I was lucky enough to be part of the hardback launch celebrations for Before You Go by Clare Swatman when I had an extract from the book that you can read here.
Out in paperback on July 27th 2017, Before You Go is published by Pan MacMillan and is available for purchase through all good book sellers and the publisher links here.
Before You Go
When Zoe’s husband Ed dies, her world caves in. But what if Zoe can get Ed back?
You find your soulmate . . .
Some people stare love in the face for years before they find it. Zoe and Ed fumbled their way into adulthood, both on different paths – but always in the same direction. Years later, having navigated dead-end jobs and chaotic house shares, romance finally blossoms. Their future together looks set . . .
Then the unthinkable happens.
One morning, on his way to work, Ed is knocked off his bike and dies. Now Zoe must find a way to survive. But she’s not ready to let go of the memories. How can she forget all of the happy times, their first kiss, everything they’d built together? Zoe decides she has to tell Ed all the things she never said.
Now it’s too late. Or is it?
My Review of Before You Go
A bang on the head after Ed’s funeral leads Zoe to hope she might be able to change history – but can she?
Oh dear. My tears started on page 9 of Before You Go by Clare Swatman and that was pretty much it until the sobs at the final few pages. Admittedly there was some respite when I laughed along with Zoe and Ed too, but on the whole, Before You Go grasped my heart in a fist of emotion and didn’t let it go for the entire read. I’m not sure whether it’s because my own husband has had two life threatening illnesses in the last three years and the thought of losing him has been devastating, but this book held such a personal resonance for me that I adored every word.
The plot structure is so clever. Certainly a reader has to suspend their disbelief that it could happen, but that doesn’t matter a bit. Beginning with Ed’s funeral in the prologue, the narrative moves from when he and Zoe first met twenty years before to the present. I had several theories as to how the story might resolve itself and found the end of the book very satisfying but I’m not going to say more as I don’t want to spoil the read.
I loved both Zoe and Ed as well as the more minor characters, but it is the intimate study of a relationship that Clare Swatman has depicted to beautifully. She has crept under the skin of real people and understood their frailties so that it is impossible not to be swept along in the story. I simply put my life on hold to read the entire book in one sitting, so emotional was its appeal to me.
I found Clare Swatman’s style completely effortless to read because she writes so convincingly, so that it wasn’t as if I was reading a book, more observing two people I really cared about. I especially enjoyed the anchoring of events through the references to contemporary music so that there was a realism to the story. I loved the messages behind the text too. It really made me grateful for what I have and determined to make sure those I love know about how I feel on a regular basis. In this respect I’d even go so far as to say Before You Go is a life-changing read.
For readers looking for huge emotion, an absorbing story and a book that will stay with them long after they have read it they should look no further than Clare Swatman’s Before You Go. It is quite wonderful.
About Clare Swatman
Clare Swatman is a journalist for a number of weekly women’s magazines. Clare was Features Editor for Bella and has written for Best, Woman’s Own and Real People. She writes for her local magazine as well as the travel pages for Take a Break. Clare lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two boys.
Before You Go is her first novel.