ALMOST MISSED YOU

Jessica Strawser

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,

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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.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Jessica Strawser’s Almost Missed You is a powerful 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.

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  • St. Martin's Press
  • Hardcover
  • March 2017
  • 320 Pages
  • 9781250107602

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$25.99

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About Jessica Strawser

By day, Jessica Strawser is the Editorial Director of Writer’s Digest magazine, North America’s leading publication for aspiring and working writers since 1920. By night, she is a fiction writer and, by the minute, she is a proud wife and mom to two super sweet and super young kids in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Her diverse career in the publishing industry spans more than 15 years and includes stints in book editing, marketing and public relations, and freelance writing and editing. A Pittsburgh native and “Outstanding Senior” graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, she counts her New York Times Modern Love essay and her Writer’s Digest cover interviews with such luminaries as Alice Walker, Anne Tyler and David Sedaris among her career highlights.

She blogs at the WritersDigest.com “There Are No Rules” blog and elsewhere, and speaks at writing conferences and events that are kind enough to invite her.

Author Website

Praise

“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.”Publisher’s Weekly

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 bestselling author of A Sudden Light and The Art of Racing in the Rain

Discussion Questions

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?