Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Women's Fiction
Approximate word count: 35-40,000 words
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Kate Moretti is a scientist working in the pharmaceutical industry by day and a New York Times bestselling author in her spare time. She's written two novels prior to this one, Binds That Tie an her NYT bestseller, Thought I Knew You, which was also a winner in the BigAl's Books and Pals Readers' Choice Awards in 2013.
“Despite Karen Caughee’s intense focus on her music, her life is drifting out of its lane. Her mother is falling head-first into alcoholism and her brother refuses to acknowledge it. Her love life and music career have both stalled out. When she meets a charismatic but aloof stranger in a bar, she is uncharacteristically smitten. He seems to 'get her' in a way no one else does, and she begins to second guess everything she's ever held dear.
After a tragic accident, Karen finds her support system in the unlikeliest person imaginable. A shattering revelation brings her to a crossroads, and she must face the full truth about who she loves and who she has become.”
While You Were Gone is billed as a companion novella to Moretti's NYT bestseller, While You Were Out and has a brief note at the beginning that explains the connection. The extremely short version of that is one of the characters in the first novel disappears and this story adds some perspective to what happened. I read the note and immediately forgot it. It's been a few years since I read the first book and I didn't go back and refresh my memory until I was done reading. It turns out that you don't need to remember the first to enjoy the second.
As for the story itself, it's a good one. It explores themes of family, love, and loss. It also delves into how we often start down a path in life, not always through a conscious decision, and can become committed to that path for no good reason. There's a lesson in there for some of us.
Some adult language and mild adult situations.
While described as a “companion novella” to Thought I Knew You, reading that book first isn't required to understand and follow this story.
Rating: **** Four Stars