You Were Here: A Novel by Gian Sardar

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“Ghosts. The usual reason for fears of basements, attics, or closets at the ends of long halls. But Abby’s never believed in ghosts. Nothing flits in the corner of her eye; her rocking chair never moved on its own. For her, the fear is suffocation, breath faster and shorter, world compressing, everything heavier and heavier til she’s gasping, an open-mouthed futile plea.” 

Abby Walters has a reoccurring nightmare of being buried alive, the nightmarish terror so genuine that she can taste the dirt. Memories bite, and the terror is real but isn’t hers. So who then? Is it just a nightmare, or something darker, far more sinister? Abby loves stories, the forgotten memories of others, lost in death, in time. Maybe time is reaching out to her. The dream changes when she hears a name, a name that pulls her family’s history in. It’s time for Abby to return home, maybe pillage the place for answers. There she will reunite with her high school crush, now a detective knees deep in the violence of chasing a criminal much in the way she is chasing her family’s secrets. Leaving behind her boyfriend,  a screenwriter who is not quite ready for marriage, Abby is conflicted by her feelings towards Aidan. They have a natural connection, but should she explore this attraction when she already has Robert?

Trying on a ring her grandmother owned, Abby remembers the anger her grandmother had when she tried it on as a little girl. Why such a hot reaction? What is it about this ring, what is the mystery? She finds a note, and the claws of the past grab the present. There is more than one love story, but they are entwined- everything turned ugly, gnarled, twisted. This love calls from the grave and maybe only Abby can hear it’s death knell. What we hide, the secrets we bury have an uncanny way of rising to the surface.

Not all love that blooms is healthy, some love turns when it alters and jealousy whether rightful or not, feeds on us from the inside out and threatens everything in its path. We do things we wouldn’t otherwise, only to end up wondering how we became so weak and clingy. If it’s love, it should be natural. We shouldn’t have to manipulate or ‘arrange’ anything. There is so much I want to say, but I will give the story away. I enjoyed it, and yes, it’s okay to feel bad for both women. Sigh… The novel kept me up late wondering how it would end. Such a disturbingly sad story that lives in the past and present. Strange I finished it on Valentine’s Day… but love is a strange beast. You have to wait until May to get your hands on it.

Publication Date: May 16. 2017

Penguin Group Putnam

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