Before We Were Strangers
by Renee Carlino
From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.
To 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?
Whitney’s Six Star Review
A masterfully crafted novel, Before We Were Strangers is Renee Carlino’s best work yet. This book is probably my favorite of 2015 so far and deserving of more than 5 stars.
Everything about Matt and Grace’s story drew me in. Their characters are people you might live next door to and be friends with. As college students, they have a vibrancy and silliness to them which is refreshing and real. The build from friendship to love moved at a perfect pace and I enjoyed how the story moved from the present, to the past, then back to the present. I’d say the majority of the story is told from Matt’s POV but Grace has her fair share of chapters as well which helps to connect the reader to both of them.
Their break up is heart breaking and I definitely shed a few tears over the mistakes and misunderstandings of their young love. Sometimes the timing just isn’t right and that is what really happens to Matt and Grace. Luckily, 15 years later they have another chance at love if they can move beyond the pain they have caused each other.
There is no way my review can do this book justice. Every chapter is important, every word meaningful. I laughed, I cried, I shook my head in frustration… everything! Renee’s writing has a magically subtle quality to it that I always find refreshing. Yes, she mixes in some steamy moments and sexual tension but really she relies on character development and weaving a beautiful story. I highly recommend this book and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
**This is a stand alone second chance romance
About the Author
Renée 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 chocolate.