Monday 14 August 2017

Together by Julie Cohen @julie_cohen @orionbooks #GetTogether

Is this a great love story?
Or a story about great love?
You decide.
On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually would. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie's actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret - one they will do absolutely anything to protect.

Together by Julie Cohen was published by Orion on 13 July 2017.

I've been a fan of Julie Cohen's writing ever since I read Dear Thing back in 2013, her writing is heartwarming and always beautiful, and I think that Together is probably her finest book yet.

Together is Robbie and Emily's story, it is their story of why they are together, and how their togetherness has impacted on those closest to them. The opening chapter is so moving, those few pages show just how much this elderly couple love each other, it is also shocking and sets the pace for the rest of the book.

Julie Cohen has cleverly, and really quite bravely written Together back to front. The reader meets Robbie and Emily in 2016, they live together in Maine, USA, they've been together for fifty four years and their love is as strong now as it has ever been. We are then transported, slowly and surely, back through their lives, eventually ending when they meet for the very first time in 1962. It's an ingenious and interesting way to tell a story, and knowing what happened in 2016 only increases the intensity of feelings provoked for the characters.

The reader is aware that there is a huge secret that Robbie and Emily have kept for all of those years. It's something so big that it has caused a terrible rift between Emily and her family back in England. So much so that when Emily travels home to attend her mother's funeral she is shunned by the father and sister who once adored her, I defy anyone to read these scenes and not have a huge lump in their throat. Julie Cohen's ability to portray the strongest of emotions for her characters is stunning; the reader becomes totally absorbed in their lives, and can feel each stab of pain that Emily feels, as though it were their own.

Julie Cohen tackles many issues within this story with poise and elegance. There are some very dark and often disturbing themes within the plot, but at its heart, this is an epic love story. A story of two people who share a passion that is so strong that there is nothing that can stop it.

Beautifully, cleverly written, this is an epic love story that is magnificently crafted. The emotion is raw and tender, the characters are tremendous and the sense of place in both Maine and England is perfectly done.

Compulsive and unmissable. Heart breaking and heart warming and very highly recommended from me.

Julie Cohen grew up in the western mountains of Maine. Her house was just up the hill from the library and she spent many hours walking back and forth, her nose in a book. 

She studied English Literature at Brown University and Cambridge University and is a popular speaker and teacher of creative writing, including classes for The Guardian and Literature Wales. Her books have been translated into fifteen languages and have sold nearly a million copies; 

DEAR THING was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. Julie lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and a terrier of dubious origin.

You can find Julie on Twitter: @julie_cohen or you can visit her website:

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