Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison
I've finished Every Time You Go Away and I'm still not sure what I think. I'm not convinced I loved this book. I get the point, but I think it comes down to how much you believe about ghosts.
Time stopped when Willa learned her husband had died of an unknown heart condition. Now a widow, the now 30-something has practically ignored her son as he grew from boy to teen. It's hard to be a parent when grief consumes you.
Over the years, the one thing Willa couldn't do was return to the family beach house in Maryland. It's where her husband died unexpectedly. She's dreaded returning there, but the time has come that she must return to get the house emptied and put it on the market.
Willa arrives as ready as she can be to clear the home and ready it for a sale. Other than her dog, she's alone. When she spies a young boy on the beach all by himself, Willa's nerves are shaken. He looked just like her son and husband did at that age. Inside the beach house isn't any better. Her dog is acting up. Before long, her deceased husband appears to her.
Could it just be memories and her mind playing tricks or is Ben really there? Willa does the only thing she can and starts talking back. Still not convinced she's sane, Willa does what everyone needs to get past the grief. She gets her son, her best friend, and her best friend's daughter to come to the beach home to ready it for one last goodbye.
I believe in ghosts. I really do. I don't believe in ghosts that easily appear and hold full conversations. I had a hard time with that part of the book. Ghosts are there to be sensed. There may be a scent or a cold spot, but a ghost you can see, talk to, and even go outside with was a little odd to me. It had me wondering if there would be a moment in the book when you'd learn it was all a dream. You have to read to find out the truth.
The book's message of love, loss, and the stages of grief was very true. In the end, I read every page, but I can't say I loved the book. I really only ever liked it.