From the author of the international bestseller The Sweetness of Forgetting, named one of the Best Books of Summer 2012 by Marie Claire magazine, comes a captivating novel about the struggle to overcome the past when our memories refuse to be forgotten.
In this richly told story where Sliding Doors meets P.S. I Love You, Kristin Harmel weaves a heart-wrenching tale that asks: what does it take to move forward in life without forgetting the past?
After her husband’s sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she’s planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn’t she more excited?
At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she’s really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.
Read on for the excerpt and giveaway!
The next morning, as I blink into the sunlight, I have the dim sense that something’s off. There’s far too much light for our western-exposure bedroom. Dan put up blackout shades when he moved in six months ago, so mornings usually dawn in near pitch-blackness.
Where am I? I squint, my head pounding from what is undoubtedly a massive champagne hangover. I sit up and look around, confused, as my eyes adjust and the room comes into focus. Indeed, this isn’t our apartment. The curtains on the windows are white and gauzy; the bed is a teak sleigh queen instead of a burnished black king, and the sheets and comforter are pale blue and soft instead of gray and sleek. The room is oddly familiar, but I can’t put a finger on why.
Had Dan put me to bed at a friend’s apartment last night for some reason? I struggle to remember, but the last thing I recall is falling asleep in his arms just after leaving the restaurant.
“Dan?” I call out tentatively.
I hear footsteps in the hallway, then the sound of someone whistling softly. Again, I have a strange feeling of familiarity, but it only unsettles me. Dan never whistles. In fact, he’d told me on our first date that he considers his inability to whistle one of his greatest failures in life. It was the first time he’d made me laugh.
“Babe?” I venture a bit more uncertainly.
And then the person whistling rounds the corner into the bedroom, and my heart nearly stops, because it’s not Dan standing there at all.
My husband, Patrick.
Who died a dozen years ago.
“Morning,” he says with a smile, and the sound of his sweetly familiar deep voice hits me like a punch to the gut. I was so sure I’d never hear it again. This is impossible.
As I gape at him, I realize that he doesn’t quite look the way he used to. His dark hair is a little thinner around the temples, his laugh lines have deepened, and he’s more solid than he once was. It’s how I always imagined he might have looked if he’d lived to grow older with me. His eyes are just as brilliant and green and warm as I remember, though, and for a long moment, I forget to breathe.
“What’s happening?” I finally whisper, but my voice barely makes a sound. I notice with a start that there’s a sort of haze filling the room, the kind of softening of the light that happens when the sun’s rays hit particles of dust in the air just the right way. Those gossamer moments have always made me think of fairy dust and wishes come true. I wonder if that’s what’s happening now, something magical and unreal.
But as I stare at Patrick, something strange happens: my disorientation begins to fade. I look around and realize with a start that I knew somehow that there would be a slender Dyson vacuum cleaner propped haphazardly in the corner; I knew there would be a Word-of-the-Day calendar on the bedside table; I knew there would be a small cluster of yellow roses in a blue vase on the bureau.
This is our old apartment, I’m startled to realize, the one on Chambers Street, the one we were living in when Patrick died.
The furniture is mostly new, but I recognize the layout, the hardwood floors I’d once loved, the walls I’d once pounded on while screaming and demanding to know how God could have taken my husband away. I can’t understand what’s happening.
“Katielee? You okay?” Patrick asks with concern, cutting into my confused train of thoughts and bringing me back down to earth.
I can feel tears rolling down my cheeks as I struggle to say something in return, but the only thing that comes out of my mouth is a meaningless string of vowels. A part of me is wondering if this is a dream, but the longer I’m here, the more convinced I am it’s not. After all, I’ve never dreamed this vividly and in this much detail before. Then again, if I’m not dreaming, what explanation is there?
Gallery Books (Simon and Schuster) is giving away 2 books to 2 lucky winners! Books up for grabs:
- THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING
- THE LIFE INTENDED
How to enter:
Submit your email here: http://www.theromancereviews.com/contestdetails.php?contestid=1107
Contest ends December 6, 2014.