I received this book for free from Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Always by Sarah Jio
Published by Ballantine Books on February 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Women, Romance
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
From the New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter and The Violets of March comes a gripping, poignant novel about the kind of love that never lets go, and the heart's capacity to remember.
While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiance, Ryan, at one of Seattle's chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can't believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for the Herald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister.
When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense everything connected and felt "right." But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what and whom she wants.
Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she's willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love.
After a lovely dinner with her fiance, Kailey sees a homeless man outside the restaurant and foes to offer him her leftovers. When their eyes meet she is surprised to realize she knows who he is – Cade, the love of her life. Kailey and Cade had an instant attraction and intense relationship. It all ended when Cade just disappeared. No here he is a shell of himself leaving Kailey to wonder what happened to him. It also leaves her wondering what she really wants.
The story is told in alternating present and past until the two kind of converge and we are all caught up. We see both past and present from Kailey’s perspective.
I really liked Kailey. She seemed to have such a big heart and really care for people and in the homeless issue in Seattle. Her fiance (in the present) and her seemed to love each other but I always felt like the spark was missing. I also felt like Kailey wasn’t fair to him at all during the whole book. That was my only complaint about her. Cade (in the flashbacks) was such a charismatic character that just jumped off the pages. I wanted more Cade overall.
I loved the Seattle setting and think it was done so well and felt really authentic (being said from someone who has never visited but still). I also loved all the 90’s music references, especially all the bands that came out of Seattle at that time.
One issue I had with this book was a lot of the themes, especially those around the homeless, were heavy handed. I feel like there was no subtlety in how things were presented or foreshadowed. The other thing is was for a short book it read a little slow. I could put it down pretty easily.
Overall, though, I did enjoy this book, especially the earlier time frame with Kailey and Cade. I will definitely keep an eye out for more by Sarah Jio.