Saturday, April 15, 2017

Always by Sarah Jio

4.5 Star

While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiance, Ryan, at one of Seattle's chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can't believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for the Herald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister. 

When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense everything connected and felt "right." But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what and whom she wants. 

Kathryn - 4.5 Star

I love Sarah Jio.  Since the first novel I read of hers I've been hooked on her in-depth characters and thoughtfully planned plot lines. 

This story dug into something deeper ‎than a regular romance. There were social issues that took precedence over the romantic nature of the plot and while it obviously affected the characters it also affected the reader. I wasn't in love with Ryan as Kailey’s partner and though we were assured repeatedly that he was a good guy and he never stepped out of line, I just didn't love him for her. I suppose this was obvious to most of us reading the book, as well as those people around her in the book. I felt much empathy for him though despite being unsure of their partnership, he was a bystander in the “real” couples’ life. 

What made me turn the pages was the mystery behind Cade’s memory loss. How had he ended up there? What had gone wrong? What had happened with his business partner? In the end all is made clear but I was uneasy about his business partner and worried about their friendship. Somehow, if there had been any guilt at the time you would think that he would have spent more time looking for his friend. They had been close since childhood so you’d think this would have superseded any issues with the business?

Always puts a spotlight on homelessness. It puts a focus on basic human compassion and it puts a light on being aware of those around you- in person, not just via an email or a text.  The novel was thought provoking while still maintaining the warmth that I’ve come to expect from this author’s work.

Thank you to Random House for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

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