October 19, 2014

Since You've Been Gone - Anouska Knight

Since You've Been Gone book cover
Since You've Been Gone by Anouska Knight
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks Harlequin!) || e-galley
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

In one tragic moment, Holly Jefferson s life as she knows it changes for ever. Now to the external world, at least she s finally getting back on her feet, running her business, Cake. Then she meets Ciaran Argyll.

His rich and charmed life feels a million miles from her own. However, there s more to Ciaran than the superficial world that surrounds him, and he too is wrestling with his own ghosts. Will Holly find the missing ingredient that allows her to live again and embrace an unknown and unexpected tomorrow? (from Goodreads)

In many ways, Since You’ve Been Gone reminds me a lot of P.S. I Love You. Both novels are about a main character named Holly whose husband has passed away, and the majority of the story focuses on how they move on with their lives after his death. However, Since You’ve Been Gone is very different from the other… and that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

I’ll warn you right away, however, that the beginning of Since You’ve Been Gone was a teensy bit slow and also a tad confusing. I’m not sure if it was because I started it right after another novel, or if it really reads that way, but I figure that it’s important to tell you guys when this happens so you can consider yourselves forewarned.

Holly Jefferson is our heroine, and I really liked her! She’s a baker, and runs a shop called Cake with her friend Jesse, where they create baked goods that sound visually appealing and happen to be delicious. She’s also one of those girls whose more comfortable in jeans and pullovers, content to wander the woods, sit at home and wear flats everywhere. Her love for others is fierce and strong, and her loyalty and dedication is pretty admirable. 

At the start of the novel, she’s still suffering from sadness over losing her husband Charlie, even though it’s been years. Though her friends and her family did their best to encourage her to embrace living again, Holly was unwilling to let go of the memories and dreams she had of her husband. She was pretty much stagnant in her life, refusing any change… until Ciaran shows up.

Clearly, Since You’ve Been Gone is, primarily, a romance novel. While there are other aspects of Holly’s life, as mentioned, this is the one that receives the most attention here. And, the thing is, it totally worked! The beginnings were a bit suspect, I’ll admit, since I thought the two people involved – Holly & Ciaran – met and interacted under dramatic circumstances. Plus, there was the danger of the story feeling fairly unbelievable as Ciaran is a rich guy, and Holly is just a regular girl. Their love story may have felt like I was watching a movie play out before my eyes, but I still felt like there was real emotion there too.

Ciaran is a great love interest for Holly, and not just because he’s handsome, generous and incredibly clever (and okay, he could be funny too). The biggest draw, for me, was that he respected Holly’s love for her deceased husband and never tried to ask her to forget him. He was the catalyst for Holly moving on with her life, sure, but he also never made it seem like he was trying to erase her past. He wasn’t selfish about her affections, and I absolutely adored that about him. (Plus, he had a Scottish accent, so that’s another bonus for him!)

Since You’ve Been Gone is sprinkled with strong secondary characters, including Holly’s friend Jesse, her sister Martha, brother-in-law Robert, Ciaran’s father Fergal and a few more. It also has a story that kept me turning the pages, wanting to see what crazy shenanigans would occur, what Ciaran would do next, or how Holly would choose to respond. I love that it’s the kind of story that made me laugh, made me tear up and made me shake my head good-naturedly!

Overall, in spite of the slow start, Since You’ve Been Gone wound up being pretty good. There was a good bit of drama, balanced out by a couple of quiet, emotional moments. And, of course, it was impossible not to enjoy the crazy cast of characters in all their glory! Basically, I just wound up liking this a whole lot.


  1. Great review! This books sounds so cute! And I love cake! I will have to read this one.

  2. Sounds really cute! I'm adding this to my TBR list!


Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)