Author: Laura Miller
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
Purchase: Barnes & Noble
They say in every guy’s life there’s a girl he’ll never forget and a summer where it all began. Well, for me, 1999 is that summer, and Brooke Sommerfield is that girl. But that was nearly nine years ago. And what they don’t tell ya is that you’ll blink, and both the summer and the girl will be gone.
I have no idea where Brooke ended up. She disappeared that same summer I met her. And kind of like when you move something on a wall after it’s been there for a long time and everything around it is faded, that’s how I feel about Brooke. She wasn’t there very long, but when she left, everything around her memory sort of dimmed. That is until a letter postmarked the year she left mysteriously resurfaces. And call me crazy—everyone else has—but I have to find her. I have to know what became of the green-and-gray-eyed girl who stole my last perfect summer. I have to know if she believes in second chances—because I do—even if they do come with good-byes.
There is something so pure, so raw, about reading a Laura Miller novel. They never fail to transcend time and space, place and time, taking you somewhere you didn’t know you had the power to reach. Though they aren’t necessarily action packed in the traditional sense that you may be accustomed to, and they aren’t always riddled with drama, her stories make your heart race for an entirely different, yet no less potent, reason. Because one thing you learn within opening a few pages of one of her books is that she doesn’t need all that other filler. She stands on her own words, and after devouring By Way of Accident in a day I can say with certainty; she’s never stood taller. Fans of her previous works won’t be disappointed, and newcomers will have their faith in good literature restored.
In fact, I’d find out soon enough that that very moment with Brooke would be one of the greatest highs of my life. But then, I’d also find out that with every high, there must come a low. And in that low, I’d learn that as much as one heart can feel great joy, that same heart can feel just as much sadness.
One thing that Miller does exceptionally is to set a scene. Having grown up in the South and never having visited the Midwest (where all her stories take place) is no matter for she effortlessly takes you there. From the scratchiness of the hay bales, to the sounds of the whippoorwills at night, to the smell of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich as they enjoyed their innocent meal together; I experienced it all right alongside the characters and it enriched the story for me all the more. Miller writes books in 3-D; they’re a full contact ride. And the ride we went on this time was with two teenagers and their brief summer of love. The entire book builds from those experiences in a much simpler time, when the days were long and a dip in the creek was the perfect respite at the end of it. This is a book of first loves and the coincidences and accidents that transpire to create something great. It’s a character driven book and one that you will find yourself invested in from page one.
It’s the cruel reality of love, I think-that once you find it, it’s yours to carry. And even if you lose it and never find it back again, I think you still just keep carrying it…and waitin’-long after the curtain closes.
Most of this book is from the perspective of a child, but even saying that sounds wrong. River is thirteen through much of the book and he does and doesn’t personify that. While he has your typical thirteen year old thoughts, or at least when you and I were thirteen in the mid-90’s, he is also wise beyond what you would expect from most teenagers. Our story takes place pre internet; pre cell phones. And that in itself makes a HUGE difference. He also grows up on a farm; so not only does he know the value of a hard day’s work at a young age, but his atmosphere is, for lack of a better word, quieter. And I mean that in the best way possible. He has a chance to experience everything around him, even if he doesn’t think they are big at the time. They are untouched by what society thrust upon kids his age these days. It was a simpler time, a time when not much went unnoticed; a time when you could really stop and just listen. All of these factors, in my opinion, lead him to be wise beyond what we would expect from someone so young.
We found each other again the same way we found each other the first time-by way of accident. It’s only fitting-like bees and honey.
That being said, no matter your age, love is love. No matter the time or place, love is love. And if you feel it, deep in your bones, there’s no denying it; there’s no hiding from it; there’s no forgetting it. In its purest form, it’s the most beautiful thing you will ever have the privilege of being in the presence of. Miller portrayed this flawlessly. There was a magic in her words that can only be found in the purest of books. There is innocence about them so pure; you don’t even miss the sex or sexual tension. It’s never even forethought on your mind. Because when a book is written well and you are given characters you actually care about, it just doesn’t matter. Too many books rely on sex to carry them through, but Miller’s books have a substance not too often found.
I close my eyes, and I press my lips against hers-for the first time in nearly a decade. And it feels like the first time-raw and hungry, yet faultless. And just like the first time, I know without a doubt, I love this girl.
By Way of Accident had depth and emotional connectivity in spades! It left me wanting more yet being perfectly okay with the place our characters were in. See, with any good book, I’m greedy enough to always want more words, but I’m also logical enough to recognize that more words often mean more drama. And while I won’t spoil the ending for you, know that it left me full of warm and tinglies in a way that only Miller’s books can do. It left me with a renewed view of love, hope, and encouragement. It left me emotionally sated in the best possible way. Because of this book, my heart flies freer.