Book Review: When I’m Gone by Emily Bleeker—and a giveaway!

When I'm GoneWhen I’m Gone
Emily Bleeker
Lake Union Publishing, March 2016
ISBN 978-1503953383
Hardcover

From the publisher—

Dear Luke,
First let me say—I love you…I didn’t want to leave you…

Luke Richardson has returned home after burying Natalie, his beloved wife of sixteen years, ready to face the hard job of raising their three children alone. But there’s something he’s not prepared for—a blue envelope with his name scrawled across the front in Natalie’s handwriting, waiting for him on the floor of their suburban Michigan home.

The letter inside, written on the first day of Natalie’s cancer treatment a year ago, turns out to be the first of many. Luke is convinced they’re genuine, but who is delivering them? As his obsession with the letters grows, Luke uncovers long-buried secrets that make him question everything he knew about his wife and their family. But the revelations also point the way toward a future where love goes on—in written words, in memories, and in the promises it’s never too late to keep.

This book has everything going for it: a heart-tugging widower, a mystery to be solved (actually, more than one although they’re not the kind you find in mystery novels, strictly speaking), family secrets to be revealed, a promise of hope for the future. There are surprises both good and not so much so and it’s clear that Natalie truly cared for her husband and children. It was—and still is—a loving family and the secrets that are revealed towards the end are maddening as well as sad. Why, then, didn’t I connect with this story as much as I should have?

When I’m Gone is beautifully written and the characters are vividly drawn but I think perhaps it was a wrong choice for me. Truthfully, there is nothing actually wrong with it and I think most other readers will really appreciate it whereas I just never was emotionally invested and that may be partially because I find the idea of these letters coming for such a long time kind of unhealthy for those who are left behind. It seems to me that the healing process is dragged out much longer than is natural and I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing. One heartfelt letter, yes; a string of them, maybe not.

When I think about the story Ms. Bleeker has given us, I’m quite sure my reaction isn’t fair but I also believe I understand it. I had five deaths to cope with in 2015 and, by the end of the year, I was continually on edge wondering what horrible thing would be happening next. Perhaps it’s too soon for me to read a tale like this one because my own emotions are still fragile. Because of that, I fully intend to read this again when I’m more receptive and I’m pretty darned sure I’m going to love it.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2016.

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Purchase Links:

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About the Author

Emily Bleeker 2Emily Bleeker is a former educator who discovered her passion for writing after introducing a writer’s workshop to her students. She soon found a whole world of characters and stories living inside of her mind. It took a battle with a rare form of cancer to give her the courage to share that amazing world with others. Emily lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and four kids. Between writing and being a mom, she attempts to learn guitar, sings along to the radio (loudly), and embraces her newfound addiction to running. Connect with her or request a Skype visit with your book club at emilybleeker.wordpress.com.

Connect with Emily:

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Follow the tour here.

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To enter the drawing for a print
copy of When I’m Gone by Emily
Bleeker, leave a comment below.
The winning name will be drawn
on Saturday evening, March 19th,
and the book will be sent out
after the end of the tour. This
giveaway is open to residents  of
the US and Canada.

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11 thoughts on “Book Review: When I’m Gone by Emily Bleeker—and a giveaway!

  1. Lelia; thanks for your wonderfully candid and heart – felt review; I am interested in reading this for several reasons: I have a hard time expressing grief and yet, I wish I could. I am a stoic. On the other hand, I do agree with you that dwelling too long on grief may have the opposite result—it becomes a journey of self-indulgence and….?
    I would love a chance to enter this giveaway.

  2. I love your review and it makes me want to read this. Plus, I live in Michigan and love to read stories set there.

  3. Pingback: Emily Bleeker, Author Of When I’m Gone, On Tour March/April 2016 | TLC Book Tours

  4. Pingback: When I’m Gone, by Emily Bleeker (@emily_bleeker) #review #TLCBookTours | Bibliotica

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