With Valentine’s Day just over a week ago I thought I’d embrace the romantic mood of the month by reading an all consuming love story and Miss You by Kate Eberlen is exactly that.
Similar to One Day, but by no means a rip-off, Miss You explores the relationship between love and fate through vignettes over the years. However, the difference being that in Miss You, Tess and Gus are meant to be, their paths continuously crossing, but without properly meeting.
The first person narrative alternates between Tess and Gus whose paths first cross in 1977 at the age of 18 when they both find themselves in Florence; Tess whilst interrailing with her best friend Doll and Gus on holiday with his parents. What Tess doesn’t realise is that her life is about to change forever on her return to England. When her mum’s cancer returns, Tess has to give up her dream of studying English Literature at university and she’s left to look after her little sister Hope. Whereas Gus and his parents’ lives have already drastically changed after his older brother Ross died in a skiing accident and he’s living in his shadow, plagued with guilt after blaming himself for his death.
Over the next 16 years Tess and Gus navigate the emotional obstacles of modern life, experiencing grief, portrayal, temptation, love, career struggles and more, whilst trying to discover who they are. All the while, their lives interweaving, they are constantly on the verge of meeting and even do fleetingly but not enough to establish a connection. As they repeatedly fail to meet, you can’t help but consider how much our relationships are down to circumstance and if you would’ve met certain people if you’d done something differently, whether by choice or chance.
Both Tess and Gus are flawed but incredibly likable as characters and I challenge anyone not to fall in love with them. In fact, the whole cast of supporting characters are well-developed and you soon feel like you know each and every one personally. An endearing and immersive story, Kate Eberlen’s descriptions are beautifully vivid and transport you to the bustling backdrops of Florence, London and New York. Miss you is also very cleverly structured and Kate Eberlen manages to avoid all the romantic clichés, which I imagine isn’t easy as it’s rarely achieved in love stories.
A truly addictive read (I read it in a weekend), Miss You is one of those books that’s hard to tell someone about and they just have to read it to understand! Despite constantly willing Tess and Gus to meet and wondering whether each moment will be the one where they connect, their story slots into place and reminds us that everything happens for a reason. Even the most cynical reader will be left believing that some people are meant to be together.