Friday, January 2, 2015

"somebody like you" by beth k vogt

What a book to begin 2015 with! Somebody Like You has been on my radar for a while (see this Top Ten Tuesday post from August), but it wasn't until the book began showing up on blogger after blogger's Best Books of 2014 list that I decided I needed to read it now. What a book! It just may end up on my best of 2015 list this time next year :-)

In this beautifully rendered, affecting novel, a young widow’s world is shattered when she meets her late husband’s identical twin—and finds herself caught between honoring her husband’s memory and falling in love with his reflection.

Haley’s whirlwind romance and almost three-year marriage to Sam, an army medic, ends tragically when he is killed in Afghanistan. As she grapples with widowhood and the upcoming birth of her son, her attempts to create a new life for herself are ambushed when she arrives home one evening—and finds her husband waiting for her. Did the military make an unimaginable mistake when they told her that Sam had been killed?

After a twelve-year estrangement, Stephen hopes to make things right with his brother—only to discover Sam died without revealing Stephen’s existence to Haley. As Haley and Stephen struggle to navigate their fragile relationship, they are inexorably drawn to each other. Haley is unnerved by Stephen’s uncanny resemblance to Sam, and Stephen struggles with the issue of Haley loving him as Stephen—and not as some reflection of his twin. How can Haley and Stephen honor the memory of a man whose death brought them together—and whose ghost could drive them apart?

Somebody Like You reminds us that while we can’t change the past, we have the choice—and the power through God—to change the future and start anew.

Somebody Like You is one of those rare novels that takes residence in your brain and won't let you stop thinking about it until well after you've finished reading. Though the story could easily veer into soap opera territory with the "identical twin the widow didn't know about" story line, it doesn't. (Vogt even acknowledges the soapy potential by having Stephen's friend ask him if he thinks he's living in a soap opera.) Instead, it's a very emotional, thought provoking novel.

Stephen and Haley's stutter-steps into a relationship struck me as very realistic given their circumstances, and the conflicting advice they got from friends and family just added to the realism. Though I was pretty sure I knew how the novel would turn out (and it would have been a terrible romance novel had it not turned out that way), some of the twists and turns along the way surprised and satisfied me.

It's always great to start off the year with a good novel, and Somebody Like You certainly fits the bill. I only wish it hadn't ended! 5 stars.

Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Vogt's Wish You Were Here (5 stars), Catch a Falling Star (4-1/2 stars), and A November Bride (4-1/2 stars).

Beth K. Vogt believes God's best is often behind the doors marked "Never." She's the wife of a former Air Force family physician who said she'd never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She's a mom of four who said she'd never have kids. She's a former nonfiction writer and editor who said she'd never write fiction. Beth's novels include Wish You Were Here, Catch a Falling Star, and Somebody Like You.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book myself and reviewed it because I wanted to. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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