Monday 6 February 2017

Review ~ Before You Go by Clare Swatman

Pan Macmillan
9 February 2017

What's it all about.. 

When Zoe's husband Ed dies, her world caves in. But what if Zoe can get Ed back?
You find your soulmate . . .
Some people stare love in the face for years before they find it. Zoe and Ed fumbled their way into adulthood, both on different paths - but always in the same direction. Years later, having navigated dead-end jobs and chaotic house shares, romance finally blossoms. Their future together looks set . .
Then the unthinkable happens.
One morning, on his way to work, Ed is knocked off his bike and dies. Now Zoe must find a way to survive. But she's not ready to let go of the memories. How can she forget all of the happy times, their first kiss, everything they'd built together? Zoe decides she has to tell Ed all the things she never said.

Now it's too late. Or is it?

What did I think of it ..

Before You Go starts with an ending, which is in itself an usual way to start off a story but as we get deeper into the devastating loss suffered by Zoe we realise that the story, rather than ending, is very much beginning.

We all say from time to time,  if only I could have a another chance I would do things differently, but of course we rarely get a second chance to make amends, and even if we did, would we be able to change events enough to make a difference? For Zoe, another chance to make things better in her relationship with Ed is paramount and her unusual ability to travel back through time gives her a rather special opportunity to relive key moments of her time with Ed. To say more would be to spoil the effect of the story which really needs to be read with no preconceived notions of how it will all eventually play out.

The fragility of life is beautifully observed with some lovely light touches which add a necessary lightness to what is, in effect, a story about loss, and of the devastating burden of grief when it’s so often complicated by moments of regret.  Zoe’s story could be anyone’s story as it shows just how in the blink of an eye lives can be turned upside down and changed, irrevocably, forever.

There is a real connection with the thoughts and feeling evoked in the story and I am sure that the ideas expressed will resonate with some readers. It’s quite sad in places, beautifully perceptive in others and written with such a fine eye for character detail that you can’t help but become emotionally involved in both Zoe and Ed’s story. The ending when it comes is entirely appropriate and one that, for me, worked out beautifully.

There is no doubt that this is a really good debut novel from an exciting new talent.

Best read with… a creamy cappuccino and a comforting bar of chocolate..

About the author

Clare Swatman is a journalist for a number of weekly women's magazines. Before You Go is her first novel. Clare was Features Editor for Bella and has written for Best, Woman's Own and Real People. She writes for her local magazine as well as the travel pages for Take a Break. Clare lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two boys.

Read and Excerpt by clicking here
Follow the author on Twitter @clareswatman

Photo credit ; Leanne Dixon

My thanks to Pan Macmillan of my review copy of this book
Before You Go is published on the 9th February


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