Sunday 23 July 2017

Together - Julie Cohen

Is this a great love story?
Or a story about great love?
You decide.

On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually would. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie's actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret - one they will do absolutely anything to protect.

What did I think?

I received a copy of Together along with an envelope stating that it should only be opened when instructed.  Needless to say, with such an intriguing package, Together didn't have long to wait on my TBR pile before curiosity got the better of me.  Once I opened the book, I became lost in Emily and Robbie's story and would have raced through it at the speed of light even without the added intrigue of the mysterious envelope.

The story of Emily and Robbie is told in reverse from 2016 to 1962.  Now anyone who knows me would think that I would struggle with this back to front timeline, but Julie Cohen's writing is so flawless that the story flows so effortlessly and it feels completely right to start at the end.  In 2016, Emily and Robbie have been together for 54 years, although they aren't married.  Robbie wakes up one morning and makes a difficult decision that will break Emily's heart, and left me wide eyed with shock.  You find out early on in the book that the pair are hiding a secret, although you have no idea what it could be, and I wondered if Robbie's decision had something to do with this.  I couldn't have been more wrong.

As time flips backwards, we go back through 1990 when we find out that Emily is estranged from her family, through 1975-77 when Emily and Robbie adopt their son Adam, through 1972 when they are both married to other people and back to 1962 when their eyes meet for the first time across a crowded train platform.  Then finally, it was time to open the envelope containing the final few missing pages that I read in stunned silence as tears welled in my eyes.  

I feel privileged to have shared such intimate moments with Emily and Robbie.  They haven't had a smooth ride in their life as the drove down several rocky roads but what they did have was each other.  When reading Together, we are asked whether we think this is a great love story or a story about great love.  I can't choose one over the other so in my opinion, it is both.

Together is completely mesmeric and totally unique in its telling of this beautiful love story.  I urge you to read this book, even if it's not your usual genre.  A beautiful captivating story of love against the odds.  It's certainly not your traditional love story of moonlight and roses, more warts and all under the microscope on the front page of the newspaper.  With shocks at the beginning and the end, read it and weep; I certainly did.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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