My first thought after I finished Come Away with Me by Karma Brown was, “I wish I belonged to a book club so I would have people to discuss this book with.” I also thought, “I wish I hadn’t read it so I could read it with fresh eyes all over again.” That was after I took a great big breath and wiped the tears from my face.
It was that good. This is how I’m starting my review. I’m telling you it’s good and that you must read it. Now. I could stop right here and leave it at that, but then I know you’ll have questions. Like What do I mean? And Why did I love it so much? Or What makes it special?
So I’ll keep writing. I’ll answer your questions. But first, I must disclose that I know the author. I’ve known her since before she wrote this book and when she had the idea for this one. I heard about her writing experience, and getting up in the early morning to get her word count in. I was there when she found out it would be published and the journey to this gorgeous cover.
And yet I didn’t know what to expect.
I asked Karma if I could read her freshman novel because I like to support my friends and new authors. Luckily for me it is absolutely and indubitably wonderful. Otherwise I could have put myself in a rather awkward situation.
Come Away with Me is a story about life’s journeys. Part glorious travelogue and part tale of love, despair, and repair, this heart-rending and heart-warming novel is beautifully painful.
One minute, Tegan Lawson has everything she could hope for: an adoring husband, Gabe, and a baby on the way. The next, a patch of black ice causes a devastating accident that will change her life in ways she never could have imagined.
Tegan is consumed by grief, not to mention her anger toward Gabe, who was driving on the night of the crash. But just when she thinks she’s hit rock bottom, Gabe reminds her of their Jar of Spontaneity, a collection of their dream destinations and experiences, and so begins an adventure of a lifetime.
From the bustling markets of Thailand to the flavors of Italy to the ocean waves in Hawaii, Tegan and Gabe embark on a journey to escape the tragedy and search for forgiveness. But they soon learn that grief follows you no matter how far away you run, and that acceptance comes when you least expect it.
From the very first page we’re drawn into Tegan and Gabe’s great love and even greater sadness. Some authors are great with dialogue, some with characters, others with scenic descriptions. Karma can do them all. Really well. This novel is an immersive experience—sure the skillful writing moves us along, but it also holds us in those moments so we can savour them. The novel is full of surprises, and if you read carefully, you’ll follow the carefully laid trail of breadcrumbs. But if you’re consuming Karma’s writing greedily, you’ll relish in the surprising twist at the end.
Reminiscent of Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Come Away with Me is so much better. Even though it’s fiction, there are elements based on Karma’s life—she told me that Gabe is the fanfic version of her husband and now I have a crush on both of them—and yet this book lacks the whiny pretension and boring bits of Gilbert’s bestseller. Readers looking for their romance and adventure fix should crack this spine instead.
Delicately wrought, gorgeously written, and populated by real people, Come Away with Me is the perfect romantic interlude as we head into fall. I’d say save it for snuggling up on a rainy day, but then that wouldn’t be fair. I don’t think you should keep it to the side. I think you should read it right now. It’s perfect and isn’t one that will soon be forgotten.
Believe you me, Karma Brown is one to watch on the Women’s fiction scene, and I’m not just saying that because I love her. Look out Jennifer Weiner. She’s coming after you.
Unputdownable Factor: 10/10
Recommend Factor: It goes to 11
Just because I NEED you to read this book, I’m giving away two copies. Enter below: