Fen works in a bookshop and is devoted to her young son, Connor, but she keeps herself to herself. Haunted by guilt and a terrible secret, Fen lives a life isolated from her family, far from home and too afraid of the past to risk becoming close to anyone. She is constantly looking over her shoulder, knowing that one day the truth will catch up with her.
Sean, on the other hand, is enjoying a seemingly perfect life. He has a successful career, lives in his dream home and adores his beautiful wife, Belle, and their six-year-old daughter, Amy. That is until the day Belle announces she has found someone else and wants Sean to move out.
Circumstance throws Fen and Sean together. Slowly their quiet friendship turns into something much deeper and the joy they find in one another eventually gives them the confidence to trust and love again.
But will the past tear them apart just as they find happiness?
Last year I finally managed to sit down with a novel from an author that had been part of my authors-to-check-out list for quite some time; Louise Douglas. I have several of her novels at home and had read and heard many positive things from other readers. When I read and reviewed 'Your Beautiful Lies' last year (click here to read my review), I really enjoyed Louise's writing style and hoped I would be able to pick up one of her other novels soon and check out more of her work. Luckily, that moment came quite quick when I got a review copy of 'Missing You' through NetGalley, thanks to the lovely people at Bookouture. The novel actually won the Romantic Novelists Association People's Choice Award a few years back, so I was really curious to sit down with it and hoped I would end up enjoying it!
Fen hasn't had it easy, which is why she prefers to lead a quiet life together with her son Connor. She enjoys her job working in a local book shop, but mainly keeps to herself the rest of the time, afraid getting close to other people will only hurt her in the end. Sean is lucky enough to have everything he ever wanted in life: a great job, a beautiful wife, and a wonderful daughter named Amy. But then Belle suddenly reveals she has been seeing someone else and wants a divorce. Before he has time to even think about it, Sean finds himself looking for a place to stay which brings him to Fen, who is looking for someone to rent one of her spare rooms. As time passes, Fen and Sean slowly build up a friendship and there might even be more between them. But will everything that happened to them in the past prevent them from being able to love again or can they overcome their struggles and finally lay the past to rest...?
'Missing You' was actually released for the first time in 2010 and I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of the 2015 re-release by Bookouture. I was quite blown away by Louise Douglas' writing and how she managed to create a very specific atmosphere in the book, which fit the mood and experiences of the characters perfectly. Fen and Sean have both been through some difficult times and this feeling of sadness reflected really well in the writing, while also shaping the characters. I liked both Sean and Fen straight away and was really rooting for them, keeping my fingers crossed for a happy ending for the both of them.
The novel is very realistic and I actually quite liked that Fen and Sean didn't fall head over heels in love with one another straight away, but how everything happened quite gradually. The main theme of the novel comes back in its title; Fen misses her family and particularly her brother, while Sean misses his old life with his wife Belle and daughter Amy. We all know the feeling of missing something, and the novel deals with that in a wonderful way and shows how to get through it and meet other people along the way who can help you. Overall, 'Missing You' is a well-written, beautiful, heart-warming story that really had me captivated from start to finish; not a light chick-lit read, but definitely one worth picking up.