Title: You Were There Too
Author: Colleen Oakley
Edition/Pages: Ebook, 320 pages
I received an ARC of this from Berkley vie Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review
Mia has it all – a surgeon husband who adores her, a house in the suburbs, and dreams of a family. But when she comes face to face with the man she’s seen in her dreams for year, her life is thrust down a path she could have never imagined.
In their search for answers, Mia questions everything she thought she knew about dreams, fate, and love.
➸ POV: This is told mostly in 1st person from Mia’s POV but there are occasionally 3rd person POV chapters from other characters throughout
➸ Mia: Married to Harrison, Artist, Struggling with fertility/miscarriages, Desperately wants a child, Dreams of Oliver
➸ Harrison: Cuban, Married, Surgeon, Struggling with depression/PTSD after a failed surgery
➸ Oliver: Travels the world, Ghost Writer, Man from Mia’s dreams
➸ Content Warnings: Infertility, Miscarriage (on page), Cheating, Gun Violence, Depression/PTSD (never diagnosed)
This book is extremely difficult for me to rate/review because I have such mixed feelings about it. On one hand this book was exceptionally written. Colleen Oakley completely captivated me with her writing, world, and characters. I was swept away in this book and devoured the majority of it in a single afternoon. I couldn’t put this down until I knew how this story wrapped up…
Unfortunately, I hate how the story wrapped up.
This book is so much heavier than I was expecting. If you are some who has struggled with fertility please, please tread lightly with this one. It was one of the most graphic and heartbreaking depictions of miscarriage I’ve ever read. And as someone who has experienced this first hand, it was quite difficult to read. But I also think it’s an important topic to discuss and normalize. However, understand that this depiction may not resonate with everyone – Mia herself does not suffer from infertility issues, the problem instead lies with her husband. Overall tread carefully if this is a triggering topic for you.
While I didn’t inherently dislike the heaviness of this book, the ending of this made the entire tone of the book so dark and hopeless. I was ready for the HEA to roll around and instead I just got more heartbreak. If you’re looking for a HEA romance, this is not your book.
I can’t stress enough – I would 100% not classify this as romance. While this book has mild romantic elements, the plot of this book does not revolve around romance or have a happy ending. This book is about a couple who have been dealt some pretty awful cards and their journey to find a way to come to terms with those tragedies and find their way back to each other. It’s a harrowing story full of difficult subject matter, and in my opinion, had 1 too many. I needed a breath of hope and sadly this just didn’t deliver that.
In the end, I was just left feeling sad for every single character in this. I do however plan to read this author’s next work. I think their writing was exceptional and captivating. Every time I thought I knew where this plot was going it took me somewhere else. I’ve never been so on edge while reading a contemporary “romance”. This one just wasn’t quite what I wanted or expected.