Tuesday, June 6, 2023

My Goodbye Girl by Anna Gomez

My Goodbye Girl
by Anna Gomez
Published June 6, 2023

When Tessa Talman first meets Simon Fremont, not only is she attracted to him, she's intrigued by how different their lives are. He's a dedicated scientist, practical, pragmatic, and grounded. She's a head-in-the-clouds romance author. As their relationship grows, they meet in places around the world, while continuing to live in different countries.

Though their feelings for each other deepen, their priorities remain the same. Simon is in a hurry to be financially sound and settle down, but Tessa is enjoying her freedom and newfound success. Neither is willing to give in, but as each goodbye gets harder, Tessa begins to wonder whether fame is the path to happiness, or if she has everything she needs in Simon.

Just as Tessa finds the courage to go after her own happily ever after, the unthinkable happens, separating them in ways she never imagined.

To move forward, she must let go of the past and determine once and for all if love is truly more powerful than the pain of goodbye.

4 Stars

They say opposites attract and with My Goodbye Girl's Tessa and Simon that is definitely the case. He's a smart, sensitive scientist and businessman, while she's best described as having her heads in the clouds. One is logical, the other is emotional. As an author, Tessa is afforded the ability to travel the world, giving in to the words in her head whenever she wants and keeping everyone at arm's length. She's been through a life of loss though, one that makes her unsure of permanence and plans. Simon is persistent in winning her over and as they meet up in various locations all over the world she begins to find comfort in the consistency. They say goodbye each time, there's no promise of the future, no plan, until one day finally Tessa gives in and offers Simon everything. Life though, like love, is unpredictable..

You spend so much of the novel hoping the goodbyes end, that Tessa will open up, hoping the pair would find a way to be together and yet still be their individual selves. I liked both main characters, connecting with Simon's clean way and formula style thinking and envying Tessa's ability to hop around the world embracing every new experience. We only get glimpses of their time together, often a glimpse of a sensual evening or touristy exploring, and we remain relatively unaware of what goes on when they are apart. We see Tessa with her walls built back up each time they meet, unable to shake the loss from her life. Simon continues to embrace his feelings, working Tessa's walls down and learning to embrace her adventurous side. He keeps secrets from her though and I struggled with how much he asked of her while still not giving all of himself. Finally, we see them embrace this unknown, this love, only to watch it shatter.

Their love faces an unimaginable trial, Gomez deals with the topic delicately, skimming the actual events, leaving us with the character's emotions and the aftermath. I found it really interesting how the timeline of the book skipped ahead after the event, revealing that the characters are still reeling from the event though their lives have moved forward. I appreciated how Gomez worked through the emotions with the characters, showing each having done something different. It was unpredictable and there were certainly some twists that I loved and some I hated, much like how I feel about real life sometimes. It's difficult, the struggles they continue to face are hard, but it is realistic. Gomez takes you on a journey of loss, love, and rediscovery.

My Goodbye Girl is about embracing all that life has to offer, the beautiful and the painful. Gomez has a writing style that leaves you in the character's heads quite often and while it isn't for everyone I think it worked well for this type of story. I loved the various settings and the character growth Tessa and Simon go through as they discover what love is together.

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