If I’d Never Known Your Love by Georgia Bockoven

First book I’ve ever read that had me literally sobbing. Rest assured, there is an HEA, but it’s a brutal trip there.

The book opens as Evan McDonald is getting ready to fill in for his boss on a business trip to Colombia. After telling his wife Julia “I’m going to miss you. Every minute of every hour…” he’s off on his trip. After the time he said he’d call comes and goes, Julia starts to worry. When she tries to reach him and can’t, panic sets in.

Eventually Julia finds herself in a nightmare scenario. The doting father of their two kids and the love of her life has been kidnapped by paramilitary forces.

This heartwrenching book follows Julia through the years as she works to find Evan and bring him home, while keeping his memory alive and keeping life normal for the kids. Though Evan is absent from the present tense of the book, Bockoven develops his character through the letters Julia writes to him in her journal describing their courtship and love.

After being missing for five years, Julia gets the dreaded phone call – Evan’s body has been found and he’s been dead for five years.

It’s the second half of the book that takes your heart and smashes it up thoroughly. I’ve already told you there’s an HEA, but if I tell any more, I’ll ruin it for you, and this book is too emotional to miss out on a good virgin reading. I have never read a book that made me feel like this book did. Bockoven draws you into the characters of Evan and Julia and I mourned for Evan as much as I mourned for her. Their love, as told through her letters, was so strong and such a once in a lifetime chance that I mourned that loss. I had a pile of tissues around me, and I never cry at books or movies.

The only qualm I had was that the book ended far too quick. We get our HEA, after bawling our eyeballs out in empathy with the heroine, but don’t get to see the heroine really enjoy her second chance. I felt I needed more of a debriefing after the strong emotions she got from me.

I read this book years ago and I still get a little sniffly thinking about it. That should tell you something. B+

~75,000 words
Published August 1st 2007 by Harlequin