I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison
Published by St. Martin's Press on July 25, 2017
Genres: Women's Fiction
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In New York Times bestselling author Beth Harbison's most emotional novel ever, a fractured family must come together at a beach house haunted by the past.
Willa has never fully recovered from the sudden death of her husband, Ben. She became an absent mother to her young son, Jamie, unable to comfort him while reeling from her own grief.
Now, years after Ben’s death, Willa finally decides to return to the beach house where he passed. It’s time to move on and put the Ocean City, Maryland house on the market.
When Willa arrives, the house is in worse shape than she could have imagined, and the memories of her time with Ben are overwhelming. They met at this house and she sees him around every corner. Literally. Ben’s ghost keeps reappearing, trying to start conversations with Willa. And she can’t help talking back.
To protect her sanity, Willa enlists Jamie, her best friend Kristin, and Kristin’s daughter Kelsey to join her for one last summer at the beach. As they explore their old haunts, buried feelings come to the surface, Jamie and Kelsey rekindle their childhood friendship, and Willa searches for the chance to finally say goodbye to her husband and to reconnect with her son.
Every Time You Go Away is a heartfelt, emotional story about healing a tragic loss, letting go, and coming together as a family.
Willa Bennett has been lost ever since her husband, Ben, passes away suddenly from an undetected heart condition while alone at their beach house. Willa used to believe in happily ever afters, but now she is lonely and has lost all hope of ever recovering enough to be the mother her son needs. Three years later, Willa has finally come to the realization that it was time for her to join life again and to reconnect with her son Jamie who is now seventeen years old. Willa decides it would be best to pack up and move into the beach house where her husband passed at least for the summer to fix up the house so she could sell it. There are just too many memories of the life she shared with her husband to want to keep it. The house has been an empty tomb for the past three years and going back there will be hard, but Willa is determined to put the past behind her and to stop being a failure to her son when he so desperately needs her. When Willa starts seeing the ghost of her husband, Ben, at the beach house is she finally able to accept his death and move on from the life she once shared with him?
Every Time You Go Away is a such a heartfelt story about life, love and death that is told in such an honest and realistic way. We have all lost a loved one in some point in our lives and the emotional toll it can take on you is heart wrenching. It is so easy to sympathize with what Willa has gone through with losing a husband at such a young age. We never think that someone so young and vibrant can pass away in an instant, but it happens more often than you think. So I can understand the despair and the total aching loss of losing the one person you love the most. Married couples often talk about what they are going to do when they grow old together, Willa lost all of that when he husband suddenly dies. She is left an emotional wreck that not even medication can pull her out from.
I really felt myself engrossed into the story right from the beginning and really loved the ghost aspect to the storyline. I do believe that loved ones can come to you and speak to you, maybe not to the extent that is in this story, but in a more subtle way. I do believe you need to be open to the possibility of ghosts in order to see and hear them. One of my favorite movies even till this day is Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze and Everytime You go Away has certain aspects to the love story of this movie which made me really connect with the characters even more. I loved the scenes with Ben as a ghost and felt he really helped Willa comes to terms with his death.
Willa also ropes in her son, Jamie, her best friend Kristin and her daughter Kelsey to come help with the renovation of the beach house and here is when the story really opens up the life and laughter that has been missing for far too long in Willa’s life. You can really see the awakening in Willa and you can’t help but to root for her to finally find a way to accept everything that has happened in her life and to learn to embrace life and live life to the fullest.
Beth Harbison has such a way of pulling you into the story and feeling as if you are on that beach, feeling the breeze from the ocean and the sand through your toes. Harbison’s writing style is lyrical and poetic in its simplicity. She shows us that loss doesn’t mean the end of life and that laughter and family and learning to live after a tragic loss all has meaning and a purpose in our lives.