Monday, July 8, 2024

Book Review: This Used to Be Us

By Allyson Bales

After twenty-two years together, Danielle and Alex are getting a divorce. Once fiercely in love, they can barely stand the sound of each other’s voice. Instead of shuttling the kids between two broken homes, Alex and Dani decide to share a nesting apartment while swapping days with their two teenage boys at the family home.

In the apartment, Dani and Alex, on their own, begin to reflect on the last two decades—why they fell in love and why the marriage fell, spectacularly, apart. With the newfound space and time, they are given a chance to rediscover their autonomous selves again. They both get back in the dating pool. Dani finds major success at work as a showrunner on her own TV project, while Alex faces the challenges of a new relationship.

Still, they find that they just can’t stay away from each other, and somehow, the distance allows them to remember (for the first time in years) what each used to love about the other. When a family crisis draws them back into each other’s orbit, Dani and Alex are once again put to the test, which leads to a dramatic conclusion that will have readers weeping. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Renee Carlino has been an auto-buy author for me since 2016.  I read Before We Were Strangers and was immediately enamored with Carlino’s writing style.  Her way with words is truly captivating and I always love the depth of her characters.  Swear on This Life has been a favorite until This Used to Be Us.  

I loved this story so much. It was a raw and real depiction of a marriage running its course and all the baggage, vulnerability, good, and bad that comes with that chapter closing.

Danielle and Alex are characters who encapsulate so many important and thought-provoking themes. I loved how together they navigate the heaviness that we take on as we get older and live life.  How relationships can morph to a place we never imagined and what that opens up in us and also closes in us.  Also how children can be a mirror and teach us things even though we think we are older and wiser. I just loved this little family and all they navigate. 

If you’re married or in a serious relationship this book will speak to you and make you reflect, which are always the best kind of stories.  It is messy and heartfelt and one that I really recommend. 

Thanks to BookSparks for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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