Author Lori Nelson Spielman writes on the cover of Come Away with Me: "Fans of Elizabeth Gilbert's EAT PRAY LOVE will flock to this novel." Fortunately, that's not the case. I wasn't a big fan of EPL. It was okay, but this one is better.
I'll give you the synopsis this time. Tegan, a 26-year old woman, who is pregnant, is driving to her in-laws house during the holidays in Chicago. Her husband, Gabe, is at the wheel. They hit black ice and end up in an accident. She not only loses the baby, but she also loses the ability to ever have children again (this is not a spoiler alert; it happens at the beginning of the book). A number of months later, Gabe convinces Tegan that they should have an adventure. They pull out a bottle filled with vacation destinations and pick 3 (ergo the comparison to EPL). The idea, of course, is to get Tegan out of the place that has such bad memories. Does this whet your appetite?
Brown is a very good writer. And there are some really great moments. There is a 10-page section a little over half-way through the book that I absolutely loved (i.e. that means I cried a lot). And on page 316 out of 350 there is a GIANT SHOCK. My mouth was hanging open I was so stunned. In fact, it reminded me of a very popular movie from a few years back (16 years, to be exact). If you read the book, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can "talk" about which movie I was thinking of.
Brown does something that I really liked. She went back and forth between the present and the past. The difference from other books is that she doesn't go back in any particular chronological order. It might be 2.5 years, or 2 days, or 8 years, or 3 weeks. That keeps the reader engaged.
I also liked that there were references I could really relate to:
1. The doctor smiles, "displaying two rows of quite straight but yellowing teeth." My grandson, Ryan, had just told me the night before that I had yellow teeth. Ouch.
2. Gabe and Tegan go to Maui and take a ride to Hana, which is 4 hours away, on a very winding road. Joni and I took that road to Hana. And Joni got very carsick.
3. At one point, when Tegan and Gabe are in Italy, Gabe says: "You should never skip gelato while in Italy." Back in September of 2011, Joni and I were in Italy. And we had gelato every day, sometimes twice a day.
4. A couple that Tegan and Gabe meet in Italy talk about celebrating the anniversary of their 1st date. October 8 of this year was the 49th anniversary of my 1st date with Joni. So we definitely celebrate.
In case I haven't been clear, you will enjoy this book. In fact, it's worth it just for the GIANT SHOCK, if for no other reason - and there are many other reasons.