From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of Home Safe and The Last Time I Saw You comes a beautiful and moving novel about a man and woman, long divorced, who rediscover the power of love and family in the midst of an unthinkable crisis.
Even on their wedding day, John and Irene sensed that they were about to make a mistake. Years later, divorced, dating other people, and living in different parts of the country, they seem to have nothing in common-nothing except the most important person in each of their lives: Sadie, their spirited eighteen-year-old daughter. Feeling smothered by Irene and distanced from John, Sadie is growing more and more attached to her new boyfriend, Ron.
When tragedy strikes, Irene and John come together to support the daughter they love so dearly. What takes longer is to remember how they really feel about each other.
Elizabeth Berg has once again created characters who embody the many shades of the human spirit. Reading Berg's fiction allows us to reflect on our deepest emotions, and her gifts as a writer make Once Upon a Time, There Was You a wonderful novel about the power of love, the unshakeable bonds of family, and the beauty of second chances.
John and Irene’s marriage only lasted eight short years. They divorced when their daughter, Sadie, was 8-years-old. Irene moved away making her the prime caregiver to Sadie and John visited when he could and had Sadie every August.
Their marriage and relationship was tenuous at best. In my opinion, it failed because of Irene. She is an odd character who is deeply lonely and neither she nor John had much in common other than their beloved Sadie.
When something terrible happens to Sadie, they come together and realize that in all these years they’ve never really figured each other out or even really knew how they felt about each other.
I loved the story but found Irene a very odd person, her own worst enemy at times. She wasn’t ever happy, thought differently and perceived things differently than most people, but isn’t that what makes each of us unique? Although the story involved John, Sadie, Irene and a few friends, I felt the story focused more on Irene than anyone. At times while reading I just felt like I wanted to yell at Irene: “Okay, okay just shut-up will ya!!! Geez!!” Her incessant chatter and what I call whining was weighing heavily on my nerves. I kept thinking “why?” are John and Sadie trying so hard with Irene, she “kept herself” miserable and couldn’t seem to pull herself out of this narcissistic, lonely, complaining place she was in. The story was well-written and any author who can evoke such involvement and emotion in me definitely gets my thumbs up!!