Cover Image: When You're Gone

When You're Gone

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Member Reviews

*Thank you to Brooke Harris, Bookouture, and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Wow! As someone who has had family members die from terminal illnesses, this book captures that love and heartbreak perfectly. Harris weaves an unforgettable story in which Holly, the main character, faces sickness and death from both sides- her child and her grandmother. This book makes you consider some pretty heavy questions like: Is love enough? Is a lifetime or a moment of true love better? Can love save us? I highly recommend this book if you want to do a little soul searching while having a great read!
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An emotionally gripping book.  well written and touching so  many emotions. A story many will be abler to relate to.  You jus had to keep reading.
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Actual rating 4.5 stars

This was a book which had me in tears a lot while reading it. The last chapters were particularly hard for me due to personal reasons. For a story to make me cry is a sign it’s a good story. Two phrases in particular stood out for me, one featured within the story itself and the other in the authors letter at the end.

‘Just as you will always be your baby’s mother. Even if your little one isn’t in your arms, they will always be in your heart.’ This truly spoke to my heart for personal reasons, it was almost as if the author had read my mind.

‘That it doesn’t matter how long you love someone, what’s truly important is how much you love them.’
Again this is such a simple ideology yet an extremely important one in my opinion.

This is such a beautifully written story with so many messages throughout. Huge thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for providing a copy.
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Today’s lesson, ladies and gentlemen, is that if a book tells you it’s a heartbreaking page-turner - says it right there on the front cover! - you should probably not ignore that warning...

Right now I’m gutted. My heart is crushed. I can’t remember the last time I read a book that left me so anguished.

Romance is supposed to be all the things real life isn’t: miracles happen, the good guys always win, love conquers all. So when that doesn’t happen in a book, it’s a jolt to my senses. A figurative punch to the gut. And that’s what Annie and Holly’s stories were to me, over and over. 

It’s now the morning after I finished When You’re Gone, and I still feel raw. 

Holly flees work in the middle of the day, rushing to get to her dying grandmother’s bedside. Thankful to make it in time to say her goodbyes, she spends hours at Nana’s side, reading a hand-handwritten book found in her grandmother’s attic. It’s the story of Annie and Sketch, who fell in love and braved her father’s alcohol-induced abuse to be together.

It was an incredibly sad, incredibly difficult part of the book to read. There are SO MANY things I could say, so many thoughts I have, but I’m not going to share because I really think you just need to read it for yourself.

Holly, herself, is dealing with her own painful situation. She’s recently broken her engagement to a wonderful man. She knows he’s a great man, but can’t see her way around the terrible event they are having to deal with as a couple. As frustrating as it was to watch Holly shut Nate out, it was even more heartwarming to see how steadfast and determined Nate was to love Holly through the illness of their unborn child. 

As the family gathers around, taking turns reading Annie and Sketch’s story, it seems Nana has one last lesson she wants to teach her beloved granddaughter before she says goodbye. It’s a lesson we all need to learn. 

“...every day is a gift. If all you are gifted is one day, make enough memories in those twenty-four little hours to last a lifetime… Be grateful for the time you have instead of being bitter about the time that’s snatched away from you.” 

I don’t necessarily enjoy reading a book that puts my heart through the shredder. I certainly don’t go looking for those kinds of books! But I’m glad I read this one. And I’m not usually a fan of books told with past and present timelines, but this time it worked. Ms. Harris crafted an excellently written story that flowed seamlessly between past and present. I felt like a freight train was pulling my heartstrings, and I sobbed and sobbed and went through half a box of Kleenex finishing this story. And I cried while telling my husband about it. 

So yeah, when the cover said “a heartbreaking page-turner” wasn’t underselling itself. 

* thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review
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Annie  lives a dreadful life at the hands of her cruel father ..... the story is told back in the 1950's and in present day where we meet Holly her granddaughter ..... a sad beautifully told story ..
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A wonderful emotional story told on two timelines. It made me laugh and in other places  brought tears to my eyes. Highly recommended
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Wow, When You're Gone, is an emotional book. I laughed and cried while reading it. Such a great story!

Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for my ARC. All opinions are my own.
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When a storyline makes you laugh, cry and tears are streaming down your face, then you know how good the book really is. When You’re Gone by Brooke Harris is one of those books.
With thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC,I really enjoyed reading this book.
Highly recommended
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Wow. It was a really beautiful story and i really liked it. Thanks to the publisher that they gave me this amazing opportunity to read this book.
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Bookouture book so just clearing this down as a review for my profile so my feedback looks better - Kim Nash
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I read this book weeks ago and have struggled to put together a review post - there are just so many things I want to say about When You’re Gone by Brooke Harris, but I feel like nothing I type gives the book justice. Unfortunately, due to my current personal situation, it makes it very difficult to write of sad and hard "life' things.

I had never heard of author Brooke Harris and I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book but I'll say I'm glad I had the opportunity to read the gripping story of When You're Gone.  Interestingly, this story was previously published as a book entitled When It Rains. 

Holly is pregnant and her unborn child isn't doing well.  Even worse, she learns that her Nana is dying and Holly is called back home. She learns about her grandmother Annie's story, including her past love with a man named Sketch.

As I said above, When You're Gone was a good book but it is a very sad book. I'm thankful I read it before I was immersed in a sad time in my own life, or I know I wouldn't have been able to finish it, much less write about it. I will warn all readers here: please be assured that you will really need to be in the right frame of mind to read this book about death and dying.  It does have some very beautiful moments and some awesome messages mixed in with the sadness, but if you are in a bad place, you won't catch those.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from Bookouture through NetGalley in exchange for my review.  I would like to thank Bookouture for allowing me the opportunity to participate, read and review this book. My views are my own and are in no way influenced by anyone else!
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It doesn't matter how long you love someone. What's truly important is how much you love them.

I truly don't think I've cried that hard when reading a book in a long time. Oh sure, I get teary eyed when reading. Often! But this was sob fest city. This story is tragic and beautiful. It leaves you bereft, yet your heart is so perfectly full. There are two stories going on here - the story of Holly and the story of her grandmother, Annie. Holly comes home because Annie is dying. Annie is the backbone of the family and no one is quite sure what they will do when she is gone. But Annie has her story to tell, in the pages she has written and hidden away. Holly finds those pages, and we travel back in time to experience Annie's life. And what a hard and horrible life she had. Yet she was able to find some beauty there, in the form of Sketch, the boy she fell in love with. I'll stop there though, so as not to ruin the beautiful, heartbreaking, joyous, soul altering journey you're about to take. Bring your tissues and open your heart. You're going on a spectactular ride!!
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When You're Gone is such a heartfelt story and will really pull at your heartstrings, beautifully written and definitely an addictive read!
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Great read. The author wrote a story that was interesting and moved at a pace that kept me engaged. The characters were easy to invest in.
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i was not sure of this book when I started reading, seemed much too heavy hearted. . But, thank goodness, I have this quirk about reading a book till the end, I would have missed out on a great book otherwise. I may not have cared about them in the beginning but I sure did as I kept reading. This book creeps up on you, I remember thinking as I kept reading that I was so glad I'm a very fast reader, I would just bull my way through it and be done with it. By the last paragraph I was like, No, it can't be over, I want more of them. This is my first book by this author but it won't be my last.
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I picked this book up to read before sleeping and I ended up reading it straight through until the early hours of the morning! Luckily I didn't have to get up to go to work :)

This story is told from alternating points of view, by Holly and her grandmother Annie. It is a heartfelt story about love, loss, friendship, fate.....but mostly about love. So much love in this story, in all its guises.

I so wanted to reach into the book and rescue the young Annie from her homelife, and I also wanted to help Holly when she was struggling with a major crisis in her life, but I just kept on reading and hoped that things would work out for both of them. 

The book was powerful and emotional, for sure. I cried several times from the poignancy of it all but the overarching feeling I got were the strong bonds that tied all the characters together - family and love. At the end of the day, that is the most important thing in life.


5 stars from me.

With thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture.
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This is the story of Annie and Holly, a really close Grandmother/Granddaughter duo who have an incredible bond.

The book is set in two timelines. One is 1958 when a young Annie meets Sketch, the love of her life and the other is the present day. The modern timeline sees Holly reading aloud a book which was written by Annie many decades before. The lesson within the story is the clever way in which Holly’s Grandmother teaches her the importance of love, loss and the circle of life. The words will stay with Holly throughout her life, equip her with some strong coping mechanisms and teach her the value of love.

There are parts of the book which just make your heart ache but in contrast, some truly beautiful and uplifting moments. The focus of a tightly knit family and the love and support which can come from that is a strong theme throughout. However, the book tackles some extremely difficult issues which are handled responsibly by Brooke Harris.

A somewhat vague review is given here, with intention. I feel that more content information would spoil the storyline so I have deliberately kept this brief. I have to say that at the end of the book there is a letter from Brooke Harris to her readers. She talks of the immense grief she experienced after losing her father and how it inspired the story of When You’re Gone.

In Brooke’s words

“It doesn’t matter how long you love someone, what’s truly important is how much you love them”

I was swept away by these totally relatable characters. It took me back to times with my own grandmother, both happy and sad. A book which is emotionally charged, with an old fashioned love story and so much more.
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Oh wow what an emotional book this was. Three times I had to stop reading as the tears made it hard to see and focus on the story. I think most of us have an emotion button that once pressed grips you so deep and hard that tears are an obvious outcome. This book did that to me, but even as that  tears fell I was compelled to want to carry on. No I needed to carry on to discover for myself what sort of ending awaited our characters. You know that there is death in the wings but how do they go on. How do they mend ? Do they even start to mend their broken hearts?.A story of strong female characters told from two perspectives and timelines. One that is beautiful, poignant yet threaded with love  and hope. We meet the characters at two different stages of their lives. Annie  who is at the end of hers and dying and Holly  who is struggling with knowledge the child she carries within her is seriously ill. How Holly comes to term with her nana dying through reading of Annie's life and sorrows will help her come to term with her own sorrow.
This book will wring out your tear  ducts and squeeze your heart with sorrow so make sure the tissues are handy. Yet it  will also leave you satisfied with the outcome. A great read and one that I think will make you cry at every reading.
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When a front cover deems the book a heartbreaking page-turner you know you need to have tissues at the ready but what I didn't realise was that I would end up buried under a tissue mountain. What an emotional rollercoaster.....I wonder if there's a single person who can read this book from cover to cover and not shed a single tear. It's heartbreaking yet still emits that element of belief for life and love, a true beacon of hope.

The story within a story set up was framed to perfection with Annie and Sketch's narrative taking centre stage. Their fierce love for each other shone through the pages and melted my heart. True love is something to hold onto and keep close and treasure for always and Annie and Sketch's story portrayed that to the fullest. 

Family was at the heart of this story with characters drawing strength from one another at such a difficult time. Each character had such a strong bond with Nana which was beautiful to witness and added to the emotional layers that weaved throughout the piece.

When You're Gone is a beautifully heartbreaking story of love and loss that will tear at your emotions but leave you with hope in your heart. Each page is filled with complete devotion to instill and inspire a life filled with true love.
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There are so many things I would love to say about When You’re Gone and I am afraid anything that I do say won’t give this book the justice that it deserves. Brooke Harris’ talent for writing an emotionally gripping story will just grab you so deeply and never let go. Harris hits you hard with all the feels, all the emotions will just bubble forth and at times, will make you cry your eyes out.  It is not often I read such a powerful story with such a strong message where I want to sit back and just remember and then go right back to the beginning and start reading all over again. For an example, my all time favorite movie is The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.  I went to see this movie every weekend in the theatres with a friend of mine and cried every single time until sadly, it left the theaters.  Nothing I have ever read and no other movie ever came as close to what I felt for The Notebook, until I read When You’re Gone. Harris has done what so many other authors have tried to do….make me fall in love with a story.

Brooke Harris has created wonderfully written characters that you can root for, that you want to see their happiness even through all of the sadness.  Holly is such an exceptional character.  She is going through a tough time with her breakup from Nate and even tougher time accepting the fate of her unborn baby who is very ill.  Sadly, during this time, her grandmother is also very sick and does not have much time left. Here we learn about Annie and her story and it so emotionally heartbreaking. But, Annie’s story is two-fold as it opens up Holly to learning how to live and find the strength within herself to go on and to find happiness.

When You’re Gone is told in the present and the past interweaving Annie’s story along with Holly’s in the present. I really found myself savoring every moment of this story as I just did not want it to end. I teared up for many scenes, sighed through many scenes (it just grabbed my heart), and then sobbed my eyes out. Wow! I am still in awe by what I have just read. Brooke Harris is a tremendously talented writer and it is times like this where I am so glad I read books.

When You’re Gone is simply captivating. It is emotionally heartbreaking and yet uplifting at the same time. It is a story about family, love, acceptance and knowing when to let go. I can not recommend this book highly enough. There are not enough stars to show just how much this book meant to me you will just have to read it for yourself in order to understand how much of a great book this truly is. Top read of the year!
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