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Miss You: A Novel Hardcover – April 4, 2017
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“If ever a couple was ‘meant to be’ it’s Tess and Gus. This is such a witty, poignant and uplifting story of two lives criss-crossing over the years, with near-miss after near-miss...I couldn’t put it down.” (Sophie Kinsella)
“Brilliantly constructed, with wonderful characters you’ll be cheering on, this romantic story is full of poignant moments, has a huge heart and a massive feel-good factor. Engrossing and entertaining.” (Sunday Mirror)
“Debut novelist Eberlen develops two wonderfully distinct storylines, but her characters are carefully connected by proximity and circumstance….Eberlen’s characters are so real and deserving of love—thankfully it’s safe to root for them both, and root for them you will.” (Kirkus)
“Eberlen . . . excels in creating realistic characters whom readers will adore-including Tess’ unusual sister, Hope; Tess’ sassy best friend, Doll; and Gus’ impulsive college pal, Nash. Eberlen also shines at keeping the story moving through 16 years of friendship, purpose, and love. Swoon-worthy.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Eberlen’s marvelous debut novel captivates and immerses. . . . This worthy, wonderful, and witty read is a must-have for all romantics who believe in hope.” (Library Journal)
“Captivating. . . . a compelling story. . . . This episodic, detail-rich narrative breeds suspense as readers grow eager to learn if fate will ever allow these two lost souls—who often feel trapped by the elusive nature of love and happiness—finally to find each other.” (Shelf Awareness)
“Hugely enjoyable romantic comedy with a great premise . . . . Thoroughly deserving comparison with David Nicholls’ One Day (and I don’t say that lightly), this is commercial fiction of the very highest order.” (Alice O'Keeffe, The Bookseller (UK))
“MISS YOU is utterly charming, engaging, moving, a story which is both wonderfully romantic yet also true to life. The perfect summer read.” (Kate Mosse, author of Labyrinth)
“I adored this book: it is wildly romantic, heart-achingly sad, warmly funny and really clever. Tess and Gus come from different sides of the social tracks, but share a tragic family history and a serial lack of luck in love. There are numerous points at which they might meet but don’t - and right to the end you’re kept wondering. . . . It’s been widely compared to One Day and deserves to do just as brilliantly.” (Daily Mail (UK))
“An unashamedly romantic novel, but one that also deals with the ongoing and deep-seated effects of grief. Both intricate and engrossing, its real pleasure lies in Eberlen’s assured writing with its level of detail and rich characterization.” (Sunday Express (London))
From the Back Cover
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Tess can’t get the motto from her mother’s kitchen knickknack out of her head, even though she’s in Florence on an idyllic vacation before starting university in London.
Gus is also visiting Florence, on a holiday with his parents seven months after tragedy shattered their lives. Headed to medical school in London, he’s trying to be a dutiful son but longs to escape and discover who he really is.
A chance meeting brings these eighteen-year-olds together for a brief moment—the first of many times their paths will cross as their lives diverge from those they’d envisioned. Over the course of the next sixteen years, Tess and Gus will face very different challenges and choices. Separated as they are by distance and circumstance, the possibility of these two connecting once more seems slight.
But while fate can separate two people, it can also bring them back together again. . . .
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Top customer reviews
"Miss You," by Kate Eberlen, spans sixteen years, from 1997 to 2013, with Tess and Gus telling their stories in alternating chapters. We learn about their childhoods, parents, siblings, and friends. In addition, we observe them dealing with adversity, dreaming of careers in the arts and literature, and trying to find the one person who will accept and understand them. Eberlen depicts Tess and Gus as flawed but sincere individuals who pay dearly for their missteps on the road to maturity. We also encounter other memorable characters, including Tess's best friend, Doll, an attractive young woman with a knack for getting what she wants. Meanwhile, Gus is attracted to Lucy, a pretty and good-hearted classmate whom he meets in medical school.
Eberlen explores the unexpected detours that Gus, Tess, and others take during the course of the novel. She also thoughtfully deals with a number of grim issues: autism, cancer, divorce, bereavement, and adultery. Fortunately, there are welcome passages of humor that offset the scenes of heartbreak, and the author delights us with mini-travelogues of Tuscany and mouth-watering descriptions of deliciously prepared food. "Miss You" is poignant, heartfelt, and engrossing, but it is weakened by a cliché-ridden and predictable conclusion. Still, "Miss You" is an ambitious and compelling work of fiction about dashed prospects, the futility of regret, the value of forgiveness, and life's bittersweet irony.
Tess and Gus are the two protagonists who cross paths for the first time in Florence, Italy right before they are about to enter college. From this brief encounter, they have near miss meetings over the next sixteen years (1997-2013) until they finally reconnect by chance or fate depending on your belief system. In the in-between-years, life goes on with careers, jobs, relationships, marriages, children and health issues - all the usual aspects of young adulthood.
Where this novel veered off track from its promotional vibe centers on these two characters. Without giving away the storyline, Tess and Gus have both suffered major losses and their unresolved grief and guilt color their perspectives and life choices...often to their detriment. They both tend toward victimhood and I found them not very likeable and a bit one-dimensional emotionally. The rather depressing tone, coupled with the slow pace, made completing the book a challenge. The tempo did pick up toward the conclusion; unfortunately the ending was totally unrealistic for me.
I did enjoy the descriptions of the various European locales and the author does a credible job in her research of both the autism spectrum and the hereditary (genetic) basis for breast cancer.
Based on all of the above, I cannot give a strong recommendation for this book despite all the praise given by my fellow reviewers.
Tess returns to England to find her mother terminally ill with cancer and is forced to abandon her hopes of college to look after a much younger sister, Hope, who is on the autism spectrum although high functioning. Gus begins medical school -- but his life is also shadowed by tragedy. His elder brother, who bullied him incessantly, has died in a skiing accident. Always his parents' favorite, he has left a huge hole which Gus cannot fill. It will be years before he grapples with this guilt this causes.
The book unfolds over the course of the 1990s and the years after 9/11. The main characters keep crossing paths yet not meeting. Their stories are told independently. Both make mistakes, engage in failed relationships with the wrong people. Gus marries his brother's ex-girlfriend and they have two daughters but the relationship is doomed from the start. Tess has an affair with a married professor and another long relationship with a decent chap who doesn't excite her.
The stories are well handled and the characters seem convincing. My one criticism is that when the two characters do meet, as we know they must, the climax seems overly dramatic -- and yet not quite dramatically fulfilling. The build-up has been immense. The reader has been waiting for hundreds of pages for this moment -- but to me it seemed disappointing -- both too much and too little at the same time.
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