Book Review: Before We Were Strangers – Renée Carlino

Before We Were StrangersI’ve been a fan of Renée Carlino since the first time I’ve read Sweet Thing and through her succeeding novels, you can easily see how she has grown exponentially as an author and this new book makes me love her even more.

The story is about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives Matthias and Graceland their second chance at love a decade and a half after they got separated in New York City.

The first met in college during senior year, became BFFs and eventually a couple, each with dreams and aspirations to become successful. Matt loves photography and was granted internship with National Geographic. Grace on the other hand was musically talented, but her family situation leaves her with no choice but pursue her graduate studies to earn money the soonest. When Matt returned from his internship, Grace was gone without a trace. Fifteen years later, they finally saw each other at a subway station. Now, it’s up to Matt and Grace if they’ll be up to relive the past and give their love a second chance.

I actually read this non-stop until I was about to fall deep into dreamland and slept with a smile on my face. It was just so engrossing and the characters are very engaging. I usually do not like very long separation like this with my “couples” because when I get invested with the characters, I am the one who feels the regrets of those lost years that should’ve been spent just loving each other but it does happen right? We cannot always predict the future so we just have to try to move on and that’s what Matt and Gracie did, though they know that they’ll each have a special place in their hearts.

I’ve always question the concept of “The One That Got Away.” We all have that don’t we? I find it really sad because it feels to me like a bit of a betrayal somehow especially when you’re in a relationship and at the back of your mind, whenever you get reminded of that person ‘that got away,’ you always ask yourself the ‘what ifs.’ I guess, that is how love works. It works differently and feels differently for the one in your present and the one from the past. It may be easy to move on but it’s more than hard to forget. However, can you really say you have moved on if you have not totally forgotten that person from the past?

Before We Were Strangers puts good emphasis on these questions. The writing was fluid all throughout. It was a bit predictable – yes – but I have always said that there’s a ‘good and bad predictable’ and this is definitely a good one. I loved that it doesn’t feel that long because of its continuity. People would love Matt and Gracie onset of the story and they will ache for their losses. I know I did.

This is such a beautiful story about letting second chance at love swept you off your feet until you realize what you have been missing all your life and finally have the will to chase it.

I am very much recommending this to everyone who are longing for “the one that got away” and would like to imagine how love truly is a magnificent thing the second time around.

Again, bravo Renée Carlino!

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Expected publication: August 18th 2015 by Atria Books

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About The Author
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women’s novels. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

An ARC of this book was given in exchange for an honest and impartial review.

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