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You Were There Too

Review

You Were There Too

Mia Graydon is a struggling artist whose husband’s career recently forced her to move to a small town, which has left her unhappy and unsettled. Her career has stagnated, and she misses Philadelphia. For years, she has experienced romantic dreams involving the same man (who she has never met). While visiting her husband, Harrison, at the hospital in their new town, Mia encounters Oliver, who looks just like the person in her dreams. Stunned, she seeks him out to learn more about him and why he might be inhabiting her dreams. Oliver is equally startled to meet Mia because he has had similar dreams himself.

While Mia and Oliver are attempting to understand their connection, Mia and Harrison are struggling with their relationship and other personal issues. Both are more focused on their own pain than on the other’s.

"People sharing similar dreams is a fascinating and thought-provoking premise, and in her Acknowledgements, Oakley cites some research that provides a good scientific basis for this plotline. This proves to be the most interesting part of the novel..."

Colleen Oakley’s main characters are reasonably developed but not particularly likable and occasionally feel stereotypical. Mia is an artist whose flightiness is mentioned often and who never seems to be content with her life, including where she lives and the man to whom she is married. As Harrison’s struggles escalate, Mia is oblivious to his pain and remains enveloped in her own unhappiness

People sharing similar dreams is a fascinating and thought-provoking premise, and in her Acknowledgements, Oakley cites some research that provides a good scientific basis for this plotline. This proves to be the most interesting part of the novel, especially when Mia and Oliver visit a doctor who specializes in this kind of phenomenon. I wish there had been more of a focus on this issue.

After finishing YOU WERE THERE TOO, readers most likely will be left with some lingering questions. While an explanation is eventually provided for Oliver’s dreams, there is no reasoning given for their romantic elements or why Mia also has these dreams. Also, would Harrison really have been so oblivious to the relationship developing between Mia and Oliver, including their trip out of town?

The publisher’s description suggests that the novel will focus on how different life can be based on the choices people make --- the concepts of fate and what-ifs. But that issue is not really addressed; instead, the tale at the heart of the book is a love story.

Expectations may play a role in how readers respond to YOU WERE THERE TOO. It has a unique premise, but some will find the resolution less than satisfying. The ending is unnecessarily and unexpectedly sad, and may not sit well with those expecting a different kind of story.

Reviewed by on January 17, 2020

You Were There Too
by Colleen Oakley

  • Publication Date: January 7, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • ISBN-10: 1984806467
  • ISBN-13: 9781984806468