You know when you’re looking at someone and you can’t help but smile at how oblivious they are to their own charm? That’s what was happening to me, and it was making me feel…happy. Euphoric. Something indescribable. It was like we already knew each other, like we had met in a previous life. Memories that didn’t exist began exploding in my mind like fireworks.
Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, searching for a spark to jump-start her life and give her a sense of purpose. She’s had as many jobs as she’s had bad relationships, and now she’s feeling especially lost in her less-than-glamorous gig at a pie-and-fry joint in Los Angeles, where the uniforms are bad and the tips are even worse.
Then she collides—literally—with Adam, an intriguing, handsome, and mysterious painter. Their serendipitous meeting on the street turns into a whirlwind one-night stand that has Charlotte feeling enchanted by Adam’s spontaneity and joy for life. There’s promise in both his words and actions, but in the harsh light of morning, Adam’s tune changes, leaving Charlotte to wonder if her notorious bad luck with men is really just her own bad judgment.
Months later, a new relationship with Seth, a charming baseball player, is turning into something more meaningful, but Charlotte’s still having trouble moving past her one enthralling night with Adam. Why? When she searches for answers, she finds the situation with Adam is far more complicated than she ever imagined. Faced with the decision to write a new story with Seth or finish the one started with Adam, Charlotte embarks on a life-altering journey, one that takes her across the world and back again, bringing a lifetime’s worth of pain, joy, and wisdom.
“You’re making love sound tragic,” I said.
“No”—he shook his head—“I wouldn’t want it any other way. Tell me about us. What do we like to do?”
“Paint and sail and eat and drink. Just simple things.” “Don’t forget about sex,” he said.
“Yeah, lots of sex. Before the children were born we
"We were practically naked every second of the day.”
“I like that.”
“When they got older, we’d sneak away for weekends and leave them at my mom’s.”
“What are they like? Our children.”
“Happy. That’s all we wished for. We put our love first and it just spilled over into them and now they’re happy.”
Tears sprang from my eyes and ran down my cheeks. Isn’t that what we all hope for when it comes to our children?
His tone suddenly changed. “That’s beautiful, Char- lotte.” It was like he was waking up from the dream. I didn’t want to go back to reality yet, but I knew these fantasies were just to help Adam get his mind off things.
“I can imagine a long life with you,” he said. “I can imagine what a great wife you’d be."
I pulled my hand out of his. “The story is about you and me.” He didn’t say anything; he just nodded and then continued to stare out the window. I bent and kissed the top of his head again, and whispered, “It’s about us. Don’t take that away from me.”
“Your art, our memories, the memories people have of us...it makes us immortal.When you love someone, whether it be your family, friends, partners, whatever, it's like planting a little seedling of yourself inside of their hearts.”
I can always count on Renee Carlino to write stunning stories. Wish You Were Here is an emotional, poignant, and beautiful story of love, loss, and soul mates. This is one of those books that rocked me to my core. I started reading it, and to be honest, it didn’t’ hook me at first. The more I read, though, the more I loved it. It affected me so much towards the end, I had to leave my bed and go read on the couch so I didn’t wake my husband up with my crying.
Charlotte is in her mid-late twenties, but she still doesn’t feel like she has much direction in her life. She lives with her best friend, Helen, works as a waitress full-time, and is in school… again. This time for cosmetology, which she learns she doesn’t really have a knack for. Along with being a little lost on the career front, she also has a bad picker. Her last few boyfriends have been less than stellar. Then, one night, she meets Adam. Charlotte has never met anyone like this man. He enamors her from the start and she knows it’s only one night, but she’s never felt like this before about anyone.
One night is all Charlotte and Adam have, but it’s an unforgettable night. No matter what happens or who comes into her life the next few months, she can’t forget him….
There is so much more I want to say about this story, but I loved being surprised by certain things so I’ll keep quiet about the plot. This book, it moved me. It made me think, made me feel, and really got to me. It’s been a few days since I’ve read it, and it hasn’t left my mind. I love books that have that type of impact on me. They seem to always end up on my favorites list, as I’m sure this one will.
Adam is such a beautiful soul. He is an unforgettable character. Charlotte is one of those heroines who I wasn’t sure if I loved at the beginning. She really did change and grow though, and I ended up adoring her. I was blown away by how selfless she was.
Wish You Were Here is a story that touched my soul. Carlino’s writing is flawless. If you’re looking for an emotional read with lots of heart, don’t miss out on this book. It’s a top favorite for 2017.
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women's novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher's Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com