Thursday, 15 September 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Who We Were Before by Leah Mercer

Who We Were Before is the new novel by Leah Mercer (who also writes romantic comedies under the name Talli Roland). Who We Were Before focuses on the life of married couple Zoe and Edward Morgan, as they try to come to terms with a shared tragedy.

Zoe and Edward have grown apart since the death of their two-year-old son Milo. Once happy, the tragedy has pulled them from one another so forcefully that they may not be able to repair their marriage. As a gift, Zoe's parents have arranged a weekend in Paris for the both of them to enjoy, which neither is looking forward to.

On the way, the pair get separated, leaving Edward with the hotel tickets and Zoe without her phone and purse, having to wander Paris in search of her husband. As Zoe and Edward navigate their trip, they're also forced to navigate their relationship, and try to come to terms with what has happened to their once idyllic family life.

The novel focuses on both Zoe and Edward, the chapters switching between characters and their lives both in the present, and the years previously, giving an insight into their relationship from the beginning, the highs, lows, and the problems they faced both before and after Milo's death. As the book continues and the pair struggle to find each other in the Paris evening, we learn more about the couple's struggles and the events that brought them to that very point.

Despite their troubles, Zoe and Edward are both likeable characters; individually flawed yet loving and determined, once, to make their family work. However, as things in life don't always go to plan, their growing family is ripped apart in an instant, leaving them to cope with heartache and loss. Their troubles are understandable and I found myself rooting for both of them from the start of the book, hoping that things would eventually work out.

I won't spoil the book for you, but Who We Were Before is a beautiful novel; gripping, yet very emotional, focusing on grief, loss, and the possibility of saving what was once to be a happy ending.

Rating: 5/5

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