Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: 9/3/13
Source: Received from publisher for review
Rating: 3.5 stars
Best friends forever until life got in the way. Katherine Hill left her small New England hometown in pursuit of a dream. Now, twelve years later, she’s a high-powered cosmetics executive in Manhattan and a much glossier version of her former self, unrecognizable to her family and old friends. Not that she would know—she hasn’t been home in over a decade.
Laney Marten always swore she’d never get "stuck” in Manchester, Vermont. No, she was destined to live out her glamorous big-city dreams. Instead, she wound up a young wife and mother. That was when her best friend ran out.
When Katherine receives word of an inheritance from former neighbor Luella Hancock, she reluctantly returns home to the people and places she left behind. Hoping for a second chance, she’s met by an unforgiving Laney, her former best friend. And there’s someone else who’s moved on without her—someone she once loved.
Tethered to their shared inheritance of Luella’s sprawling Victorian mansion, Katherine and Laney are forced to address their long-standing grudges. Through this, they come to understand that while life has taken them in different directions, ultimately the bonds of friendship and sisterhood still bind them together. But are some wounds too old and deep to mend?
After several years away, I've been in a notion to read more Women's Fiction lately. As much as I love a good romance, and you know I do, sometimes I want a story that focuses on the story of a woman searching, stumbling, finding. A story that may include a man at some point, but doesn't truly focus on winning him, but winning back something that's been missing.
In You Knew Me When, we not only get the story of one woman searching, but two. Laney and Kitty were the best of friends for many years, closer than sisters. We quickly learn that the two are estranged, but it's not clear why. The demeanor of the two, the amount of uncomfortable tension lets you know that whatever happened was brutal and even twelve years later, neither is over it. I could relate to the characters and their situation, way too well.
You Knew Me When is told in both the present and the past, with the flashbacks beginning when Kitty and Laney met and ending when they lost their friendship. I really enjoyed the flashbacks, maybe because these two are about the same age as me, so I loved the pop culture references to music, television, clothes, and yes, "The Rachel". [Sidenote, for those of you who know, or even wore The Rachel, like me, I love you. For those who don't, google it.] I also think I enjoyed the past narrative more because it was in first person, which helped me connect to the characters better.
The present narrative was in third person, which doesn't bother me if I can still feel the connection to the characters. In this though, I almost felt as if I was being "told" what was happening and how the characters felt, versus just being able to experience it.
As I mentioned earlier, whatever tore Laney and Kitty apart seemed to have been fairly devastating, so of course I spent the entire book waiting, and feeling the tension build. When I finally got there, though, I wasn't blown away. Don't get me wrong, it was a worthy reason, but I feel as if the delivery was rushed a bit. We spent the whole story building, and then....
I liked You Knew Me When, and I did feel an affinity to the characters. I love when an author doesn't make one person the "bad guy", but relies on life or circumstance getting in the way. I know this will be a story in which many women will see pieces of themselves and pasts.
Purchase You Knew Me When
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