Title: The Absence of Olivia
Author: Anie Michaels
Series: Love and Loss #1
Release Date: October 20, 2015
My name is Evelyn.
I met Devon and instantly fell for him.
Weeks later he fell for my best friend.
Never one to make waves, I watched as they started a life together. I stood by as their family grew, was the maid of honor at their wedding and the godmother to their children. All the while, I was longing for him, watching as he became the perfect husband and father. I was never jealous. I wasn’t even angry that my best friend had the only person I wanted. I had simply resigned myself to living without his love, but still being a part of his life.
Then, one terrible day, my best friend died.
She died and we all struggled to live life without her. Slowly, as the pain eased, our eyes opened and Devon finally saw me.
This is a story about second chances and second choices.
This is the story of how my life changed in the absence of Olivia.
Anie Michaels has absolutely stunned me with The Absence of Olivia. This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year and it has claimed its spot on my list of all-time favorite reads. Evelyn’s story is truly something special. The Absence of Olivia was honest, at times brutally so. Overflowing with emotion, this novel captures so many of life’s experiences in its pages. Anie Michaels’ words breathe life, death, longing, healing, loss, and love into a story that is utterly beautiful and positively unexpected. Through Evelyn and Devon, this book captures love in its most raw form, depicting the imperfections, devastation, and uncertainty that shapes our view on love and defines all of our relationships. I connected with this story immediately, feeling every word as I read it, becoming invested in the characters, and riding the ups and down of this journey. The Absence of Olivia is not a fairytale by any means, it’s reality and that makes this love story that much sweeter.
“Even though you’re here, in my house, every day. You’re here, but you’ve never been more out of reach.”
Evelyn’s character growth was the best part of this book. The way in which Anie Michaels took her through the stages of grief and forced her to confront her long-held feelings for Devon was heart wrenching. Her emotional turmoil was overwhelming, hitting to the core of me in a way that allowed all of Evelyn’s feelings to move through me as I followed her journey. I related to Evelyn in a significant way, understanding her desperate need to keep her word to Olivia no matter the cost to her own happiness. There were moments where the character wavered, caught up in her grief or confused by the evolution of her relationships with others. These moments of weakness and instances of doubt made Evelyn that much more tangible and gave me a better appreciation for her strength and the entirety of her journey. A fighter in her own right, this inimitable character proved to be simply breathtaking and absolutely unforgettable.
“I wanted to remember the moment when I realized life wasn’t as bleak as I’d made it out to be, and I wanted to remember the person who’d reminded me that I was still worth pursuing.”
The Absence of Olivia was perfectly constructed, providing alternating flashback chapters that divulged the true nature of the relationships between Olivia, Devon, and Evelyn. Anie Michaels delivers key moments in their lives together that serve as the foundation for current emotions, making this story strong and the readers’ understanding of the characters even stronger. The Absence of Olivia is a rollercoaster from start to finish. My heart ached for Devon and broke for Evelyn. I laughed at Ruby’s sass and swooned over Nate’s enduring patience and understanding. I sobbed, taking the ugly cry to a whole new level as my heart shattered and swelled at the moments of significant emotional impact. Anie Michaels has completely blown me away with her exquisite imagery and poignant prose, bringing this story to life in the way that only she can. The Absence of Olivia is unexpected, real, and deeply stunning. This one-of-a-kind story is an absolute must read!
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Don’t miss the rest of the series:
The Presence of Grace (Love and Loss #2)
Anie Michaels is the author of The Never series, The Private Serials, and a stand alone novel, The Space Between Us. She started writing her first novel in June 2013. When she is not working, reading, writing, or spending time with her family, you can find her spending time with her close friends. Anie lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family.