Diclaimer: I received an ARC of this title from the publicist in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my opinion.
I’d been dying to read Wish Me Tomorrow after being introduced to Karen Rock’s writing in Camp Rockshe and Joanne Rock co-authored, so I was very excited when the opportunity arose. Before I go on, let me just stipulate that Camp Rock is YA contemporary romance, whilst Wish Me Tomorrow is adult romance. However, fear not if you like your romance clean, as that’s exactly what this latest release by Karen Rock is.
Now, I’d seen comments dotted about the internet prior to heading in that Wish Me Tomorrow deals with cancer. To be honest, having gone through skin cancer just last year, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about reading a book that revolved quite heavily around it, but I trusted Karen to do it justice and so took a deep breath and then took a chance.
As expected, every issue within the pages relevant to this killer was handled with care and respect. From the difference in attitudes amongst those affected by the illness, to the expanse of just how many corners cancer—and its victims—reaches to. Because cancer doesn’t just stop at the patient and doctor. There are support groups (handled), terminal patients (handled), children with cancer who often show more bravery than the adults (handled), the health team who not only try their best to fix you up first time it strikes but who also continue taking care of you to try and assure it doesn’t return, and actually care about the patients they’re treating (handled—and I can testify that these teams of great health/medical/surgical/car providers do give a helluva damn about what they do), and of course the family who are watching and mentally fighting on their behalf when a loved one is inflicted with this cruel disease.
However, even with ALL of these corners included into the book, it didn’t once feel busy, didn’t once feel overloaded or contrived. It also didn’t once feel as though they were distracting from the romance of the story, which (let’s face is) was what I was most interested in.
Because I loved the relationship the reader gets to watch brewing between Christie and Eli. They are both great, believable, and relatable characters, who each have their own reasons for shying away from what their hearts, minds and bodies are trying to tell them. It was lovely to ‘watch’ as Christie, without even realising it, worked her way into Eli’s life in a way he couldn’t ignore or refuse, and how one stepping stone led to another until they were no longer standing on opposing banks but had somehow reached that middle ground where both were happy to be. For a little while, at least—because all good romances like to throw spanners into the works to mess up those little ounces of bliss the characters have been handed, right? And boy, this wasn’t just a spanner, but a bloody great wrench. I’m not going to go into details, because I believe you should just go read this one and discover what I’m speaking about for yourself, but such leaps forward are rapidly diminished by the huge issue Christie and Eli are made to face—not just as a couple but also as individuals, and for Eli, also as a family man with responsibilities he has no idea how to handle.
Also, I must commend Ms Rock on the brave move she made in leaving the reader slightly uncertain at the end. Because yes, one could argue that there is a kind of HEA—or least a HFN—but it’s not guaranteed, and life around us which is so expertly mirrored within the pages of Wish Me Tomorrow has proven as such many times over. However, I believe the absolute right decision was made to end the book as it was, because to have done otherwise would have lost some of the credibility all of the preceding pages had done such an ace job of creating.
To conclude, this is a very romantic romance about great characters with flaws and major life issues standing in their way that proves some battles really are worth the fight. I would recommend it, for sure, for anyone and all, even with the cancer side of the story. Whilst it did make me cry at a couple of points, especially toward the end, I simply came out the other side with a lot of respect for the author and glad that I plucked up the courage to give this one a try.