Title: By Way of Accident
Author: Laura Miller
Release Date: Oct 21, 2014
Find on Goodreads
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.
I have heard great things about other books by this author by had not read anything by her so thought I would give this one a read. I am normally not a huge fan of YA reads but must say that I was pleasantly surprised how much I loved this book.
By Way of Accident is a story two young kids who meet one summer on River’s grandfather’s farm and instantly become friends that turns into something more. But as the summer comes to a close Brooke is once again moving. They promise to keep in touch and at first they do by writing letters to each other but when Brooke must move yet once again River never gets another letter from her with her new address. He has no way to get in touch with her and is left for the coming years to wonder about where she is and if they will ever one day meet up again. Although nine years later, River has never forgotten about her and the summer they spent together, the best summer he ever had. Months before he graduates from college, somehow the letter Brooke mailed nine years ago but he never received shows up at his parent’s place. After reading the letter River is determined to find her, to see if what they once had when they were just thirteen was truly the real thing
This story is completely told from River’s POV and I really loved his character and getting in his head. I loved seeing how much he loved her and how he never forgot her, even almost 10 years later. I loved that when he finally got her letter he was determined to find her, and when they finally met back up he was willing to take the chance to see if their love was “THE Love” , if she really was the one true love of his life. His grandfather told him many years ago that when he found love that to always fight for it, and that is what he did, he fought for Brooke and what they once had.
I know what my happy is. It’s Brooke Sommerfield. She’s my happy.
I loved Brook and River together. Although they were only thirteen and their time together short, I found myself wanting and hoping that they would find their way back together. The connection these two shared, even at such a young age, is a connection between two people who are soul mates that were meant to spend the rest of their lives together. Everyone truly has a true love out there somewhere and Brooke and Logan were those people. Their love was meant to be for all time.
Brooke was always my summer. She’ll always be my summer. And I had already made my choice a long time ago. Loving Brooke was what I was made to do. Now, I just hope that loving me was what Brooke was made to do.
This book was a fabulous story of childhood sweethearts that fell in the love but then due to circumstance beyond their control, had their lives took them separate ways until almost a decade later when fate brought them back together. I normally don’t enjoy reading books that start out when the characters are younger and follow them as they grow up, so when I started this book, I was a disappointed to see that this was how their story was going to be told. But I must say after a few chapters in I was pleasantly surprised on how quickly I was sucked into their story and could not put it down, read it pretty much in one sitting.
Overall this story is a really fabulous read, a very heartwarming and touching story of childhood sweethearts once again finding each other. The only thing I found was that the ending was rushed. We got to see so much of how they came to spend their one summer together and fall in love but found that when they finally meet back up years later, we only get to see a small bit of what happened between them and I am left wanting and wishing there had been more of what happened during that time. By Way of Accident is a must read and was my first book by Laura Miller but definitely won’t be my last.
They say in every guy’s life, there’s a girl he’ll never forget and a summer where it all began. Well, 1999 is that summer, and Brooke Sommerfield is that girl. I’m convinced she was an angel. My grandma always used to say that angels come in blinks. Brooke was just like that. She flew into my life and then flew right back out again—almost as if she were never there at all. But she was definitely there. And I’ve got her invisible memory to remind me of it. But anyway, that was years ago and yesterday when she flew in by way of accident. At thirteen years old on that hot June day, I only had three things on my mind: Cooling off, girls…and girls. So, I’d have to say that June 22, 1999, was also the best day of my life.
See, there was a creek that ran through the back of our property when I was growing up. It stretched the entire length and then jutted north and disappeared behind old man Brandt’s land. I had followed it one day when I was bored. There’s not too much more to do in Detmold, Missouri. They say the town, or what’s left of it, is named after some big city in Germany somewhere. I’ve never been, but I hear they’ve got old castles and big museums over there. And while we don’t have old castles or big museums, we do have an old building with weeds growin’ in it that used to be a post office…and big fields. We’ve got lots of big fields.
But anyway, after old man Brandt’s property, that winding, narrow stream crawled past a turn-of-the-century white farm house owned by a little old lady named Samantha Catcher. She doesn’t live there anymore. I guess that house eventually just got too big for her because not too long after Mr. Catcher passed, she moved to a tiny one-bedroom in the next township over. And now, she rents the old farm house out to people who are just passing through our little town. They stay a little while, and then soon enough, they’re on their way again. When I was young, kids would tell stories about why Mrs. Catcher kept the old place. Some said it was because it was haunted by her late husband. Some said she needed the money because Mr. Catcher gambled their life savings away before he died. But I know that Mr. Catcher wasn’t a gambler—well, beyond being a farmer—and I was pretty sure he wasn’t a ghost either. See, I was convinced that Mrs. Catcher kept that old place because it made her happy. I’d catch her in between renters plantin’ flowers in front of its porch or hangin’ a new welcome sign on the front door. She’d always be smilin’ then. See, Grandma also told me once that memories are invisible to everyone but the beholder. So I just assumed that Mrs. Catcher was looking at all her memories that nobody else could see when I would catch her smilin’ at that old house.
But all the same, that creek kept crawlin’. It kept on goin’ for miles after Mrs. Catcher’s place, but I didn’t. It was gettin’ close to supper time by then, and I was gettin’ awful hungry, so I turned around that day, and I walked back home. But the point here is that I knew that creek like the back of my hand, and I knew everyone who lived anywhere near it too. So that’s why June 22, 1999, was different. It started off normal. I baled hay. I got hot. I went to the creek. Believe it or not, I was on my summer vacation—right here at home, helpin’ my grandpa out around the farm. To me, it wasn’t much of a vacation, but my parents thought spendin’ some more time with Grandpa would do him and me some good. So, there I was on a Tuesday evening gettin’ ready to jump into that creek when I spotted somethin’—somethin’ that would stick with me for a really long time. And that day in the summer of ’99, I walked home with the best souvenir I ever got from a summer vacation—an invisible memory—of a shiny, little thing that would change my life forever.
But again, that was years ago. And now, I’m just left here smilin’ at this old creek just like Mrs. Catcher used to do at that old farm house. My mind just keeps replaying the little time I held Brooke Sommerfield. That beautiful girl is gone now, but I can still hear her in the wind. If I listen real hard, I can hear her laughter over the whip-poor-will, and I can hear her whisperin’ softly about the sky and its secrets and dreams and being happy. I close my eyes and breathe her in. She smells like daisies and fresh creek water—and summer. And all of a sudden, I hear a soft sigh rustlin’ through the trees, and I force my eyes open just in time to see a flock of geese—wings wide, toes spread—landing on the water.
“Life passes you by when your eyes are closed,” I whisper back to the wind. And then I smile wide, and I sit back against the grassy creek bank, and I watch my invisible memories play out just as if she had never left me.
That summer came slow, but it went so fast. Turns out, those endless days were never meant for the two of us. I never seemed to get enough time with her. Maybe it was because she taught me how to live. Maybe it was because she taught me how to love. Or maybe it was just simply because I loved her.
I sit back further into that grass, and I watch those geese float down the creek. All around me, the tree frogs are startin’ to call, singin’ back and forth about whatever it is frogs sing back and forth about. And I just sit there, and I think about that beautiful girl.
“I’ll find my way back to you, Brooke Sommerfield. As sure as the sun is gonna rise in the mornin’, I’ll find you,” I whisper to the wind. I tell it what I wish I could say to her. I tell it what I told her once before in a letter—a letter she would never receive until years later. See, that’s the funny thing about fate; it works around us, despite us, in spite of us, even. And it’s near impossible to figure out, until all the pages are in place. But all the same, that doesn’t stop me from prayin’. Every day, I pray that this wild ride fate’s got me on ends with her. I pray that you, Brooke Sommerfield, are on my last page. And I pray that page is a happy one. But whether it is or it isn’t, either way, I have to know what became of you. I have to know what became of the girl who stole my last perfect summer. And I have to know if she believes in second chances—because I do, even if they do come with good-byes.
But until then, Brooke Sommerfield, my summer angel, you and I will be what my grandpa always liked to call…unfinished business.
LAURA MILLER is the national bestselling author of the contemporary romance novels: BUTTERFLY WEEDS, MY BUTTERFLY, FOR ALL YOU HAVE LEFT and BY WAY OF ACCIDENT.
She was born on a farm in small town, Missouri and attended the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou). She later graduated from Mizzou with a degree in newsprint journalism and was a newspaper reporter in her former life.
Laura spent some time in San Diego, Calif., and Charleston, S.C., before moving back to the Midwest in 2011. She now lives in Kansas City, Mo., with her husband, a TV meteorologist.