Title: Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.
So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.
Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.
Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Jessica Strawser’s Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.
In Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser, unresolved grief and guilt are the basis for an impetuous kidnapping that tests the bonds of friendship and love.
Violet and Finn Welsh, along with their three year old son Bear, are on vacation in FL when Violet returns to their hotel room and finds both her husband and son have disappeared. She has no idea what prompted Finn’s decision to kidnap their son and as the days pass with no word about them, she discovers Finn and their close friend Caitlin Bryce-Daniels have been keeping secrets from her. Finn uses some of those secrets from his and Caitlin’s shared past to gain her co-operation when he needs a place to hide while he figures out what to do next. Caitlin is torn between her loyalty and her fear about what will happen to her family if she does not do what Finn asks. Will Violet be reunited with her son? Can she forgive Finn for taking their son?
Years earlier, Violet and Finn met while they were both on vacation and despite their instant connection, they are separated before they can exchange even the most basic information. They each return to their normal lives, but they both wonder “what might have been”. Years later, they eventually reunite but they do not talk much about what happened in their lives between their first meeting and their reunion. By all appearances, their marriage is happy and both Violet and Finn are devoted to their son Bear. Violet is beyond stunned when Finn kidnaps Bear and during the subsequent investigation, she learns some very shocking information about her husband. In light of these revelations, Violet looks back on their relationship and comes to some very shocking conclusions about herself, her husband and their marriage.
Almost Missed You is a very suspenseful and engrossing novel. The chapters alternate between Violet, Finn and Caitlin’s perspectives and often end on cliffhanger. One of the most gripping questions that keeps the pages turning at a blistering pace is, of course, why did Finn kidnap Bear? Equally compelling is what happened in the years between Finn and Violet’s first meeting and their reunion years later. Forgiveness, secrets, deliberate omissions and betrayal are just a few of the fascinating topics that Jessica Strawser explores in this well-written and intriguing story. The novel ends on a curious note that is vaguely unsatisfying but overall, readers will be quite pleased with this debut.