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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 fiancé, 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
“A heartwarming story of personal growth and the power of nostalgia . . . Fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Emily Giffin should enjoy this warm and compassionate novel.”—Booklist
Praise for Sarah Jio
“Sarah Jio’s delightful and uplifting novel is guaranteed to melt even the toughest cynic and deserves a top rating of five stars (plus the moon).”—Historical Novels Review
“A tribute to family and forgiveness.”—Booklist
“Jio explores the degree to which time and distance give comfort to those who have experienced loss [with] a depth of feeling in her writing.”—Publishers Weekly
“Jio has become one of the most-read women in America.”—Woman’s World
“Compelling . . . an intoxicating blend of mystery, history, and romance.”—Real Simple
“Ingenious . . . imaginative.”—The Seattle Times
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
Always in your heart ❤️
Do you ever truly stop loving your first love? Will there always be a part of them in your heart that you keep forever no matter what happens?
Always was an emotional novel, filled with equal parts heartbreak, joy, and hope. It follows the story of Kailey, who due to mysterious circumstances nearly a decade ago, lost the love of her life, Cade. After mourning that loss for years, she has finally opened herself up again to the possibility of happily ever after, and is engaged to be married to Ryan. She is happy and appears to have everything she has ever wanted both professionally and personally. All of this gets turned upside down, however, when Cade, now homeless and clearly in need of help, resurfaces suddenly.
The story is woven together by alternating between chapters in the past and the present. Though it is an effective way to tie our main characters together, I did find the timeline slightly confusing and did have to refer back to the beginning of the chapters to get the dates straight. I enjoyed many of the secondary characters as much as I did Kailey and Cade. Tracy and Jan are excellent friends to Kailey and support her immensely as she struggles to face her past and present. Tracy especially, wins the BFF award, for her unwavering honesty, even though it's not what Kailey wants to hear, but what she knows will make her best friend happiest in the end.
I loved seeing the relationship between Kailey and Cade evolve and blossom. Yes, there is an instant chemistry, but they also connect on a genuinely deeper level. I had a smile on my face reading almost all of the chapters in the past. This, however, only made it more heartbreaking reading the chapters in the present. You mourn the relationship right along with Kailey and the mystery of what happened to Cade, kept me from being able to put this book down.
I did feel that the resolution was abrupt and there are a few loose ends that don't quite line up.
I thought for sure James or Alexis had some skeletons in their closet (more than what was revealed) and I felt James' sudden change of heart and offering to help was out of character. His willingness to give Cade financially everything he was due was a little too convenient, though it did allow our characters to have their HEA. Another issue I had was what really happened to Cade? Was he attacked as he tried to walk away with his homeless friend, Ivan? Who checked/signed him out of the hospital? Was there truly no one who would look for him, especially in those early days? It doesn't seem possible that he could fall off the face of the earth so easily.
Ryan. Oh, poor amazingly woderful Ryan. I felt so terrible for him throughout the book. He was beyond understanding and I felt Kailey really disrespected him by not telling him the truth about Cade from the start. His toast at their engagement party made me swoon. Seriously, even though I was rooting for Cade, I still wanted Ryan to have some kind of happy ending too. I did not believe that Kailey truly loved Ryan, however, because he even commented several times that she had never opened herself up fully to him and that there were secrets she still kept buried. Kailey even suspected him of trying to hurt Cade, which is not something you would think about someone you claim to know and love. I felt his presence at the wedding was an unnecessary kick to the gut and just left an overall bad taste in my mouth. I understand that Kailey was conflicted and going through an emotional upheaval, but her treatment of Ryan really was shameful.
Always overall is fairly predictable and I had no doubt how the story was going to end, but this didn't diminish my enjoyment of the story. It was an excellent and heartfelt second chance romance and left me feeling hopeful that there are things in life that can truly stay golden.
*Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley for providing this ARC free of charge*
Latest novel by Sarah Jio!
Always is the latest novel by Sarah Jio. Kailey Crain is a journalist with the Herald in Seattle, Washington in 2008. Kailey and her fiancé, Ryan are leaving a restaurant when she spots a homeless man outside. Kailey walks over to give him her leftovers, and discovers it is Cade McAllister. Cade and Kailey were very much in love and she had just discovered she was pregnant when he disappeared. Kailey has not heard from him since early August of 1998. Cade had co-owned Element Records with his best friend, James. Cade’s Aunt Fay had lent them the money to start the company. But, the business relationship between Cade and James started to deteriorate rapidly when James wanted to take the company in a different direction. Kailey is shocked to find Cade in such a state. She slowly wins his trust and gets him to a doctor. It turns out that Cade suffered a TBI (traumatic brain injury) which has left him in a state of confusion (has Swiss cheese memory). The doctor recommends a new program for Cade that will help him recover and get back the skills he has lost. Over time, he might regain his memory. Cade re-entering her life creates a dilemma for Kailey. She thought she had moved on from Cade, but seeing him has brought all the feelings back to the surface. Kailey, though, is also in love with Ryan. Kailey needs to make a choice. Which man has captured Kailey’s heart?
I look forward to Sarah Jio’s new book every year. But I did find Always to be a disappointment. I found Always to be a cliché romance novel. It is nicely written and had a good pace (for the most part). The story is somewhat intriguing (especially in the beginning), but then it turns into a predictable romance novel. There are some interesting music references in the book based on Cade’s love of music. I did find the characters to be a little flat (one-dimensional). I give Always 3 out of 5 stars (there are readers who will enjoy it). It is easy to figure out what happened to Cade in 1998. I was a little disappointed that Ms. Jio finishes the book with unanswered questions. The reader never finds out how Cade survived the ten years on the street especially with his injuries. There are areas that will have you shouting at Kailey. Cade just enters the program and Kailey is the only person he knows. He counts on her to visit him. But, Kailey goes on a vacation to Cabo with Ryan. Is this the best time for a romantic trip to Mexico? Does she really think Cade will handle not seeing her? Another moment that was odd (and had me shaking my head with disbelief) is when Kailey finally tracks down Cade (not the first night she sees him outside the restaurant). Instead of taking him somewhere to get immediate assistance, she takes off to visit James. If you had been hunting for this man, would you just leave him again? Kailey had no idea if she would be able to locate him once again. I wish less time had been devoted to Kailey thinking about Cade (how he looked, his charm, etc.). It reminded me of the Harlequin romance novels I read as a teenager. Always was not up to Sarah Jio’s normal standards (like The Violets of March or Blackberry Winter). I will, of course, order Ms. Jio’s next book. Always could have been an off novel for her.
Will Pull At Your Heartstrings
Always by Sarah Jio is a very emotional book, the story will pull at your heartstrings. I can't imagine being put in Kailey's position. To lose the love of your life suddenly, without any warning, and then to find him many years later as a homeless man. How to deal with Cade while still being with her kind and caring future husband, Ryan, would be such a difficult situation to be in. It's amazing how understanding Ryan is of the increasingly more time Kailey spends helping Cade. I don't want to give anything away, but you'll feel for everyone involved, especially Kailey and the heart wrenching decisions she has to make regarding the rest of her life. I really enjoyed this book, it drew me in and I looked forward to reading it during all of my free moments.