Every Time You Go Away
by Harbison, Beth

Returning to the beach house where her husband died suddenly years earlier, Willa is overwhelmed by memories and reaches out to her son and friends to reconnect and heal. By the best-selling author of If I Could Turn Back Time.

BETH HARBISON is The New York Times bestselling author of One Less Problem Without You; If I Could Turn Back Time; Driving with the Top Down; Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger; When In Doubt, Add Butter; Always Something There To Remind Me; Thin, Rich, Pretty; Hope In A Jar; Secrets of a Shoe Addict; andShoe Addicts Anonymous. She grew up in Potomac, Maryland, outside Washington, DC, and now shares her time between that suburb, New York City, and a quiet home on the eastern shore.

Three years have passed and still Willa mourns the sudden death of her husband, Ben. He died while working on their beach house in Ocean City, Maryland, leaving Willa to care for their teenage son, Jamie. Willa supports herself and Jamie on her salary, but selling the beach house would give her some much-needed financial security. Once she arrives in Ocean City to pack up and sell the beloved house, she is terrified to confront the decades of happy memories that were shared there. She isn't surprised to find that the house needs a few repairs, and the tedium of patching, painting, and packing helps calm some of the emotional chaos. But Ben's presence seems closer than ever in the old house . . . maybe too close. A heartwarming story about love transcending time and space, Harbison's (One Less Problem without You, 2016) latest will appeal to fans of Sarah Healy and Nancy Thayer. Drenching readers in Willa's salt- and sun-soaked memories, Harbison avoids melodrama, instead tempering tragedy with wry humor, heartfelt introspection, and an unexpected romance. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

A benign ghost story in which a young widow is consoled (and prodded) by the spirit of her late husband. Willa Bennett's husband, Ben, succumbed to a rare heart condition at the age of 36. Three years have passed, and Willa, a schoolteacher who lives with her 17-year-old son, Jamie, in suburban Maryland, hasn't really moved on. What's more, she worries that while wallowing in her own grief, she has failed to provide Jamie with the support he needs. In the interest of jump-starting her life, Willa decides to fix up and sell the family beach house in Ocean City, which happens to be where Ben died. She enlists her best friend, Kristin, to help out; Jamie eventually joins them, as does Kristin's daughter, Kelsey. Ben shows up too, but in ghostly form, visible only to Willa. While assuring her of his undying love, he also tries to persuade her to carry on without him—even to the point of finding a new love. Harbison (If I Could Turn Back Time, 2016, etc.) alternates between Willa's story and Jamie's. She proves adept at plumbing the adolescent psyche: Jamie is an appealing, authentic character. Harbison's writing, meanwhile, is relaxed and conversational, enlivened with the occasional pop-culture reference ("We had been a happy family…we were the Cleavers, the Petries, the Flintstones without the rocks"). The narrative feels a little padded—apart from Ben's ghostly visitations, nothing much happens until the very end. By that time, the reader has a pretty good idea how things will play out. This is pathos light; a number of scenes—including Kristin's walking in on Willa chatting with her deceased husband—are played for laughs. Nothing unexpected or particularly original in this mild novel, but it's a pleasant, sometimes-comforting read. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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