Almost Missed You
"Almost Missed You is a skillful, insightful debut: a deft exploration of the mysteries of marriage, the price we pay for our secrets, and just how easy it is to make the worst choices imaginable." —Chris Bohjalian, New York Times bestselling author of The Sandcastle Girls and Midwives
"Almost Missed You is an emotional powerhouse of a novel." —Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of A Sudden Light and The Art of Racing in the Rain
"In Almost Missed You, debut author Jessica Strawser meticulously weaves together a kidnapped child, friends in turmoil, and a Craigslist ad into a tangled web of secrets, lies, and unexpected alliances. This heart-breaking page-turner will make you question how well you really know everyone you hold dear." — Amy Sue Nathan, author of The Glass Wives
"Jessica Strawser has expertly woven a tale of a marriage in crisis with elements of daring, danger, mystery, and secrets that will surprise and delight you...Glorious!" — Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars in the Heavens
"Jessica Strawser writes from the heart." —New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline
"Almost Missed You is compelling fiction from a brave new voice." —Bestselling author Sophie Littlefield
Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.
So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.
Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.
As the suspenseful events unfold through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Jessica Strawser's Almost Missed You is a page turning story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.
Praise For Almost Missed You: A Novel…
"A taut psychological thriller... Strawser’s imaginative story is a three-pronged domestic drama that rivets the reader, explores the vagaries of fate, touches on politics, PTSD and pregnancy, and leaves the reader breathless." -- Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Fans of smart women's fiction mixed with a fast-paced plot should not miss this startling first novel." —Library Journal
"Strawser's exploration of marriage, it's expectations, and motherhood are spot-on, making for an absorbing read." —Publishers Weekly
"A book worth losing sleep over, this novel takes readers on a winding emotional journey that delves into the complexity of human relationships, guilt and forgiveness. Told from alternating voices, the layers of the story are woven together chapter by chapter, slowly coming together like the pieces of a puzzle to reveal the bigger picture." —RT Book Reviews
"Once in a great while, along comes a novel that defies the odds, a true mystery that bars no holds and plays no tricks, leaving the reader both deeply moved and thoroughly astonished. Almost Missed You is just such a book, a debut that asks if we can ever really know another human being, by a writer’s writer with talent to spare. You may not have heard of Jessica Strawser today, but by tomorrow, everyone’s going to be talking about her and about this story." — Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean
"Almost Missed You is a skillful, insightful debut: a deft exploration of the mysteries of marriage, the price we pay for our secrets, and just how easy it is to make the worst choices imaginable." — Chris Bohjalian, New York Times bestselling author of The Sandcastle Girls and Midwives
“Almost Missed You is an emotional powerhouse of a novel, filled with complex relationships and difficult choices, the secrets we keep, and the lies we tell to those we love while hoping to shield them from harm. Strawser’s tale of guilt, blame, redemption, and forgiveness is a must read for anyone who enjoys a well-told, compelling exploration of the human heart.” —Garth Stein New York Times best selling author of A Sudden Light and The Art of Racing in the Rain
"Almost Missed You is the sensational debut novel by the gifted Jessica Strawser who has expertly woven a tale of a marriage in crisis with elements of daring, danger, mystery and secrets that will surprise and delight you. You will revel in the triangle of Violet and Finn, the perfect couple until they weren't, and Caitlin, Finn's best friend, who is pulled into the drama while hiding a secret of her own. This is a rich read which will keep you turning pages long into the night. Glorious!" — Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars in the Heavens
"Taut, emotional, satisfies with its gripping blend of painful secrets and fateful connections." — National Book Award and PEN USA finalist Deb Caletti
"Jessica Strawser writes from the heart." — New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline
"Jessica Strawser’s richly textured debut novel never lets the reader forget that love is a complex equation, in which attraction and affection are balanced by the cost of forgiveness, the obligation of friendship, and the pain of loss. Compelling fiction from a brave new voice." — Bestselling author Sophie Littlefield
"A thought-provoking debut about the true cost of emotional stress fractures and the jolts that finally crack them open. Strawser’s novel is layered with secrets, and will stay with you long after you finish reading." — Therese Walsh, author of The Moon Sisters
"Jessica Strawser hits all the right notes in her memorable debut. With twists big and small, the story is at turns heart-rending, unexpected, and delightfully devious. ALMOST MISSED YOU will give book clubs plenty to argue about, and the reader much to contemplate." — Michelle Gable, New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment and I'll See You in Paris
"In ALMOST MISSED YOU, debut author Jessica Strawser meticulously weaves together a kidnapped child, friends in turmoil, and a Craigslist ad into a tangled web of secrets, lies, and unexpected alliances. This heart-breaking page-turner will make you question how well you really know everyone you hold dear." — Amy Sue Nathan, author of The Glass Wives
"Almost Missed You is a rare sort of a book, one part page-turner, one part love song to motherhood, and one part examination of the things we owe each other in friendship. It is by turns tender, sharp, and thoughtful, and always impossible to put down. Book clubs will love this tale of friendship, marriage, and the things we do for love." — Barbara O'Neal, author of How to Bake a Perfect Life
St. Martin's Press, 9781250107602, 320pp.
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. We seem to put a lot of emphasis on the stories of how couples meet—husbands and wives find themselves fielding this question even after they’ve been together for most of their lives. Why do you think that is?
2. At pivotal moments, Violet and Finn think similar thoughts, but in different contexts. In Chapters 1 and 13, they separately reflect on their odds of getting together, and express that they can’t believe their luck. In Chapters 17 and 18, both feel that they have “never been so sure”—and “never been so wrong.” How do these echoes serve to highlight how well matched and/ or mismatched they are?
3. Caitlin and Finn have, by most accounts, a platonic friendship—something many people consider rare or even impossible. In what ways is their relationship meaningful? In what ways is it unhealthy? Do you think there may have been more to it than was ever revealed on the page?
4. Do you sympathize with Caitlin’s position, as the story unfolds, or do you find her behavior inexcusable under any circumstances?
5. In what ways is Violet complacent in the events leading up to Finn’s ultimate disappearance with Bear? Do you feel she isn’t complacent at all?
6. Violet and Finn are both orphans by the time they meet. How does that affect their emotional attachments, separately and together?
7. Gram is the only one remaining at Violet’s side as certain hard truths come to light, and she serves as both a sounding board and a mirror. Do you find her assessments of Violet accurate? How is Gram right about her, and how might she be wrong?
8. Finn cannot accept the forgiveness of Maribel’s family because he cannot forgive himself. Can you relate to this point of view? Do you think he ultimately would have been any better off if he’d kept in contact with the Bransons?
9. Do you imagine that if Finn had never met Maribel, he and Violet would have had a happily-ever-after relationship?
10. Caitlin seems sure that Maribel was not “the one” for Finn, but one of multiple suitable matches. Violet seemed equally sure that Finn was “the one” for her— until she wasn’t. Do you think the concept of “the one” is hopeful, or damaging? Do you believe in an “only and forever” kind of love?
11. Did George ultimately surprise you, or were his reactions in some ways inevitable?
12. Do you think Caitlin and George get off too easily, or do you imagine they privately pay a higher price than others may be aware of?
13. What was the true role of fate in the story? Were there pivotal “almost” moments and near-misses that you didn’t fully absorb the impact of until they’d passed?
14. What do you make of the novel’s final encounter? What do you imagine the future holds for this family?
15. In our own missed connections, are we better off not knowing what might have been?