Before We Were Strangers

Author: Renée Carlino

Rating: ♡♡♡♡♡


“You can’t re-create the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice. You chase it like the first high for the rest of your life. It doesn’t mean you can’t love another or move on; it just means that the one spontaneous moment, the split-second that you took the leap, when your heart was racing and your mind was muddled with What Ifs?–that moment–will never happen the same way again. It will never feel as intense as the first time. At least, that’s the way I remember it. That’s why my mother always said we memorialize our past. Everything seems better in a memory.”

Matt and Grace are two artistic souls, both studying at NYU– Matt photography and Grace cellist. This is where they meet, at the Senior House. Neighbors turned best friends turned lovers turned strangers. What went wrong and where?
Fast forward fifteen years where Matt is working for National Geographic. His head hangs low, almost lifeless. Where is the unhappiness rooted? It’s not when he’s drawn to the woman standing on the subway platform, it’s when she turns around when the doors close that he realizes who it is. The eye contact and sudden wave of emotions are enough to get his feet running towards the train. Will Matt and Grace ever have the chance for closure? Or is love truly the strongest force?

I first want to say that this book, this story of Matthias and Graceland is by far my favorite romance of 2017. Renée Carlino has an incredible way with words. Her writing is fluent and absorbs you instantly. It’s hard not to devour this story with such an urgency, wanting answers to the questions you’ll find yourself asking.

To pick a favorite character in this is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. In just 3 short sittings I became attached to so many characters. Matt’s personality, mannerisms, and his plain BEING are everything a woman seeks in a man while Grace’s elegance, soul, and moral are everything a woman should want to encompass.

To anyone who feels the one “got away”, anyone looking for hope they will come back to them, no matter the time or place..this book is for you. ♡


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