Review by Deb Czajkowski
Now you see him; now you don’t.
Ben was supposed to be gone only for the weekend. He went to their beach house in Ocean City, Maryland, to take care of routine maintenance. Willa had seen him just before he left. And then, suddenly, Ben was gone. Now you see him; now you don’t.
Three years after Ben’s unexpected death at the beach house, Willa is still struggling in a big way. She has vaguely gone through the motions of parenting their son, Jamie, these past three years, but her emotional distance is taking its toll on him ─ as well as on Willa herself. Finally acknowledging this, Willa decides it’s time to move on with her life and to try to reconnect with her son before it’s too late. With this realization, Willa starts the process by facing the beach house, the old haunts, and the ghosts of summers past.
At first the years’ of memories ─Ben and Willa met here at this beach house when they were both still teens─ overwhelm Willa, and she pictures Ben everywhere she goes. But then she actually ─literally─ sees Ben. Well, his ghost. She would see him, then he’d be gone.
Now you see him; now you don’t. Is Willa going insane? She doesn’t think so, but can an insane person be a reliable source? Willa enlists the help of Jamie, her best friend, Kristin, and Kristin’s daughter, Kelsey for the summer ─for more reasons than one! It is Willa’s hope that working together to fix up the beach house will bring far more benefits than just the house, for each of them.
Every Time You go Away is bottom line a story of loss, of grief that is heart-wrenching and far-reaching. Author Beth Harbison’s main character, Willa, has quite unexpectedly, at age thirty-five, lost her husband and best friend. It happens. And how a person traverses the days that follow are personal to everyone who has been in Willa’s shoes. Some may even assert to have seen their loved one’s ghost, or felt a “presence.” Grief is a path unto itself.
Every Time You go Away is also a story ─Willa’s story─ about finding a way through the grief, finding a way to heal from the pain and loss, finding a way to fully rejoin the world of the living again. For the people in her world ─ family, close friends─ that new normal is an adjustment as well.
We all know someone who’s grieving a personal loss ─maybe it’s even you! If so, you have my sympathies. Read Every Time You go Away. Yes, it begins with grief and loss, but it’s also Willa’s journey to hope, to living again. And hope ─and living life─ are both worth it every day of the week!
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About the author:BETH HARBISON is The New York Times bestselling author of One Less Problem Without You, If I Could Turn Back Time, Driving with the Top Down, Chose 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; andShoe 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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