Dutton Adult|March 19, 2013|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-525-95348-7
In Six Years, a masterpiece of modern suspense, Harlan Coben explores the depth and passion of lost love and the secrets and lies at its heart.
Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd.
But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jakes comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for almost two decades, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life, a time he has never gotten over is turned completed inside out.
As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found, or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart, who lied to him, soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on a carefully constructed fiction.
Jake Fisher is sitting in a church pew watching, Natalie, the only woman he has ever loved, marry another man – Todd. As Jake sat and watched the ceremony he thought back on the good times that he and Natalie had shared. Like how after making love she would put on his blue dress shirt and how she’d pick up her sketch pad and begin drawing him while he read the newspaper at breakfast. He was beginning to wonder why had had even come to this wedding as he felt: “two hands reach into his chest, grab his brittle heart on either side, and snapped it in two.”
When the best man brought out the rings that was enough for, Jake. As quietly as he could he left the church. After a few moments out in the sun he heard, from behind the chapel doors, cheers and applause. Jake headed for the back of the church when he heard a voice say: “Hello, Jake.” It was, Natalie. Jake congratulated her and she showed him her wedding ring and told him she couldn’t believe he was there. Jake told her that still loved her and Natalie said she knew that but told him it was over and he needed to move on. Natalie stood and stared at Jake saying: “Promise me you’ll leave us alone, promise me you won’t follow us or call or even e-mail. Promise me, Jake. Promise you’ll leave us alone.” What could, Jake say but “okay, I promise.” Without another word, Natalie walked away. Jake told himself he would leave her alone, he would keep his promise. For six years.
Six years later sitting in his office at the university, Jake saw a newsfeed come across his computer screen. When he saw the photo of the man and his name, he managed to hold in a gasp as he had one of his political science students sitting with him. The photo was of Todd Sanderson and it was his obituary. Natalie’s husband had died. Todd’s age was listed as 42 and, Jake knew that Natalie was 34. He hadn’t realized there was that large of a gap between their ages. The obituary went on to say the funeral would be Sunday in Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina and that Mr. Sanderson was survived by his wife and two children. Jake thought about what he should do, after all he did promise to leave her alone. After staring out the window for a while watching the students on the commons, he returned to his computer and booked a flight for Savannah.
Jakes arrives at the funeral and quietly enters the chapel as the service had already begun. He stood at the back with some other people as no seats were left. He kept craning his neck toward the front to try and catch a glimpse of Natalie but there were just too many people. He slipped back out the door to wait and watch the people exiting thinking that would be his best shot at seeing Natalie. Finally the chapel doors open and the coffin is carried out by the pallbearers and behind that comes the widow wearing a big black hat holding the hand of a little girl. Jake is stunned, the widow is NOT Natalie!
Six Years is a rollercoaster ride of thrills and suspense galore. With each chapter you are left dumbfounded and just can’t figure out the story at all. I kept waiting for my “aha” moment when I’d have it solved but it never came. Mr. Coben kept me guessing and in suspense right to the very end. What a well-written spellbinding book. I definitely will recommend this to everyone and anyone. Way to go, Mr. Coben!!