Always by Sarah Jio

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Catching up with my reading is taking some time, but I’m glad I’m getting there. This week’s book is the romance Always by bestselling author Sarah Jio. As always, I try to avoid any spoilers, but sometimes they can’t be avoided.

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Kailey Crane is a lucky woman. She has a job she adores, lives in a city she loves and has a handsome, attentive and, well, rich fiancee to accompany it all. As her and Ryan, her soon-to-be husband, are leaving a nice restaurant after a lovely dinner, Kailey bumps into a homeless man. She has been working on several articles regarding the situation of the homeless in Seattle and, knowing their situation, offers him the leftovers from her meal. She is shocked to recognize the man. He is not some anonymous soul in the streets, he is Cade McAllister, former founder of Element Records and Kailey’s first and greatest love. Shaken, she is unsure of what to do. When he had disappeared, years before, she never thought she would find him in the streets. But nothing can be done, she can’t get him off her mind. She decides to find him and help him get his life back.

I found this book a good read and with an interesting premise. We do cross homeless people quite often in our daily lives. What would you do if you bumped into a homeless man and it turned out to be an old friend or even an old boyfriend? Would you help him? Would you ignore him? Would you hand him £20 and wish him the best? It’s difficult to tell. On principle, I’d like to think that we would all help this person, but the reality might be very different once it hits you in the face with the force of a boulder.

The story keeps you on your toes. Kailey is unsure of her own feelings about the now two men in her life. Cade’s disappearance as well as the reason for his homelessness remains a mystery too and is one of the main plot lines that kept me avidly turning pages.

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Jio alternates chapters of current story with flashbacks to how Kailey and Cade met and how their romance flourished and then slowly  decayed into a final fight before Cade walked out seemingly forever.

If I have one reproach to this novel, though, is that the character of Kailey, being the main character, doesn’t show the type of growth I would have expected, or at least hoped for. The ending, I believe, will be fully satisfactory for most readers, but I’d have liked something more out of it.

It’s a good winter read though, with a lot of importance placed in the setting, highlighting Seattle and its modern popular history and, although not as successful painting the city as Isabelle Bloom was depicting Prague in A Year and a Day, we do get a real sense of what Kailey’s and Cade’s Seattle was like.

If you like a good romance, one that fills you with warm fuzzy feelings at the end, like I do, you will love Always.

Always is now available for purchase.

Via Netgalley.

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