Review published on July 1, 2017.
Having read and enjoyed two of Julie Cohen’s previous novels, I was so looking forward to reading Together. I freely admit that when I started reading it wasn’t quite what I was expecting and I found it confusing, but believe me when I say that those feelings soon vanished and I found this the most wonderful, heartbreakingly beautiful story.
The reason I found it confusing is because this story is told backwards. We meet Robbie and Emily in 2016 in Maine and we go right back to 1962 in Cambridge and so events that are referred to in the first, yet later, sections had a greater clarity once I read on. I found myself flipping back looking for those important bits throughout the first third or so until the book got into its stride. And when I got to the end I flipped back through the whole thing just to remind myself of certain parts.
I realise this plot device may not appeal to everybody, but it works so well. We know from the blurb that this couple have a secret, although the point is that this is a not a book about a secret but rather a book about the most amazing love between a man and a woman.
I don’t want to say any more about the plot, but what I can say is that from the first page I had a feeling it was going to be a heartbreaker of a story and I was right. The writing is beautiful and understated, yet full of emotion and passion (just what I would expect from Julie Cohen).
I had no idea what the secret would be and only worked it out just before I read it on the page. It’s a cleverly designed plot in which suddenly all made sense. And I loved Emily and Robbie – this is very much their story, with all the other characters being only supporting ones.
This is such a gorgeous story and I heartily recommend reading Together this summer.
Nicola Smith 5/5
Together by Julie Cohen
Orion 9781409171744 hbk Jul 2017
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