a way which is both disturbing and beautiful, she has planned letters for her husband. The letters help him deal with his loss and his kids. But they also destroy him from the inside and make him doubt pretty much everything he thought he knew about his wife, which was really sad and heartbreaking to read.

So what can I say about this story? It was really beautiful, and definitely worth my time. It’s full of suspense in the best possible way, and it’s a story that gives hope: yes, you can do it. You can get over your loss. Life will get better. And I just loves all the surprises this wonderful book had in store for me! (And I won’t say what even though I’m dying to do so, because I don’t want to spoil the book for you… I guess you’ll have to read it if you want to know about Luke’s and Natalie’s past, which we slowly discover through flashbacks and letters…)

What about the characters? The kids are absolutely relatable and adorable. They felt really realistic, which was a good point for this book. Luke was a really interesting character with an undying love for his dead wife, and a complicated past. I just wanted him to be well through the entire book. I wouldn’t say he was a relatable character, but it was definitely fascinating to read about his journey. As for Annie and Jessie, they were also amazing and adorable characters with their secrets – which again, I will let you discover because they play an important part in the plot. And Natalie, of course, because though she is dead, she plays an important part in the story. Well she is a strong lady with many secrets, and though I found it hard to understand her and her motives at first, she really grew on me as the story unfolded, and in the end, I found her totally amazing.

This book will probably make you smile and cry and hurt, but it’s definitely worth it. In the end, it’s full of hope, it’s beautiful and refreshing. Maybe it’s because it was different from what I usually read, but I found it absolutely wonderful!

Recommended for:

Romance and mystery lovers who don’t mind a sad beautiful tragic story.


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