Book review: Miss You

Last night I was lucky enough to go along to the first Mantle Book Club, a new event arranged by the lovelies at Pan Macmillan for book folk of all ilks (from book bloggers to editors, journos to publicists) to come together and talk about books. The book for the first club was Miss You*, by Kate Eberlen. As someone who spends a significant portion of her time with her head stuck in a book, a la Belle from Beauty and the Beast*, I really enjoyed the opportunity to go along and discuss the book, the characters, how we’d cast a movie of the book and many other points with a group of interested and intelligent readers.

As I was going to book club, I read this book very quickly after receiving it at the weekend, and thought I’d review today, after the discussion, debate, and alcohol-infused-slushies (seriously, so good) of last night.

Miss You is the story of two characters, Tess and Gus. For me it’s very much the story before  the love story, as our star-crossed lovers keep missing each other as their lives move along. I loved this premise and the ways that they almost meet are inventive and charming. Their not-quite-intertwining stories both have highs, lows and moments to cherish and for a book with two such different paths I loved that the changes in perspective and person never jarred – whether it was a Tess or a Gus chapter, I was always pleased to see them again!

This is a book about love, but it’s also a book about so much more. Friendship, loss, fate, duty, family, what it is that makes us feel happy and whole….it’s all here. Tess, Gus and the other characters within the book are all real, human, believable, and I love that Eberlen was willing to allow her lead characters to be flawed, to struggle, and at times to be downright wrong.

Another thing I liked about the book was how it conveyed what it is to be lonely. At points various in the book both Tess and Gus were at points where they felt really, truly alone, and Eberlen didn’t shirk from showing this. This gave a real note of pathos to proceedings, as well as making it seem all the more real – being lonely and feeling alone is one of the few human universals, whether it’s for a moment or a season. I also liked how Eberlen wrote about London – when she spoke about the areas the book covers I could almost picture them, hear the sounds, and smell the smells. Evocative, vivid, scene-setting.

I loved the ‘supporting’ cast of characters and would read the heck out of a book starring quite a few of them (apart from the one character I want to smack, hard). I loved the fact that as well as our two protagonists wending their way towards each other, you saw other characters missing and making connections. As humans I think we all have a what if, an ‘if-it-had-been-a-little-different’, or a one that got away – and this book plots not just the ‘what ifs’ of the two main characters, but the many characters around them. In life sometimes we are the star, sometimes the support, and sometimes an extra in the background – while we followed Tess and Gus’s story I liked the moments where you realised the central duo, as well as being destined for each other, were someone else’s mistake, what if, or not-meant-to-be.

The books and films this most called to mind were One Day*, The Versions of Us*, and Sliding Doors* – this book is quite like all of these, but completely different as well. For vast swathes of the book Tess and Gus are miles apart, so it’s not exactly like any of the trio, but the ‘what if’ scenarios and the near misses of the book, where their lives almost intersect, means that some of the themes are naturally the same.

I really enjoyed Miss You and tore through it at a rate of knots. I loved accompanying Tess and Gus on their journey and would heartily recommend the book to anyone looking for a good, well-plotted, moving bit of fiction. I’m looking forward to Eberlen’s next book already – whatever she writes I’m sure will be another great story.

Disclaimer: I was gifted a copy of Miss You to read and review. All opinions, for good or for ill, are my own.

37 Comments

    • Claire
      6th September 2016 / 12:12 pm

      Book clubs are such fun, I'm really enjoying getting back into them!

  1. The London Mum
    2nd September 2016 / 11:10 am

    Sounds like a great book!! I want to be part of this amazing book club!!

    • Claire
      6th September 2016 / 12:13 pm

      I'll keep you in the loop for sure – it's such fun!

  2. Caffeinated Reactions
    2nd September 2016 / 12:41 pm

    This sounds great! I loved 'One Day' so will probably love this! I might recommend it for my next choice for my bookclub!

    • Claire
      6th September 2016 / 12:13 pm

      Oh do – it's such a great bit of fiction!

  3. Hannah Heartss
    2nd September 2016 / 3:20 pm

    This sounds just like my kind of book! Adding it to my to read list X

    • Claire
      6th September 2016 / 12:14 pm

      Fantastic, I really hope you enjoy it!

  4. Harriet Shearsmith
    2nd September 2016 / 3:33 pm

    I love your book reviews – this one is fab! Sounds fun 🙂

    • Claire
      6th September 2016 / 12:15 pm

      Thank you so much, Harriet – I adore writing about books and sharing about great ones!

  5. Rhian Westbury
    2nd September 2016 / 4:09 pm

    Sounds like such a good book. I've been looking to join a book club for ages, need to look into it some more x

    • Claire
      6th September 2016 / 12:15 pm

      Oh, let me know how you get on – I find it so fun to chat through what I'm reading!

  6. Samantha Rickelton
    2nd September 2016 / 4:28 pm

    I love Sophie Kinsella and will look out for this book next time I'm at the bookstore. Thanks for the recommendation x

    • Claire
      7th September 2016 / 7:51 am

      I hope you find it and like it – I got utterly swept away!

  7. Angela Milnes
    2nd September 2016 / 7:22 pm

    I've not heard of this book or ever been to a book club but it sounds really interesting.

    • Claire
      7th September 2016 / 7:51 am

      It's well worth a read, I enjoyed the story very much.

  8. beautyqueenuk
    2nd September 2016 / 7:51 pm

    I love that you are part of a book group and this sounds like a good read x

    • Claire
      7th September 2016 / 7:52 am

      It really is and I adored taking part in the group.

  9. Brand & Beauty
    2nd September 2016 / 8:19 pm

    This sounds like a very romantic book, not really my kind of book but we have different taste. I have never been to a book club before, it sure sounds interesting!

    • Claire
      7th September 2016 / 7:52 am

      Good company and delicious drinks? Always a good idea.

  10. Chilling With Lucas
    2nd September 2016 / 9:47 pm

    I love the sound of this book, will be looking next time I'm at the library x

    • Claire
      7th September 2016 / 7:53 am

      I hope you can find it and that you enjoy it. Libraries are such a treasure!

  11. Kira L Curtis
    2nd September 2016 / 10:29 pm

    I've never heard of this book before but I really like the sound of it, a nice light read I would imagine 😀

    • Claire
      7th September 2016 / 7:53 am

      It was a light, easy read, but lots of plot and thought-provoking moments too!

  12. Laura Ferry
    2nd September 2016 / 11:05 pm

    This sounds like the ideal book for me to read. I really like reading about peoples lives xxx

    • Claire
      7th September 2016 / 7:53 am

      Then you are going to *love* this book!

  13. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes
    3rd September 2016 / 6:22 am

    This sounds like such a brilliant read. Off to add it to my wishlist.

  14. Stella Olojola
    3rd September 2016 / 6:41 am

    This sounds like a very interesting book. Would love to read it.

  15. Tanya Brannan
    3rd September 2016 / 11:42 am

    This sounds like just the kind of book I would read. I haven't heard of the author before but I will be checking her out x

  16. Laura Hartley
    3rd September 2016 / 12:18 pm

    I love One Day so if this is similar I'll have to check it out! Sounds like a great book club 🙂

  17. ana de jesus
    3rd September 2016 / 3:10 pm

    I like that Miss You focuses on the 'what if's' because that is so real life!

  18. Claire Cly
    3rd September 2016 / 3:19 pm

    It sounds like a book I would love- I must add it to my list.

  19. Jenny
    3rd September 2016 / 5:32 pm

    I like the sound of this book, I'm always on the lookout for a good recommendation.

  20. Ali - We Made This Life
    3rd September 2016 / 8:17 pm

    I love the sound of this book, I want to read more in September so I'll add this to my list thanks!

  21. Leanne Dolan
    4th September 2016 / 8:54 am

    Ooh this Def sounds like my kind of book. I will have to add it to my goodreads list. Perhaps it could contribute to my reading challenge this year

  22. Zoë IKIWN
    4th September 2016 / 3:01 pm

    This sounds really interesting, I have an ever growing 'to read' list and based on this recommendation I think I've just added yet another one to it! x

  23. Sam Testing Time Blog
    5th September 2016 / 9:15 pm

    This sounds like a book I would love. If Sophie Kinsella says it's good then it will be fab!

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