Monday, 29 August 2016

Miss You by Kate Eberlen @KateEberlen

Tess and Gus are meant to be. They just haven't met properly yet. And perhaps they never will . . .
Today is the first day of the rest of your life is the motto on a plate in the kitchen at home, and Tess can't get it out of her head, even though she's in Florence for a final, idyllic holiday before university. Her life is about to change forever - but not in the way she expects.
Gus and his parents are also on holiday in Florence. Their lives have already changed suddenly and dramatically. Gus tries to be a dutiful son, but longs to escape and discover what sort of person he is going to be.
For one day, the paths of an eighteen-year-old girl and boy criss-cross before they each return to England.
Over the course of the next sixteen years, life and love will offer them very different challenges. Separated by distance and fate, there's no way the two of them are ever going to meet each other properly . . . or is there?

Miss You by Kate Eberlen was published by Mantle / Pan Macmillan in hardback on 11 August 2016 and is the author's debut novel.

Oh my goodness! Kate Eberlen swept me up, introduced me to Tess and Gus, involved me in every aspect of their lives, made me love them, had me crying with them and left me bereft as I closed the book and left them behind.

It's been a long time since I fell so in love with two lead characters. Quite often I'll be fond of one character whilst feeling a little bit meh about the other, but Tess and Gus are both divine. I adore them.

We meet Tess and Gus in Florence in 1997, they are there, separately, on holiday. Tess is interrailing with her best friend whilst Gus is, not very enthusiastically, accompanying his parents. The reader meets them and they briefly meet each other.
Tess has achieved the grades that she needs to go to university and Gus is about to begin his medical training, both of them are apprehensive, but determined for their future. Gus desperately wants to break away from parents that are grief stricken whilst Tess is determined to leave behind the small town that does nothing to inspire her and to live the dream in London.

Tess has spent years gazing at a colourful plate hanging in the kitchen at home; a cheap souvenir from Tenerife, it has the words "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" written across it ... and that day in Florence, really is the first day of lives that neither of them expected.

The reader then accompanies Tess and Gus as they live out the next sixteen years of their lives. The chapters are narrated alternately and this could almost be two books in one, except for the very subtle and gentle overlapping that is almost, just almost missed, but essentially binds both parts together to create what I am sure is going to be one of my top books of the year.

Kate Eberlen deals with serious issues, her characters face some of the most challenging things that life can throw at them. She does it so well, she's created not just our two leads but a cast of fully-formed supporting characters who each play an integral part in the story. From Tess's mother, to Gus's brother, from Dolly to Nash .... and the youngsters: Hope and Flora and Bella. Every single one of them are vibrant, not just bit-players but characters who are as much loved as Tess and Gus.

Miss You is a truly wonderful story, an absolute joy to read. It's so cleverly structured and whilst it deals with themes that include terminal illness, mental health, grief and loss, it is also full of sparkling wit and evocative locations. London city stars and Italy takes equal billing, both brought to life; the hustle, the bustle, the culture, the people.

I have already bought copies of Miss You for friends, I will buy more. I have already told every person that I've met since I finished reading it that they really MUST READ IT. I will continue to do so.

I adored Miss You.  Adored. Every. Single. Page

Huge thanks to the publisher who sent my copy of Miss You for review.

Kate Eberlen grew up in a small town thirty miles from London and spent her childhood reading books and longing to escape. After studying Classics at Oxford University, she had lots of different jobs before training to teach English as a Foreign Language with a view to spending more time in Italy, a country she loves. Kate is married and has one son.

Visit her website at

Follow her on Twitter @KateEberlen


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