Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Today’s featured book is an ARC from Amazon Vine:  What I Had Before I Had You, by Sarah Cornwell.


Intro:  The first time I see my sisters, I am fifteen years old.  It is June, and the ocean is just warm enough for swimming.  I am floating on my back out past the farthest buoy.  If I turn my head, I can see the beach, glutted with tourists, rising above and dipping below each wave swell.  The world appears and vanishes, is and isn’t, is and isn’t.  Sometimes the lifeguard is sitting, and sometimes he is standing up on his white wooden tower, shading his eyes.  The closest swimmers are some forty yards off, a few old ladies doing the crawl, their crepe-paper elbows rising and falling.  A wave breaks against my face, and I sputter under the water, come up coughing.


Teaser:  I cough and bend over, watching the swirling kaleidoscope of floaters inside my eyelids.  I don’t want her to see me laugh.  I cannot resist saying, “Such clairvoyance,” as I close myself back into the basement stairway without any matches. (p. 87).


Blurb:  In What I Had Before I Had You by Sarah Cornwell, a woman must face the truth about her past in this luminous, evocative literary novel of parents and children, guilt and forgiveness, memory and magical thinking, set in the faded, gritty world of the New Jersey Shore.

Olivia was only fifteen the summer she left her hometown of Ocean Vista. Two decades later, on a visit with her children, her nine-year-old son Daniel, recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, disappears. Olivia’s search for him sparks tender and painful memories of her past—of her fiercely loving and secretive mother, Myla, an erratic and beautiful psychic, and the discovery of heartbreaking secrets that shattered her world.


What do you think?  Is it tempting enough to keep reading? 


  1. Literary Feline

    I have difficulty with books about missing children, but this one has been on my radar since I first heard about it. The intro certainly is compelling. I hope you enjoy it!


  2. I would keep reading. I like literary fiction using what we call the “historical present” in French, much more common in French than in English I believe, but I found it more engaging than the simple past


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