Book Review: Before You Go by Clare Swatman


A
few weeks back, I received a mystery parcel from the lovely Jess Duffy at
Pan Macmillan. Normally, I’d hear from
Jess prior to receiving books so I was a bit confused to open the parcel up to
not one, but two, amazingly beautiful books to sink my teeth into. I’ve managed
to finish one of them –
Before You Go by
Clare Swatman.

This
book was probably one of the best I’ve read in 2016. It was absolutely
everything I wanted in a book and I definitely read it at the right time – I recently
separated from my long-term partner and the story centred itself around a woman
going through the devastating loss of her partner. Whilst it’s definitely not
the same thing, I found myself understanding the pain she was going through to
some extent. I felt that being able to understand her pain definitely meant
that the book appealed to me more and I felt incredibly similar emotions to
Zoe, our protagonist.

The
story begins with Zoe’s husband, Ed’s, funeral: a bit of a bleak start without
a doubt. Naturally, Zoe isn’t taking his death very well at all, especially
because of the friction between the couple prior to his passing. Everything
gets a bit too much for Zoe and she finds herself in a little accident. When
she awakes, she’s been transported back to the moments before she and Ed meet
for the first time and she realises that she might be able to change the events
of present day and save her husband from his impending fate. As an audience, we
bear witness to their first meeting, their wedding day and a bunch of other
important, prominent moments in their relationship. We watch as she attempts to
alter little titbits of the past to ensure that her husband and ultimately her
relationship survives the ordeal. The ending is beautifully bittersweet and
left me feeling all warm and snuggly inside. An absolute success.

Zoe
is a fantastic character and I found myself instantly drawn to her. I can honestly
say that I’m sure that everyone has a moment in their lives that they wish they
could go back to and change, and reading a story with this premise as the plot
is enthralling. The story was breath-taking and absolutely beautifully written,
everything that I could have wished for in a contemporary fiction novel. I
honestly can’t wait to see what Clare has to offer us in the coming years as
her debut novel will be an overwhelming success as far as I’m concerned. I
honestly hope that everyone loves it as much as I have. It was incredibly
difficult to put down once I’d got started with it, Clare’s way with words is honestly
like nothing I’ve read this year (and I’m currently reading book 54 of the
year; I’ve read a LOT of books). I hate to use the term “unputdownable” but it
really, really was. If you do anything in 2017, then please, buy this book. It’ll be published on February 9th, by Macmillan. Thanks to Jess for the advanced reader copy; you made my month! 

If
it was possible to give this book more than 5/5 stars then I definitely would.

A fantastic, heart-warming
debut. 


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