Tuesday, 30 January 2018

New Release, Author Interview and Review: All We Knew by Jamie Beck

Author: Jamie Beck
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Hunter Cabot deeply loves two things: the international tea company he’s helped his father build, and his wife, Sara. From the moment he first saw her wide smile on their college campus years ago, Hunter fell hard. Yet now, with other family members pushing to sell the thriving business and Sara grieving their failure to start a family, he’s suddenly facing the crushing loss of both.
The relentless ambition that Sara once admired in Hunter is now driving them apart. Each missed doctor’s appointment, neglected dinner date, and family squabble accentuates their differing priorities. Still, Sara struggles to create the home life they’d envisioned, until unsettling developments—both personal and professional—push them to the breaking point.
When love is put to the ultimate test, can Hunter and Sara stop fighting each other long enough to fight for their marriage?

1. All We Knew is an interesting title for a romance novel. How does it relate to the plot of your book?

I tend to think of my books, and this one in particular, as love stories more than “romance” novels. With this book, in particular, I didn’t want the title to sound too cute. Because this is a marriage-in-trouble story, the title relates to everything they thought they knew about each other and love and marriage. And to everything they need to learn about how to make marriage last.

2. College sweethearts, now a married couple, Sara and Hunter have been through a lot together. How are they the same as when they first met? How are they different?

I think their core personalities are the same. In fact, that is part of the problem for Hunter. He doesn’t understand why she is so disappointed in him when, in his mind, he’s the same man she married. He’s not wrong, but what he doesn’t recognize is that their circumstances have changed, and those changes require him to also change. As for Sara, I think she was more independent in the beginning of their relationship, but when the children she presumed they’d have never came, she lost her way. Now she’s drifting about, making the best of her relationships within the dysfunctional Cabot family while missing the close-knit family she left behind in California.

3. What attracted Sara and Hunter to each other when they first met?

He was immediately attracted to her sunny smile and the personal warmth that emanated from within her. She was attracted to his drive and enthusiasm.

4. How have their feelings (and attraction) changed or evolved over time?

No. They are still attracted to and in love with each other. The problems come down to failed communication and a bit of the friction that comes after the initial thrill of attraction between “opposites” begins to wear down.

5. How do they keep the romance alive post-honeymoon?

Hunter is very generous and loves to make grand gestures (gifts, trips). To him, that’s enough to keep the romance alive despite his eighty-hour work weeks. Sara provides Hunter a sense of belonging and comfort he gets nowhere else, and is thoughtful of the little day-to-day things to make his life sweeter.

6. Marriages often face rough patches, and Hunter and Sara’s is no different. What problems are they facing both as a couple and as individuals?

Sara is missing her family, especially now that she’s been unable to get pregnant despite two years and a failed IVF. She quit work to reduce stress, but having too much free time on her hands is creating a different kind of tension. Hunter is also facing a major personal crisis. He’s spent his entire life (since the age of thirteen) preparing to run and eventually take over the family business from his father. Now his father and stepmother are planning to sell it. For him, this is not only a betrayal of a promise, but also a loss of identity.

7. With infertility a major issue in this novel, there must have been some difficult scenes to write. What was one of the hardest?

I don’t want to answer this with specifics because the two hardest scenes will be spoilers, and I know many readers do not like to read spoilers before they’ve read the book. I can say one took place after one of Sara’s appointments, and then the other is toward the end of the book after a certain meeting with Hunter’s sister at his father’s house.

8. What is your favorite scene from the book?

I really liked the fight scene between Hunter and Sara that takes place in his home office. I love how it shows that arguments can range from anger to passion and then remorse within a blink of the eye.

9. And finally, who is the next Cabot in your series that readers will be hearing from next?

Hunter’s half-sister Gentry has a story to tell. I love her book. It’s more fun than the first two Cabot novels because she is young, sarcastic, and her hero is a really interesting humanitarian EMT who teaches her a little something about what matters in life.

I read All We Knew as a standalone and its book two in The Cabot's series.

Hunter Cabot is CFO of Cabot Tea Company and has been working as long as he remembers to prepare to eventually take over the running of the business from his father. It's one of two passions in his life; his wife is his other. However, when his father and stepmother plan to sell the business, his world's thrown into turmoil especially when the love of his life doesn't see his point of view because of a personal battle they are fighting.

Coming from a large family, Sara Cabot wants a family of her own but after failed attempts at IVF she's distraught especially when her husband chooses to focus on his battle to save the company he was born to run.

I jumped in blind with this novel and I'll admit I wouldn't have chosen it because of the difficult topics entwined within the narrative. Yet, I became sucked into and enveloped within the story as Hunter and Sara work through their problems to keep their marriage together. Their love for each other is unquestionable however, their upsetting predicament highlights problems within their relationship and neither are on the same page to solve them. It's incredibly emotional as the couple navigate the peaks and troughs caused by their current circumstances and the author nails the impassioned feelings beautifully.

Jamie Beck is undoubtedly known for writing realistic stories and All We Knew can't get any more real when you can identify with the protagonists because character traits are so similar to yourself and loved one. Sometimes, the dialogue between Hunter and Sara made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on-end when exchanges are so convincing it's like an echo. I'm nothing like Sara and have never experienced the heartbreak she has endured, but that doesn't stop the heartfelt and often upsetting dialogue between her and Hunter sounding eerily like conversations I've heard or experienced before on a personal level. Ms Beck wholeheartedly brings her protagonists to life in a way that blew me away.

This is only the second novel I've read by this author and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the previous one, All We Knew is even better. This is a heartfelt love story between two people who managed to drift in different directions but able to find their way back and I'm eagerly looking forward to the next instalment in this series as Gentry Cabot is definitely someone of interest.

***arc generously received courtesy of Montlake Romance via NetGalley***

Jamie Beck is a former attorney with a passion for inventing stories about love and redemption. In addition to writing novels, she also pens articles on behalf of a local nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering youth and strengthening families. Fortunately, when she isn’t tapping away at the keyboard, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family.

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