by Sarah Jio
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication date: Feb. 7, 2017
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 having a wonderful dinner with her fiance, Kailey spots a homeless man outside the restaurant. When she goes over to give him her leftovers, she is shocked to realize that the homeless man is none other than the love of her life, who up and disappeared without a trace ten years ago. Always is the story of Kailey and Cade both in the past when their love was blossoming, and in the present time as Kailey tries to help Cade with his new predicament.
I will admit that this is the first book by Sarah Jio that I’ve read. The publisher actually sent me a copy of this book randomly and when I read the synopsis, I was immediately intrigued. I mean, I couldn’t imagine coming across a homeless person only to realize I knew them when I was younger. Let alone having that person be the man that I loved and thought I lost forever. Then to add onto that, the fact that he doesn’t even remember who he is or what happened to him. Yeah, Always was definitely an interesting story.
At first I was a little annoyed with the two different timelines in the story. Each chapter bounces back and forth between ten years ago when Cade and Kailey met and fell in love, to the present time of Kailey trying to help him get his memory and life back. I will be honest and say that at the beginning, I was kind of bored with their blossoming love story. A lot of it just seemed like filler, they went on vacation here, they talked to these people, they went to this event in town. I get the whole point was to make the reader connect with their history and get a better understanding of who they were ten years ago, but I honestly just wanted to stick with the here and now. I found the fact that Cade went from being a millionaire co-owner of a record label, to being homeless, confused, scared, emaciated, and with no memory of what happened to him. That, to me, was where the story was at. I would have preferred if we were given little snippet memories of their past throughout the book instead of whole chapters.
I feel like the author brought so much to the table, and ultimately left a lot of plot holes and questions. We are lead to believe that someone did him harm, we are informed that Cade showed up to the hospital ten years ago but that someone (family/friend?) showed up and signed him out of the hospital, we are told that he had massive brain trauma, but we’re given this half-ass explanation as to what happened leading up to his disappearance. We aren’t told what actually happened to him, who took away all of his money, who refused his hospital treatment and signed him out, or even what he was up to the last ten years while living on the streets. I mean, ten years this famous guy lived on the streets and no one recognized him? I just wish there was more of Cade’s story.
Always is an interesting story. It does have a love triangle, it does have a HEA, and it’s an easy read that you can finish within a day. While I wasn’t necessarily surprised by the outcome of the story, I still enjoyed it as a whole.
“The truth of the matter is that we always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.”