by Kate Eberlen (Mantle) ISBN: 9781509819942
“Tess and Gus are meant to be. They just haven’t met properly yet. And perhaps they never will…”
A set-up like that tells you it’s a love story. What you get is actually three love stories, interwoven like a complex braid. There’s Tess, who had to give up her dreams of studying English and History at University in London to take care of her autistic younger sister. This thread is all about how that happened, how life can change forever in one short moment and the battle between conscience and individual will.
When we first meet her, she’s on holiday with her family in Florence. And so is Gus. He’s reeling from the sudden loss of his brother and battling to meet the new expectations of his devastated parents. Tess and Gus have a beautiful encounter – but it is brief.
The two return to their individual lives, and most of the novel is divided between them, their new beginnings, new attachments, new sadnesses. Two separate, charming stories. Running between it all, however, is the haunting possibility that they might meet again. Their lives loop around one another and intersect and pass by. I was beginning to think they would miss each other entirely. But that’s the thing about destiny – you never know when to expect it.
It is escapist stuff – everybody needs a little.