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You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley

You Were There Too (edition 2020)

by Colleen Oakley (Author)

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3911455,464 (4.08)1
Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story about a woman who must choose between the man she loves and the man fate has chosen for her, in a novel that reminds us that the best life is one led by the heart. Mia Graydon's life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too--unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn't think much of it, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own--he's been dreaming of her too.  Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question--what if?… (more)
Title:You Were There Too
Authors:Colleen Oakley (Author)
Info:Berkley (2020), 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:edelweiss, reviewed

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You Were There Too: A Novel by Colleen Oakley


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** spoiler alert ** You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley is a 2020 Berkley publication.

This story is centered around Mia Graydon. Mia is happily married to Harrison, a doctor, and they are hoping to someday become parents. However, Mia also has dreams about the same man- a man who is not her husband- from time to time. It’s puzzling, for sure, but they are only dreams, right? Well, maybe not. When Mia comes face to face with the man of her dreams in real life, she’s thrown completely off balance.

Complicating matters more, Mia and Harrison, have hit a rough patch in their marriage. The couple may no longer be on the same wave- length and for Mia, this could be a deal-breaker. Then her dream lover, Oliver, confesses that, he too has dreamed of her, making Mia wonder if maybe fate is trying to tell her something….

Right away one is clued in that something serious has happened, but we have no idea how things got to that point or what might happen beyond it. Meanwhile, we watch Mia struggle with her emotions, taken aback by the changes in her husband. Yet, she finds herself distracted by the mystery of her dreams, suddenly finding it of great importance to understand why she and Oliver have been haunting one another’s dreams and what it might mean.

While Mia loves her husband, the possibility of Oliver has her wondering… what if?

I don’t mind reading an emotional book, but I typically avoid anything that wreaks of a full-fledged tearjerker, especially when the author could have given the book the 'Hollywood' treatment and at least left us with the hope, or promise of a happier future.

One can look at this story in any number of ways, I suppose. Some get redemption, some get their heart’s desire, and there are a few silver linings too, so the ending isn’t a complete ‘ugly cry’ letdown.

Unfortunately, those silver linings were not enough to lift my spirits after the book ended. I felt like I’d been left with nothing concrete to grasp onto. I’d just invested all this time in these characters and felt stunned with how things turned out for them.

I needed to feel that fate would indeed intervene somewhere down the road and happier times were on the horizon- even if it was in the distant future. Alas, that was not to be. With some genres, like horror, for example, an unsettling conclusion is often effective and expected- and I love closing the book with a shiver running down my spine.

But, with a story like this one the dim conclusion was too depressing for my taste, leaving me with a feeling of melancholy. I read to escape from that feeling, which is all too common for many of us in real life- so, while the writing is fine, and the story is not a bad one, it’s just wasn’t my cup of tea.

3 stars ( )
  gpangel | Feb 12, 2020 |
4.5 stars.

You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley is a captivating novel that is thought-provoking and humorous with a bit of a mystical vibe.

Mia Graydon and her surgeon husband Harrison have recently relocated from Philly to the small town of Hope Springs. While Harrison has settled into his new practice, Mia is struggling to launch her career and put down new roots. After another miscarriage, Mia is stunned by Harrison's reaction after a visit to a fertility doctor. With her once strong marriage faltering, Mia meets Oliver, the man who has starred in recurring dreams she has had for years. Even more surprising is Oliver's confession that he, too, dreams of her. As her marriage becomes even more troubled, Mia and Oliver try to understand their dreams and whether or not there is a tangible connection behind their mutual dream life.

Mia never thought she would marry after her turbulent childhood but falling in love with Harrison changed her mind. She also had no interest in becoming a mother but she one day realized she was ready to add to their family. But their road to parenthood is rocky and with this most recent loss, Mia is not ready to give up on becoming a mother.

At an impasse with Harrison about parenthood, Mia instead focuses on trying to understand why she and Oliver dream about each other. Their quest for understanding takes a tiny supernatural turn as they delve into psychic connections and the meaning of dreams. Mia and Oliver also connect on a personal level as they discuss their dreams, text back and forth about their discoveries and embark on a journey to find answers to their questions. As Mia and Harrison's relationship grows more strained, she cannot help but wonder if there is a deeper meaning to dreaming about Oliver and their meeting in real life.

You Were There Too is an incredibly riveting novel that is emotional and touching. The characters are well-drawn and vibrantly developed with relatable strengths and foibles. The storyline is clever and engrossing with realistic issues to overcome. The dream story arc is creative and intriguing with Mia and Oliver trying to uncover the meaning for their ethereal connection. Colleen Oakley brings this enchanting novel to a shocking and poignant conclusion. I absolutely loved and highly recommend this deeply affecting novel.
( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
I have only read two books by Colleen Oakley, but based on those two, she now has a place on my list of must-read authors. Her latest novel, You Were There Too, is that rare mix of realism and fairy tale. Rolled into an emotion-laden story, it has no melodrama and never crosses the line into saccharine sweetness. If anything, it is one of the most honest looks at the difficulties of marriage, and I respect Ms. Oakley so much for her lack of sugar-coating. Plus, Ms. Oakley made me shed tears while reading once again, something it takes a talented author to get me to do.

I picked up You Were There Too expecting an intriguing novel about the life you have versus the life you could have. What I ended up reading blew away my expectations. The story has mystery, multiple twists, and an ending I can respect and even applaud for the courage it shows. Her characters are delightful in their flaws, their complexity, and their realness. The small-town setting, with its direct contrast to the bustle of Philadelphia, provides an eerie mood to the story that enhances its otherworldliness. Well-written without being too dramatic, You Were There Too is a simple story simply told with great success. ( )
  jmchshannon | Jan 28, 2020 |
What if had reoccurring dreams about a man you never met and then met him? When Mia and her surgeon husband move to a small town from Philadelphia, she hopes to have a baby and work on her art career. But she keeps miscarrying and her husband finally admits he’s not sure he wants a baby—and BAM in walks the man of her dreams. Turns out he has dreams of Mia as well. Well developed characters show the emotions all three are going through and the unexpected ending is much more satisfying that I had expected. ( )
  brangwinn | Jan 14, 2020 |
This book has a unique premise from the get-go: a happily-married woman has been having dreams of another man for years. No harm, no foul. They are only dreams. The twists begin when she runs into him in real life. Oh, and secondary twist? He's been having dreams of her, too. The out-of-the-ordinary play upon an alternate lives yet "everything happens for a reason" theme, as if you could almost see where the characters might have ended up if they had made different choices, was very appealing. Each character is battling their own internal struggles. And while not being too heavily focused on any one of the minor players, their problems are linked and fleshed out for the best possible understanding of each person. And for good reason, when the ending in revealed. It was gasp-inducing and tear-jerking with a twist ending that I (gratefully) did not see coming. This may have been my first Colleen Oakley novel but it certainly won't be my last. In fact, I wanted to re-read it the second I closed the cover.

Five heart-wrenching stars and a huge thank you to BookBrowse, Colleen Oakley, and Berkley Publishing for supplying me with this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

https://www.bookbrowse.com/reader_reviews/details/index.cfm/ref/rr44789 ( )
  TLVZ721 | Jan 7, 2020 |
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Dorothy: It's funny, but I feel as if I'd known you all the time, but I couldn't have, could I?

The Scarecrow: I don't see how. You weren't around when I was stuffed and sewn together, were you?

The Tinman: And I was standing over there, rusting for the longest time.

Dorothy: Still, I wish I could remember, but I guess it doesn't matter anyway. We know each other now, don't we?

     ---The Wizard of Oz
For my husband, Fred
First words
The sky is still blue.
[Mia describes marriage as being like her television from childhood] The connection gets loose sometimes---even to the point where you think it might not work anymore---but then something jars it and the wires slip back into place, exactly where they belong, lighting up the screen and bringing back the sound; everything as it should.
This is too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence.
Maybe the future already exists.
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