49. 'Before You Go' by Clare Swatman

Monday 30 January 2017

Before You Go is powerful story of love and loss, by debut author Clare Swatman.
When Zoe’s husband Ed dies, her world caves in. But what if Zoe can get Ed back?
You find your soulmate . . .

Some people stare love in the face for years before they find it. Zoe and Ed fumbled their way into adulthood, both on different paths – but always in the same direction. Years later, having navigated dead-end jobs and chaotic house shares, romance finally blossoms. Their future together looks set . . .
Then the unthinkable happens.

One morning, on his way to work, Ed is knocked off his bike and dies. Now Zoe must find a way to survive. But she’s not ready to let go of the memories. How can she forget all of the happy times, their first kiss, everything they’d built together? Zoe decides she has to tell Ed all the things she never said.

Now it’s too late. Or is it?

When Jess at Pan MacMillan sent me the synopsis of Before You Go, I was immediately visualising PS I Love You (the book, I refuse to acknowledge the film ever happened) crossed with About Time (the film, which gives me goosebumps just thinking of it) or The Time Traveller's Wife – all of which reduced me to a serious blubbering mess. 

What I liked about Before You Go, is that Swatman hasn’t created a couple who were perfect in every way and were 100% happy, because it gives an element of realism from the offset, especially as Zoe goes through the grieving process, thwarted by what-ifs and moments of guilt – should she have reacted differently to things? Would that have made everything better, different? 

I don’t want to go into much detail regarding the plot, for the sake of avoiding spoilers because I truly feel this is the kind of book each reader needs to experience for him or herself, it really is an enchanting read. I am actually in the process of re-reading it, combing over the details to ensure I did not miss anything the first time round because the story has really stayed with me from the moment I picked up the gorgeous navy and gold embossed front cover. 

What I will tell you is that Clare Swatman is an artful wordsmith, weaving her tale with an enchanting skill, tackling what could be a confusing and gutsy story line, considering the time travelling element entwined with both the ups and downs of a very believable relationship. At times I didn’t much like Zoe, but I feel that was intentional on Clare’s part – who wants a perfectly un-flawed lead character after all. It is the dimensions of believably that I so enjoyed, interwoven by the supernatural element of time travel. 

If you’re looking for the kind of book that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it this is the one for you, and I can certainly say for myself if was a welcome break from inhabiting a predominantly medieval world of fiction, such is my wont. 

Rating 5/5

If you'd like to keep up with the rest of Clare's blog tour, please see the below dates:

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