Before I Saw You by Emily Houghton

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Title: Before I Saw You
Author: Emily Houghton
Publisher: Penguin
Audience: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Alice and Alfie are strangers. But they sleep next to each other every night.
Alfie Mack has been in hospital for months recovering from an accident. A new face on the ward is about as exciting as life gets for him right now, so when someone moves into the bed next to him he’s eager to make friends. But it quickly becomes clear that seeing his neighbour’s face won’t happen any time soon.
Alice Gunnersley has been badly burned and can’t even look at herself yet, let alone allow anyone else to see her. Keeping the curtain around her bed firmly closed, it doesn’t stop Alfie trying to get to know her. And gradually, as he slowly brings Alice out of her shell, might there even be potential for more?

I didn’t think it would be possible for a book to come and make its way onto my favourites list within the first 30 pages, but Before I Saw You has proved me wrong. As soon as I opened and read the first chapter of Before I Saw You, I knew it was just the perfect book for me.

I think the characters are what pulled Before I Saw You altogether for me. My favourite characters are obviously Alice and Alfie, and I found them to be brilliant together and apart. There was no hiding of either of their emotions, and everything felt so real and representative. But I also loved all of the supporting cast and would have loved to have found out what happened to them and where their recovery took them. I found that I personally related with Alice, but that is only because I have gone through most of the same emotions as her, so it was brilliant to see it represented within a book.

I was a little dubious heading into the romance section of Before I Saw You because I was worried that it would go down the route of romance can fix any problems that you have, but Before I Saw You never did that. The romance was a bonus to them both improving within their recovery, and it didn’t become the complete focus of either of them.

The dynamics between all of the patients on the ward and their respective families was amazing, but it also showed the reality of what it is like for both the patients and their families and friends. At the beginning of the book, there is a moment that showed me how much research and effort Emily Houghton had put into the book and her characters, which made me love the book even more.

I also have to mention Emily Houghton’s writing style because she makes you feel every emotion that all characters go through, which is hard for an author to do. I also appreciated the epilogue that she included in the end, as I was a tiny bit unsatisfied with the ending until I realised that she had included that.

I can’t wait to see what Emily Houghton is going to write next because if it is anything like Before I Saw You, she is on to another winner. I cannot urge you enough to go and pick up and read Before I Saw You; it is a book that may break you but will also put you back together again.

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