He looked into his son’s face to find it pouty and dejected.
“Oh, relax,” he said, hitching Mikey up on his hip. “She’s here somewhere.”
But June wasn’t in the living room or the dining room or the downstairs bathroom or the two upstairs bathrooms or the guest room or his office. She didn’t respond when he called her name, and he didn’t see her outside when he looked from the windows.
The Truth About Ben and June is an engaging read that will have you turning the pages as fast as you can.
Love isn’t something that happens to you; it’s something you must choose every day.
From the moment Ben and June met in a hospital waiting room on New Year’s Eve, their love has seemed fated. Looking back at all the tiny, unlikely decisions that brought them together, it was easy to believe their relationship was special. But now, after several years of marriage, June is struggling as a new mom. At times, she wonders about the life she didn’t choose—what might have been if she hadn’t given up the lead role in a famous ballet to start a family. Feeling like a bad mom and more alone than ever, she writes to her deceased mother, hoping for a sign of what she should do next.
One morning, Ben wakes to the sound of his baby and quickly realizes that June is gone, along with her suitcase. As Ben attempts to piece together June’s disappearance, her new friends mention things he knows nothing about—a mysterious petition, June’s falling-out with another mom, her strange fixation on a Greek myth. The more Ben uncovers about June, the more he realizes how little he actually knows her. And now the only way to bring June home is to understand why she left.
I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I took up this book but I’m glad I did! I would say The Truth About Ben and June is more fiction with a hint of mystery than a romance. You won’t find a typical story here of two folks meeting and falling in love. As the description suggests, Ben and June are already married when the story starts. An apt reminder that although many romances end with wedding bells, that really, the wedding is just the beginning.
The story is told from alternating viewpoints. Partly from Ben, some chapters feature June’s journal entries leading up to her disappearance, and others focus on Ben and June’s backstory which serves to really set up the relationship dynamic and their history for the reader. We do get some of the classic romance moments in the flashback chapters as we watch Ben and June fall in love and become a couple.
I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say I really valued the exploration of postpartum health and issues that Alex gives us in this book. It’s a really important topic that I don’t think we talk about enough. Having a baby is hard and Alex does a great job of highlighting just how serious an issue it can be.
The other aspect I appreciated is how Ben and June both suffered as a result of societal and family expectations and obligations. Even though they were both smart, capable people, they both at times fell victim to people’s expectations for them instead of carving their own path. This idea is a hard one to write about respectfully and I think Alex nailed it.
If you are looking for a more serious and meaty story with a hint of mystery, give The Truth About Ben and June a try.
Thank you, HarperCollins Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.