A gripping novel about the kind of love that never lets go, and the heart’s capacity to remember, from the New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter and The Violets of March Enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiance, Ryan, at one of Seattle’s chicest restaurants, Kailey Crain can’t believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a journalist and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As she and Ryan leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister. When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense–everything connected and felt right. But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what–and whom–she wants. Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she’s willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love. Praise for Always
When I read the ‘back cover” on this book, the story intrigued me and I knew I just had to read it. Although I had never heard of the author, Sarah Jio, I learned that this wasn’t her first book at all, and in fact, she had written 7 other books before this one. Now that I’ve read this one, by the way, I think I have to go back and read a few of the others.
The book shares the story of Kailey Crane, 34, a newspaper writer with a successful career, a cute new home, and engaged to the “perfect guy” named Ryan, who is a good looking guy with money. The couple is having dinner at a restaurant making plans for their upcoming wedding, and as they leave Kailey comes face to face with a homeless man. Kailey happens to connect with the man and is shocked when she realizes that he is Cade McAllister, the former love of her life.
Kailey and Cade dated back in the ’90’s and they even had matching tattoos – it was the French word for “always” – toujours – hers still remained on her shoulder. They had a future together too, Kailey and the then-famous record label owner, Cade, who loved music. How could have fallen from a successful career to this sad, thin, frail homeless man? And why did he disappear so long ago? Kailey can’t get Cade out of her mind as she remembers how they had been in love before he left. She even tried to locate him but was never able to find him.
Kailey starts searching the streets for Cade and finally finds him. She also learns that he has TBI (traumatic brain injury) and he is unable to remember his past, has no family or friends, and has lost everything he had worked for and loved. She becomes obsessed with helping get Cade the medical help he needs and wants to help get him off the streets so she puts her wedding plans and Ryan “on hold”. Kailey is torn between her past love and loyalty for Cade, and Ryan, the man she was planning to share her future with. She begins spending almost all of her time with Cade, and spends Ryan’s money to pay for Cade’s medical care and rehabilitation.
Of course, you want to know – does Kailey end up with Ryan or Cade? Kailey is caught between two lovers, but when push comes to shove she knows where her heart wants her to be, no matter what. Most of you know I don’t write spoilers so you’re going to have to read the book yourself to find out how the plot wraps up in this story. Although some of the book seemed unlikely, it still made for a great story with a satisfying end.
I also appreciated the fact that the book provides readers with a little social awareness on the issues faced by the homeless in this world. It was a good (and subtle) reminder to us to be more sensitive to their tragic lives.
Sarah Jio is the #1 international, New York Times, and USA Today bestselling author of eight novels.
She is also a longtime journalist who has contributed to Glamour, The New York Times, Redbook, Real Simple, O: The Oprah Magazine, Cooking Light, Woman’s Day, Marie Claire, Self, and many other outlets, including NPR’s Morning Edition, appearing as a commentator.
Jio lives in Seattle with her three young boys.