Review by Veronica

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“The word hit her with physical force. She felt the ground beneath her shift as waves of emotion crashed over her one after another, relentless and unyielding. The rawness and vulnerability of his words had blindsided her. She hadn’t been prepared for it, and she found herself unravelling right there and then.”

Alice and Alfie have survived terrible accidents and are staying in a long-term care ward at St. Francis’s Hospital. Alice hasn’t said a word since she woke up in the hospital and refuses to let anyone in the ward see her. She just wants to be left alone, something Alfie doesn’t quite understand. Alfie, who is extremely outgoing and friendly, has made it his mission to get Alice to talk, which causes some friction between the two. But Alfie’s warmth and persistence soon starts to crack Alice’s wall of silence, and they form an unlikely friendship. With late-night talks and inside jokes, Alfie and Alice begin to grow closer and closer. Alfie can make Alice laugh, and Alice is someone he can truly confide in. But as their discharge dates grow closer, they will have to decide if their relationship is something they want to continue outside of the hospital, especially since they haven’t seen each other’s faces.

Before I Saw You is a beautiful, emotionally charged book that will tug at your heartstrings. Emily does a great job at focusing on this journey of healing, both physically and mentally. The emotional depth that Emily puts into this book is quite impressive. I felt like I was right there with them in that ward and there were moments in this book that had me tearing up. The cast of characters in this book were endearing and complex, with wonderful backstories. The patients in the ward were so delightful, and the bonds between them were warm, funny, and proves that it’s not blood that makes you family; it’s love. I found that the banter between the patients added some much-needed lightness to the book, which as a reader, I appreciated.

The relationship between Alfie and Alice was interesting and different. It’s not love at first sight for these two because they don’t see each other until the end of the book. I really liked how the two characters became so in tune with each other that they could tell how the other person felt by how they shifted around in their bed or by their sighs. I do wish Emily would have had included an epilogue that took place a few months or years after the last chapter. I became so invested in these characters that I wanted to know what happened to them and was sort of disappointed that the book ended more abruptly than I would have liked. 

Before I Saw You will capture your heart with its well-crafted characters and heartfelt story. Be sure to have your tissue box nearby.

I received this book for free from Simon & Schuster Canada (thanks!)  in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.