Author: Abbi Glines
Format I Read: Paperback
Genres: New Adult, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Release Date: April 7, 2015
This is the first book I've read by Abbi Glines. I've like other authors that she's typically compared to, so I figured I'd give her a try. I received a copy of When I'm Gone while I was at BEA, so it was the perfect chance to finally read one of her books. Overall, I wasn't amazed, nor was I disappointed.
When I'm Gone is actually the eleventh book in Glines' Rosemary Beach series. However, as far as I can tell, they're relatively standalone books. Unfortunately, because the book belonged in a series, I felt that I missed out on a lot of the connections and references to previous books. Glines threw a lot of characters at the reader, expecting the reader to be familiar with them. I was sadly unfamiliar with them, making the cast of characters a little overwhelming and confusing. Because of this, I would recommend reading books earlier on in the series before tackling When I'm Gone; I suspect that doing so would make the book (and the journey) much more gratifying.
For those who don't know what When I'm Gone is about:
Mase Colt-Manning has always preferred his humble life as a Texas rancher to his birthright as the son of a legendary rock star. In fact, he rarely visits his father’s rarefied world in Rosemary Beach, especially if it means bunking at his vile half-sister Nan’s house—until one visit leads to a chance encounter with a young, gorgeous house maid who awakens him with her off-key but spirited imitation of a country music star…
Reese Ellis finally has her freedom. After escaping a lifetime of abuse from her parents and classmates for an undiagnosed learning disorder, she seizes the opportunity to be a house maid to some of the richest families in Rosemary Beach. But her job is in jeopardy when she causes an accident at the home of her most important client, Nan Dillon. When a hot, half-naked stranger with a cowboy’s swagger comes to her rescue, she’s intrigued—then afraid once he shows his own interest. Reese has never met a trustworthy man in her life. Will Mase be any different?
I really enjoyed the depth behind the characters. It was very interesting how Reese had a learning disorder and I really admire Glines for tackling such a topic. Despite today's medical advances, some people are still so ignorant about learning disorders, which leads to many children who struggle through school and life. I feel like that's a situation that isn't really discussed very often, though it's such an important one to talk about. It made the book both unique and meaningful!
Beyond her learning disorder, Reese's rocky past--both with a sexually abusive stepfather and an emotionally abusive environment--really added a layer of depth to her character. I also appreciated how Glines approached Reese's situation. I feel that so many books involving victims of abuse feature the main character jumping into the man's arms as soon as she sees his abs. Glines handled the topic in a much more mature and realistic way. Reese's attraction to and relationship with Mase progressed gradually and naturally. She started off fearful of all men, but slowly began to trust Mase (and his gender) as time went on. It all felt very real.
However, though Reese's attraction to Mase seemed believable, Mase's attraction to Reese didn't seem as believable. He fell a little too hard a little too fast for me to be fully invested. I just didn't feel convinced. However, once I got past that, the romance was very enjoyable. It was one of those books that gives you the nice bubbly feeling in your stomach--the butterflies that take flight every time Mase runs to Reese's rescue.
Overall, When I'm Gone was an enjoyable read. I look forward to trying out more of Abbi Glines' books! She's a great writer and storyteller. When I'm Gone just didn't strike the right chord with me to get 5 stars.