Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison

Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison

St. Martin’s Press:  July 24, 2018

Review galley from the publisher and NetGalley

 

Description:  Willa has never fully recovered from the sudden death of her husband, Ben. She became an absent mother to her young son, Jamie, unable to comfort him while reeling from her own grief.

Now, years after Ben’s death, Willa finally decides to return to the beach house where he passed. It’s time to move on and put the Ocean City, Maryland house on the market.

When Willa arrives, the house is in worse shape than she could have imagined, and the memories of her time with Ben are overwhelming. They met at this house and she sees him around every corner. Literally. Ben’s ghost keeps reappearing, trying to start conversations with Willa. And she can’t help talking back.

To protect her sanity, Willa enlists Jamie, her best friend Kristin, and Kristin’s daughter Kelsey to join her for one last summer at the beach. As they explore their old haunts, buried feelings come to the surface, Jamie and Kelsey rekindle their childhood friendship, and Willa searches for the chance to finally say goodbye to her husband and to reconnect with her son. (publisher)

My take:  Willa’s husband Ben died unexpectedly leaving her to raise their fourteen year old son Jamie. Now, three years later, they are back at their beach house with the intention of getting it ready to sell. Willa is unprepared for seeing Ben again but there he is – or at least a version of him is there and he has a reason for appearing. Willa and Jamie have been stuck since his death and he wants to encourage Willa toward her new future. She has to grapple with all the emotions you’d imagine. This is a bittersweet novel that made me think about how I’d handle things if I were in Willa’s position. I found her reactions and feelings believable. I felt so sad for Jamie and then cheered him on as he began to move through his grief. With the help of their long-time friends Kristin and her daughter Kelsey, the future seems less daunting for Willa and Jamie. There are moments of such sadness balanced by lighter, more humorous scenes making it an emotional reading experience for me. I’m glad I had the chance to read it.


About the author:

BETH HARBISON is The New York Times bestselling author of One Less Problem Without YouIf I Could Turn Back TimeDriving with the Top DownChose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger; When In Doubt, Add Butter; Always Something There To Remind Me; Thin, Rich, Pretty; Hope In A Jar; Secrets of a Shoe Addict; and Shoe Addicts Anonymous. She grew up in Potomac, Maryland, outside Washington, DC, and now shares her time between that suburb, New York City, and a quiet home on the eastern shore.


 

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If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison

  • If I Could Turn Back Time (7:28)Title:  If I Could Turn Back Time: A Novel
  • Author:  Beth Harbison
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  July 2015 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  When thirty-eight year old Ramie Phillips does a champagne-fueled cart-wheel off a yacht she hits her head and ends up in a coma. She doesn’t know she’s in a coma. No, she’s landed back in Potomac, Maryland and she’s in the last week of high school.

Ramie’s aware that she’s not eighteen but she can’t figure out what’s going on and how she got in her eighteen year old body. When she has a chance to talk to her father again she decides to take advantage of the opportunity and soak up all the wisdom he has to offer. She also gets a second chance with her high school boyfriend, Brendan.

I liked this poignant story of finding out what one really wants in life. It’s a story of self-discovery for Ramie but also a story about the importance of living in the moment and never taking anything for granted. My favorite parts of the novel were Ramie’s heart-to-heart conversations with her dad. They had such a warm relationship and easy way of talking to each other. I also liked that she gained new perspective of her teenage life knowing what she did from her future self.

Recommended to anyone who likes a “what if things had gone differently” story. This is the second book by Harbison I’ve read and I look forward to reading another from her backlist.


Harbison, Beth_ChandlerSchwedeAbout the author:

BETH HARBISON is The New York Times bestselling author of Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong FingerWhen In Doubt, Add ButterAlways Something There To Remind MeThin, Rich, PrettyHope In A Jar;Secrets of a Shoe Addict; and Shoe Addicts Anonymous. She grew up in Potomac, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C., and now shares her time between that suburb, New York City, and a quiet home on the eastern shore.

 

When In Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

Title:  When In Doubt, Add Butter

Author:  Beth Harbison

Genre:  Chick Lit

Published:  July 2012 – St. Martin’s Press

Synopsis:  (from the back of the ARC) Gemma Craig has spent her career as a private chef taking care of other people. From Lex, the fussy department store owner straight out of a movie from the thirties; to grossly overweight Willa who must radically change her eating habits or die; to the strange Oleksei family, with a constant parade of mysterious people coming and going; to the hideously demanding Angela who is “allergic to everything” and foists her tastes on her hapless family; to the man Gemma thinks of only as “Mr. Tuesday” because they’ve never met. Everyone relies on Gemma, even while she goes home alone each night and feasts on cereal and quick meals. But when life takes an unexpected turn on a road Gemma always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and learn to move on in ways she never imagined.

My take:  When In Doubt, Add Butter is a light and enjoyable novel – just what I wanted at this particular time. It reminded me of Hallmark channel chick lit movies.
I loved Gemma, the main character. She’s a personal chef whose clients are mostly oddballs. And then they start to get even stranger! There’s one, though, who leaves notes for Gemma – very witty notes to which she responds in kind. I loved that aspect.
The author ties things up quite neatly by the end – and I was glad she did. I would definitely read another Beth Harbison novel (this was my first). Recommended to fans of the author and Chick Lit. A perfect beach read!

Source:  The publisher via Goodreads First Reads

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.