One moment, Olivia Kavanaugh is preparing to walk down the aisle and embrace her own happily ever after. The next, she learns that her fiancé, Wyatt Hammond, has been in a fatal car accident. Then comes a startling discovery: Wyatt’s car wasn’t heading toward the church. He was fifty miles away…with a baby gift in the backseat.
Her faith shaken, Olivia pores over the clues left behind, desperate to know where Wyatt was going that day and why. As she begins uncovering secrets, she also navigates a tense relationship with her judgmental mother and tries to ignore the attentions of a former boyfriend who’s moved back home. But when she starts receiving letters written by Wyatt before his death, she must confront a disturbing question: Can we ever know anyone fully, even someone we love?
When an unexpected path forward—though nothing like the life she once envisioned—offers the promise of a new beginning, will she be strong enough to let go of the past and move toward it?
With a blurb like that, how could I resist this book?!
Olivia’s life has been turned upside down with Wyatt’s death, and the mystery surrounding where he was going—and why—on the morning of their wedding. She’s still in the raw, early stages of grief when she’s dealt more shocking news. Needing her family more than ever, she’s deeply hurt by her mother’s rigid attitude and lack of support at a time when she needs her mother more than ever.
Olivia’s mother is noteworthy because she is the first Christian fiction character I ever read whom I disliked intensely due to her interpretation of her faith. That’s not to say I didn’t understand how she could be the way she was, because I did. Still, it didn’t make her a very likable character, in my opinion. But maybe that was the point?
The slow reveal of what Wyatt was doing on the day he died was very well done. I liked how—through his posthumously-delivered letters to Olivia—we were able to get into his head and understand why he chose to do what he did, and why he kept it hidden from her.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this story, but I did find myself somewhat irritated with the ending. All I could think was: Hasn’t that poor woman been through enough already?! It felt like an easy solution to a sticky faith-related topic, and I didn’t care for it. I will allow, however, that it wasn’t a situation out of the realm of possibility… it worked. But I still didn’t like it.
Author: Christa Allan
Title: Since You’ve Been Gone
Published: October 11th 2016 by Waterfall Press