BEFORE WE WERE STRANGERS by Renee Carlino – Review

BWWS bannerSynopsisTo the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?
Rebecca Review-001Since reading Sweet Thing a few years ago, I have been a huge fan of Renée Carlino. I was thrilled to hear she was tackling a second chance romance and waited impatiently for months to finally read this book. Happily, it did not disappoint.  There is angst and sadness, but moments of love and true happiness. It is a beautiful story of love, loss, and second chances.

“Time passes, life goes on, places change, people change. And still I couldn’t get Grace off my mind….”

Often times it takes me around 25% of a book to truly get into the storyline. However, from the moment I started reading Matt’s story in Chapter 1, I was hooked. I love a male point of view and this is one of the better male voice’s in a Romance. A few chapters into the story, Grace begins her view and throughout the book, both are the narrators. Dual points of view are my favorite and this one is perfectly balanced. While the story begins in the present, it quickly switches to the past. The majority of the story focuses on their slow building relationship. There is nothing better than a slow burner and this one is definitely sweet torture.

“You can’t re-create the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another.”

There is quite a bit of angst, but I loved every moment. It’s never over the top or too much to enjoy the overall story. Since we know right away this is a second chance, I spent most of the time trying to figure out the moment or events that led to their 15 year separation. Of course, my prediction was correct, but the journey was the true enjoyment. My only complaint about this book is I wanted more! The majority of the story focuses on the past, and I wanted more of present events between Matt and Grace. While, that is my personal preference in second chance stories, it didn’t keep me from loving this one.

I recommend this book to any Contemporary Romance that loves moments of angst!

** Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for my advanced copy. **

four_half-stars_One Click-001BWWSfinalcover

Giveaway-001Enter HERE to win one of five signed posters.
Meet The Author-00112969_439936488_hrRenée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of romantic women’s novels. 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 chocolat




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