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Anywhere for You


Anywhere for You

It is always exciting to watch a new author grow, and when Abbie Greaves first emerged on the scene with THE SILENT TREATMENT, I knew the literary world had gained something special. Now with her second novel, ANYWHERE FOR YOU, she takes her talent for emotional resonance and applies it to a romantic mystery, reminding readers once again that love, for all its magic and wonder, takes a lot of work and dedication.

For seven years, Mary O’Connor has made a pilgrimage to the Ealing Broadway train station every evening. She works her dead-end retail job, then dons a cardigan over her homely polo shirt and stands in the same spot, holding a sign that reads “Come Home Jim.” Occasionally people try to talk to her, and sometimes they even offer her money, but so far no one has stopped to really ask her about Jim, or where he might be coming home from. One day, a series of transportation issues lead to a deadlock of people crushed into the station, and it seems like every elbow, arm and foot is destined to trample over Mary and her sign. Desperate to complete her daily mission, she lets out years of pent-up rage and frustration and demands her right to personal space --- and quickly goes viral as a legend, a queen, a woman who gets stuff done.

"If you like your mysteries with a whopping side of heart, and your characters intense and raw, Greaves is the writer for you. Readers of THE SILENT TREATMENT will be struck by the way she has enhanced her talent for plotting, and newcomers will marvel at the emotional intensity of her prose."

Straphanger Alice Keaton knows a thing or two about men who disappear, but when she hears someone yell through the crowds at the station, all she can think is that the mysterious, drop-dead gorgeous woman holding the sign must have a real story. As a junior reporter for the Ealing Bugle, Alice is much more accustomed to reporting on bank openings and citizen profiles, but she knows a good scoop when she sees one. After helping Mary sit down and regain her composure, she asks about Jim and learns that Mary and Jim were together for six happy, love-filled years until he disappeared without a trace. Mary explains that the two were like soulmates, lovers who often exclaimed that they were one another’s safe harbor. She cannot rest until she is sure that Jim knows he still has a home in her.

In alternating chapters, Greaves goes back in time nearly 15 years, chronicling the whirlwind love affair of young Mary and Jim. A tall, dark and handsome doctor (seriously!), Jim swept Mary off her feet one weekend at a conference in the hotel where she worked. As they continued their long-distance romance, Jim never once made a fuss about the differences between their social or economic stratospheres, even encouraging Mary to join him in London and take time off to kickstart her career as an artist making fabric maps. Their beginnings were downright swoon-worthy, full of steamy love scenes, witty banter and the satisfaction that comes with knowing you have found your person.

But despite their insta-love, their relationship had its ups and downs: Jim could be moody, and he seemed to struggle with alcoholism during bad spells. Time and time again, Mary helped Jim get back on track, but with the gift of hindsight, it’s clear to readers that you can’t fix people, especially if they don’t want to be helped. As the clock ticks down on their six-year romance, Greaves highlights the tenacity and devotion of a woman desperate to save the man she loves.

In the present day, Alice becomes obsessed with Mary’s mysterious missing man, even more so when Mary starts receiving calls from Jim, who seems to beg for forgiveness. Alice joins Mary’s evening gig as part of a call center team to keep an eye on her, get to the bottom of Jim’s disappearance and, with any luck, save her career at the paper by writing a shocking exposé on the viral woman searching for her long-lost love. But as Alice gets closer to the truth, she starts to learn that knowing can sometimes be much worse than the potential of the unknown, and that some love stories are far more complicated than happily ever after.

If you read THE SILENT TREATMENT, you know that Abbie Greaves is an unusually talented writer who is able to infuse even the smallest interactions with a lifetime of emotional weight. Where she plumbed the depths of marriage in her first novel, in ANYWHERE FOR YOU she looks at more unconventional bonds, the “love of your life” whirlwind affairs that can absolutely devastate you just as easily as they can save you. But more than that, she explores mental illness, especially in men, and how the patriarchy, toxic masculinity and plain shame have prevented many men from seeking help, and the toll it can take on the women who love them. This is a straightforward idea at first glance, but Greaves provides so many different, wholly realized examples in her supporting characters that the theme nearly sneaks up on you, creatively mimicking its effects in real life.

While I loved the character of Mary O’Connor --- and I suspect many readers will agree --- I was profoundly moved by Jim and his inability to seek the help he needed. Without shaming, ridiculing or scolding Jim, Greaves manages to explore a lifetime of emotional pain, mental illness and quick fixes with a clear-eyed gaze that never shies away from harsh truths.

If you like your mysteries with a whopping side of heart, and your characters intense and raw, Greaves is the writer for you. Readers of THE SILENT TREATMENT will be struck by the way she has enhanced her talent for plotting, and newcomers will marvel at the emotional intensity of her prose. I have no reason to doubt that her third novel will take her to even higher planes.

Reviewed by Rebecca Munro on April 23, 2021

Anywhere for You
by Abbie Greaves

  • Publication Date: April 26, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062933884
  • ISBN-13: 9780062933881