ALMOST MISSED YOU,
BY JESSICA STRAWSER
PUBLICATION: ST. MARTIN’S PRESS; MARCH 28, 2017
Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.
So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.
Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.
Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Jessica Strawser’s Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.
“Almost Missed You” is an upcoming thriller/suspense by Jessica Strawser. I was really looking forward to reading this ARC and had such high hopes for it, but in the end, it left me frustrated.
Written in different time periods, this is the story of Violet and Finn who meet at the beach, get separated before getting each other’s names, and then later meet again (also they went to the same obscure camp in Pennsylvania when they were young). While on vacation, Violet is lying on the beach with a book and a pina colada reflecting on how happy her life is with Finn and their young son, Bear. But when she goes back to the hotel room hoping to wake Bear from his nap, she discovers that Finn and Bear are gone. Everything is packed up, they’ve left in the rental car, and Finn has disconnected his cell phone. From there, the story is told from the points of view of Violet, Finn, and their best friend (Finn’s best friend first and for longer), Caitlyn. The FBI begins searching for Finn and Bear, along with any clues as to why he just up and left, and in the meantime, Violet discovers a secret about Finn that she never imagined. While Violet is at home falling to pieces over missing her son and realizing she hardly knew her husband, Finn shows up at Caitlyn’s demanding help, threatening her with a secret that could devastate her happily family.
To begin with, I think that Jessica Strawser is a very talented writer. Although the story got a little slow at times, sort of boggled down with too many feelings and memories, I thought this was an overall good story and plot. The writing flowed well, despite the time and point of view jumps, and was wonderfully suspenseful at times. My main issue, however, was with Finn. I disliked his character so much it made it difficult to truly love this book. His character is one of the most self-absorbed, ridiculous humans I have encountered in a novel. Obviously, there was some psychosis there, but people experience tragedies every day and that doesn’t mean that they up and disappear with a young child. I also struggled with Caitlyn. I get that Caitlyn and Finn had been very close friends for a long time, however, the fact that he blackmailed and threatened her, yet she still showed compassion towards him, as well as, didn’t immediately tell Violet where Bear was, just aggravated me to death. If your supposed best friend threatens to ruin your life unless you help harbor their fugitive butt, I’m not sure that’s what I would call a friend. But, that’s just me.
I liked Violet, but I loved Gram. Violet was lucky to have such a compassionate and wise woman in her life, and I felt that Gram was right on several times when confronting Violet about her and Finn’s lives. Regarding the ending of the novel…. I am hoping that I read too much into it and that what I think was happening didn’t really happen. Without giving spoilers I can’t really explain, but if it went the way I perceived that it did, then I truly feel like I wasted 3 hours of my life reading this book. It made absolutely no sense to me and as a wife and a mother, it’s truly unimaginable. But again, that’s just me.
There are several wonderful reviews of this novel on Goodreads, so if you were interested in reading this, don’t let my review scare you off because it appears that I’m in the small minority of reviewers so far. I have to admit that it has stayed with me since I finished reading and I find myself thinking about parts of the novel again and again. Which as I’ve said before, I always attribute that to great writing. Whether I like a book or not, if I keep mulling it over, then the author did a great job of reaching me as the reader. If you do read it, let me know what you thought! I’m anxious to hear other opinions!
*Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Learn more about Jessica Strawser by visiting her web page.