Not your typical romance…

While You Were GoneWhile You Were Gone by Kate Moretti

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Karen Caughee has had some really rough days lately. She’s a concert violinist for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and lost her bid for concertmistress that she thought was a shoe-in. Her longtime boyfriend, a local music teacher, tells her there’s really nothing between them and admits he’s met someone else. Her dad left years ago and her mom is a somewhat functioning alcoholic who needs to be hauled home from the local bar on a regular basis. And Karen is the one who gets the calls in the middle of the night because her brother has a wife and kids and can’t be bothered to pick up his phone.

So Karen goes to a local bar and grill and is having a few martinis to cheer herself up when she meets a nice guy who’s with a group of businessmen. After talking awhile, he helps her into the taxi that she calls to take her home. Within minutes, the taxi is broadsided and Karen’s consciousness fades away.

Waking up in the hospital a few days later, Karen finds that no one has even been concerned about where she’s been, except for Greg Randolf, the American guy who pulled her from the taxi after the accident. He calls to check on her and is there to take her home the day she’s released. Weeks and weeks of recovery follow and Greg continues to check back when he’s in town and bring groceries and essentially take care of Karen when no one else does.

There are some subtle clues along the way that not everything is right with this budding romance, but you really, really want it to be. You root for Karen, because she’s a nice girl who’s been through so much already in her life and Greg is a steady, hardworking guy who travels a lot for business. Their relationship progresses to intimacy, although Greg seems a little reluctant at first. When they’re apart, they talk or text every day. Soon Greg is asking Karen to accompany him on trips and to come to his company apartment in New York for long weekends. And cautiously she allows herself to think of happily ever after…

There are some incredible twists and turns in this novel that caught me completely by surprise, although that sense of foreboding that something is not quite right stays with you throughout. I found it a fascinating read about the many gray areas between right and wrong. It definitely works as a stand alone book, although it was written as a companion to Ms. Moretti’s previous novel, Thought I Knew You.

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