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Together: a Richard and Judy Book Club summer read 2018 Paperback – 5 Apr 2018
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I absolutely loved TOGETHER, a beautiful love story told backwards with a truly shocking secret at its heart (Laura Marshall)
Original, poignant and beautifully told, the novel takes a risk that pays off in spades. (S Magazine)
Every now and again, a novel comes along that is so different, so affecting and so unforgettable, that you simply must tell everyone you know to read it...you will never forget this one - for all the right reasons. (Heat magazine)
This is a beautifully written and evocative story about two lives, and their great love. (Independent online)
A must read from Julie Cohen. (Good Housekeeping)
Add Julie Cohen's Together to your reading list...prepare for a heart-breaking tale. (Vogue online)
A book club must read - one you'll definitely want to discuss when you've finished reading it. (Prima Magazine)
A clever, moving page-turner. (Woman & Home)
This beautiful book is written backwards. Intrigued? You should be, as you'll be sucked into an unforgettable read. (Fabulous Magazine, The Sun)
A taut, beguiling love-story-in-reverse that reveals just how far people will go to protect themselves from facing the truth (Elle)
Told backwards over five decades, this is the moving story of one couple's great love for each other - and the secret they are willing to do anything to protect.See all Product description
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It's big, it's twisty, it will surprise you ... and unlike many books in the Contemporary romance genre, it did not have a predictable ending.
It took me a while to get my head around the timeline hoping, and changing POVs ... BUT that is part of this book's charm and part of the hook.
Julie's writing style is excellent. As a writer myself, I know I'm reading something good when I stop analysing the text or sentence structure and just focus on the story, which I did easily.
The story starts in Maine with Robbie and Emily, the two main characters, in later life and already you're wondering how they ended up together and ended up in Maine. I've never been to Maine, or know anything about sailing - which features heavily in the story, but found there was enough detail to enlighten and entertain me without trying to 'educate' me.
There were so many unanswered questions and breadcrumbs laid out throughout the story that I just had to keep going. When things started to fall into place in the final segment, I felt an impending warmth and certainty that we would finally reach a HEA, but this was totally spun on its axis at the final twist which I absolutely did not see coming.
Julie's writing style is excellent (which you would expect, having been selected by the Richard and Judy book club.) Her characters are vibrant, and appear very real and she writes a secure sense of place. Her choice of vocabulary and dialogue are very believable.
My only criticism is that there were parts of the over-arching plot that I felt weren't resolved sufficiently. Namely, Robbie's adult relationship with William, and the reflection of the circumstances and scandal of Adam's birth (which at one point I had thought was going to be the main focus of the story rather than a side-plot.) Fix these and it would have been a definite five stars from me.
Having said all of that. If you like a solid romance with all the emotion and only a hint of what goes on behind closed doors (so you can feel confident you can recommend this to your Granny), with a story that twists and turns and one that promises to surprise you - then I highly recommend Together by Julie Cohen.
But that’s the point of book groups; and the beauty of them.
Don’t get me wrong, we all really liked Together by Julie Cohen, with some of us absolutely loving it. But for some of us it left unanswered questions.
For me all the questions were answered. In fact I am in awe at how meticulous Julie Cohen was with her plot planning of this novel. Together is a carefully crafted story; and it is because of Cohen’s expert planning that it has one almighty twist that literally took my breath away. The book is heart wrenching, bursting with beauty, depth and pathos.
Together is the love story of Robbie and Emily; an enduring love that they build their life and family around. Yet their life together is a lie.
When the novel opens it is 2016 and Robbie and Emily are in their old age. The novel then travels backwards in time, where we meet Robbie and Emily in 1990, then again in the 1970s, until we travel back to 1962 when they first meet. I know the time hopping caused some confusion for some of my book group buddies, but for me it was essential to the plot, enhancing its poignancy, ensuring I really invested in the characters. Without the beautifully planned time structure, I don’t think the twist would have worked as dramatically as it did.
I loved Robbie and Emily as characters and as much as I tried I couldn’t work out why the life they built was such a massive lie. And believe me I really tried; endlessly wracking my brain thinking of every possibility, only for me to reject them all. I’m not sure, I might of even considered the actual reason only for me to reject it a few seconds later.
I finished Together weeks ago and both Robbie and Emily are still with me. It’s the same for Lesley, the family friend that recommended I read it. Without Lesley’s recommendation I wouldn’t have suggested we read it for book group. So thank you Lesley! 🙂
Together is a novel that has heart wrenching, emotional gravitas. It is contemporary fiction at its best.
Maybe it was my own connections with certain element, such as a relatuve with dementia, a fondness for cambridge and familiarity with Coconut grove in Miami. This story will stay with me for a while and ive already recommend it to my friends
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