Wednesday, January 08, 2020

You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley

I planned to finish my 2019 reviews before barreling into 2020 but You Were There Too says it was released on the 7th (that's today as I write but will be yesterday when you read this) so I'm going to go ahead and review it and I'll continue to interject reviews of more recent reads if there's a genuine reason like "Fresh release!" or "I have to say something right now!"

You Were There Too is the story of Mia. Since high school she's occasionally had dreams that feature the same man. Sometimes they're good; often they're nightmares. In her everyday life, Mia is happily married to a surgeon named Harrison. Mia and Harrison have recently moved to a small town called Hope Springs from Philadelphia after Harrison lost a child in surgery and he felt like he needed a change. Mia is struggling with the move and her desire to have a baby, which keeps ending in miscarriage.

Then, one day something bizarre happens. Mia sees the man she's been dreaming about for so long. And then she's introduced to him. Oliver is the brother of a patient whose life Harrison saved, and she feels like she's known him forever. Eventually, Oliver admits that he's been dreaming of Mia, as well. But, what can it possibly mean? In their search for answers, Mia and Oliver become friends. Mia's very open about their friendship with Harrison, but at the same time she's developing a surprisingly deep and meaningful friendship with another man, fault lines have emerged in her loving marriage. Mia works hard at making it clear that she can't be with Oliver, and yet she can't deny to herself that she feels attracted to him.

What will become of the friendship? Will Oliver and Mia step over the friendship line and into romance? What about Harrison? Something is a little off about him but Mia can't put a finger on it and with the rift in their marriage growing, will she be able to help him? Will Mia and Oliver figure out what their dreams and nightmares mean? Or is something about to happen that can't be prevented?

Highly recommended - Ohmygosh, I loved this book. The author kept me guessing all the way through and I loved the way she handled the relationships, the confusion, the questions about marriage and what love can or cannot overcome. There's a shocking prologue at the beginning of the book so you know that Oliver's and Mia's dreams clearly are psychic in some way, but not who Mia is with when tragedy strikes.

This is actually the only book I've ever read that has attempted to address the concept of psychic dreaming and I loved it in part because I am an occasional psychic dreamer, myself. I could relate to Mia's obsession about what it all meant, although I've never heard of two people dreaming about each other and that's far from my experience. I have dreamed about things that happen before the news breaks. Not long ago, I started sharing stories of my psychic dreams (and a couple of what I call "waking visions" because I wasn't asleep when they occurred) with a friend and I realized there were so many of them that it would take a while to share them all with her.

As to meaning . . . I don't know that there is any meaning to those dreams that have come true for me, although a couple of them have felt like warnings. That's one of the questions in You Were There Too. Are Oliver and Mia being warned about something to come? If so, is there anything they can do to prevent something bad from happening? What about the dreams that are not nightmares but the opposite? Do they mean Mia should give up on her marriage and that she really belongs with Oliver? Why do Oliver and Mia both have this strange mix of dreams? It's a really intriguing set of questions and I loved this book so much that I will absolutely seek out more by Colleen Oakley.

I received a copy of You Were There Too from Berkley Books in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks! I'm excited to have found a new author who kept me riveted until the wee hours of the morning (although I didn't appreciate the way I felt the next day).

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