Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Always by Sarah Jio

I faithfully read every new Sarah Jio novel and I haven't been disappointed.  Until now, darn it.  I don't like to give unfavorable reviews, but this one just didn't do it for me at all. 

Sarah returns to Seattle, which is the setting for most of her novels.  This time, the story bounces between 1996-1998 and 2008, as Kailey Crain is caught between her past and her future.  As a new resident of Seattle in 1996, Kailey meets Cade McAllister one night.  He's a successful music label owner who has a sixth sense about new artists, and Seattle in the 1990's was full of grunge rockers (Nirvana anyone?) trying to break out.  Kailey's love for Cade is shattered in 1998 when things go bad, and Cade leaves Kailey's life.  Heartbroken, she moves away, only to come back to Seattle years later, and fall in love with Ryan, a successful businessman.  They're engaged, and ready to begin life together.  But one night, leaving a restaurant, Kailey spots a homeless man standing outside the restaurant.  It's Cade.  He doesn't recognize Kailey, but she recognizes him, and, well, you know where this is going. 

What follows is Kailey's growing involvement in finding Cade, getting him help, and understanding what happened to leave him homeless, broken, and apparently without any memories of his previous life.  Kailey's job as a reporter covering a potential business deal that could detrimentally effect the homeless of Seattle keeps her in moving in Cade's world of homeless people who wander the streets and take up valuable real estate (according to Ryan's business connections).  What's she going to do?  And how long can she keep this secret from Ryan?  And why would she keep Cade a secret?  

This story just didn't live up to Sarah's previous novels.  It was maudlin, and this comes from someone who can take a lot of saccharine.  Kailey's life just seemed absolutely fantastical, and the tossing around of famous music names and songs just got old.  I have no desire to revisit the 1990's music scene in Seattle.  None of it felt very authentic to me.  At the end, I felt that there was never going to be a complete contentment from Kailey with the choices she made--and they were big choices.  

Drats.  I was disappointed in this one.  If you're a fan, by all means don't let this review stop you from reading Sarah.  I'll keep reading her; I just think this one missed the mark.  It felt like a very cheesy movie.

Rating:  1/6 for a story that just was too hard to believe, a heroine who didn't feel authentic to me, and ugh-an ode to 90's grunge music. 

Available in hardcover, audio, and e-book. 

1 comment :

  1. It wasn't one of my favorite Sarah Jio novels, as well....