All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Come Back To Me – Sara Foster (Aussie Author Month Review)

on April 29, 2011

Mark and Chloe are solicitors, working at a London firm and who used to date some years ago. An embarrassing incident at a function led to them splitting up. Chloe is now married to Alex and Mark, not wanting to appear the third wheel at a dinner the three of them are having, for Chloe and Mark to discuss a case, invites along a woman named Julia to be his date. He doesn’t know Julia, having only met her when he cited a document for her, but he is attracted to her and in the time before Alex and Chloe arrive at the restaurant, was enjoying her company.

The moment Julia and Alex set eyes on each other though, everything changes. It’s obvious by the shocked looks and pale faces that they know each other, and are stunned to see each other. There’s no hiding it, even though both of them take great pains to. After stumbling through the introductions, Julia excuses herself to the bathroom and promptly disappears, leaving the three others to try and salvage the awkward evening.

Chloe and Mark are instantly suspicious. Especially when Alex won’t tell Chloe anything and Mark has no real way of contacting Julia other than having seen her address on the papers he signed for her. Although Alex swears to Chloe that he’s not having an affair, he can’t deny that he needs to see Julia and speak to her but he won’t be open with Chloe about what.

Alex and Julia share a tragic past. Ten years ago they were inseparable, travelling the world together, living a wonderful life full of fun and adventure and love. A brutal crime, a tragedy changed all that. Alex fled back home after being given his marching orders and sought to rebuild his life, although he never stopped looking at faces in the crowd for Julia. And as for Julia herself, she took to travelling again, her spirit restless after what happened.

Ten years later just as their paths cross again, the event that tore them apart makes the news back in Australia, where it all happened. Alex decides he must take Julia there, so they can both obtain some closure from that horrible event and seek to move on with their lives and not let it define them anymore, particularly Julia. Even though this places his marriage in terrible jeopardy, with Chloe alone in London and with news that will also change their lives, Alex knows that he must do this. It’s the chance they have to let the terrible past go.

Come Back To Me is the first novel by English author Sara Foster, who is now living on Australia’s west coast. This novel predominantly takes place in London, with flashbacks to what happened in Australia then in a latter part of the book, Alex and Julia return to ‘the scene of the crime’ so to speak in Western Australia. Although it’s her first novel, I read it after I read her most recent novel, Beneath The Shadows. This novel, although not light and fluffy at all is definitely a lighter read.

The four characters, Alex, Chloe, Mark and Julia unfold gradually to the reader, we learn small bits of information at a time at intervals. I particularly enjoyed this, as the various story lines overlapped and wove their way around each other. There were no great info dumps and instead you could sit back and immerse yourself in what was happening slowly. We’re not given much background on Alex and Chloe and their relationship and how they came to be married, we just know that they are and they’re supposedly in love, and that Chloe has history with Mark. As that part of the story unfolds, Mark casts his suspicions on Alex and Julia having an affair and it’s a little while before we find out what their connection is to each other. The two couples, if they can even be called that, are fluid at times throughout the story and at times it’s difficult to be firm in your mind how it is going to be come the end and who will be left together.

I sympathized with Chloe a lot – she was kept in the dark about a lot of things by her husband and although I understood Alex’s need to help Julia, particularly due to the guilt he felt at running when she told him to leave ten years ago, I became quite exasperated with him at some stages in the novel when he was deliberately vague or kept out of touch with Chloe for some time. If my husband went halfway around the world with a mysterious woman from his past, I would be feeling exactly as Chloe does – lost, lonely, hurt, angry and abandoned. And considering what Chloe learns about herself before this even happens, you can imagine her emotions are even more heightened. What should be an incredibly happy event for her is occurring just as something is plunging her into despair.

Chloe and Mark also have family issues that they are dealing with, as well as the pressures of work. They are thrown together to work on a case, Mark regretting letting Chloe go a few years ago and seeking to attempt to get her back now that he believes Alex has had an affair and has pretty much left Chloe, running off with Julia. Both of them are under a lot of stress and it’s that, combined with their previous feelings for each other that lead to moments in the novel where you wonder how it’s going to end. Normally I dislike love triangles as a plot device, especially when they’re just to insert/create tension for no reason other than the author thinks there should be one. This is entirely different, it’s more like a love quadrangle where you have Alex and Chloe married, Alex and Julia having a very intense history and Chloe and Mark having a history too. You can understand how each of the former couples might be drawn back to each other, due to the power of the past.

Come Back To Me is a complex story of relationships and how ones long ago finished can reappear at any moment and change the path you’re on. Despite the intricacies and twists in the storyline, it’s a quick and engrossing read – I powered through it in an afternoon. So very readable  – will keep you wondering and guessing (and in my case, praying that two certain people end up together) until the very last page.


Book #51 of 2011

Come Back To Me was read and reviewed as part of my participation in Aussie Author Month for April. It’s the seventh novel I’ve completed so far!

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