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13 February 2017

Review: 'Before You Go' by Clare Swatman (2017)

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?

Several weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of the gorgeous 'Before You Go', which is the debut novel of author and journalist Clare Swatman. I'm sure I'm not the only one who was straight away intrigued to know more after seeing the pretty book cover and reading the book description. Especially the blurb already gave me the feeling that I wouldn't be able to read this novel without shedding a few tears here and there, but sometimes you just need a novel that does that to you, if you ask me...! All in all, I was curious to check out this debut and share my review with all of you, so here we go!

Zoe and Ed met while they were both about to start university and became house mates. While there were no clear sparks between them at the start, their paths brought them together again a few years later and they turned out to be meant for each other. Zoe knows Ed is her soulmate and can't imagine living her life without him in it. But suddenly she is forced to when she receives the news Ed was knocked off his bike while on his way to work and didn't make it. Zoe has absolutely no idea how she's going to cope without Ed, but then she unexpectedly seems to receive the opportunity to maybe change what has happened... The question is: can she really influence what will happen to her and Ed?

As a person who is always looking for that happy ending, I often doubt whether I should really pick up and read books like 'Before You Go'; books where when you read the description you know the happy ending will be tricky, because something awful has already happened and there's nothing that can be changed about that. However, this novel leaves that window open in its blurb, and that's one of the reasons why I was so curious to pick it up and give it a chance. After the first few chapters I was taken in by Zoe and Ed's story and I loved how the flashbacks were used in the book to get to know the two main characters and their love story. There is a good collection of characters at the core of the novel, even though the main focus is really on Zoe and Ed, and not really on others. 

I also want to mention Clare Swatman's writing, which I really enjoyed. Her style fits this type of novel quite well, and it was easy to get back into the novel after having put it down for a bit, while also making me want to read on and continue the story. I don't want to add any spoilers to this review, but I personally saw the ending coming from quite early on, which was too bad, but didn't necessarily ruin the reading experience in any way. I have to say I have definitely been convinced by Clare Swatman's debut novel and I have a feeling she's going to be around for quite a few years to come. All in all, 'Before You Go' is a touching, well-written and emotional read that I am sure many women's fiction fans will thoroughly enjoy!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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