Always With You - Andrea Hurst

Released in 2014, Always With You is a title I picked up for free through BookBub. It's probably a book I could have skipped and not missed much. Your enjoyment of this story will be based on your principles. Had this story been spun in a different manner, I would have loved it.

Set in California, Andrea Hurst's novel takes place mostly in the late 1970s. Cathy is a successful boarding house/cafe/natural products owner. Her store does well, and her cafe also brings in a number of people. It's the height of the busy season when a former friend Pam calls her and asks if she, her husband Jamie, and young daughter can stay at Cathy's house while Jamie, a talented new chef, has a few job interviews. Cathy hasn't seen Pam in years, but she agrees.

Their arrival marks the start of many issues. Cathy quickly realizes that Jamie is the hunk who helped her save a dog that had been hit by a car. Cathy's attraction to Jamie is instant, but he's married. Having him under the same roof is going to be torture. When Cathy's chef is hospitalized with appendicitis, Jamie offers to fill in, but that means they're now living and working together. Keeping their hands off each other may become impossible.

There's the general premise, and my issues start with the characters. Cathy is too nice. Pam is clearly a major bitch from the start, the kind of two-faced bitch that I hated in school and would never allow in my home. Jamie's an idiot for marrying Pam in the first place. I understand his reasons, but the emotional abuse she pulls makes me question why he felt it was better to stay in that environment for his daughter, who is also caught in the middle of her mother's emotional abuse. Once things worsened, Cathy should have kicked them to the curb, yet she never does. As a result, I never really liked the characters.

The story itself was very detailed, some times going overkill with details of the dishes they were making. I grew bored of the excessive detail regarding the foods they were serving and the ingredients they needed.

I want to avoid any spoilers, so I'll end here rather than going into how I hoped the story would go. If anyone else reads it, I'll be happy to share my feelings on what I expected in the comments.


  1. I didn't like the story because I never liked Cathy. She just couldn't step up and do the right thing: not falling in love with someone else's husband. The detail was way too much for me, not about the cooking as much as beating things to death. I tossed it in the trash instead of giving it to the library for some other poor soul to wade through. But you are right, spun a different way, I could have enjoyed it.

  2. I couldn't stand her. Had I been Cathy, I would have kicked Pam to the curb from the start. I also had really big concerns with Jamie. Granted, the men in my life (brothers, husband, and son) all have a strong sense of self, but how he kept letting Pam verbally abuse him, exposing their daughter to it, I couldn't get past that. Kill Pam off and have Jamie work through the grief with his daughter. I would have been happy had that happened!


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