We’ve Come Undone is the story of two contemporary marriages from idealistic, yet misguided beginnings. Each couple mistakenly believe their happily ever after will come without really knowing the person they’ve married. Over time, their wounds come to define them-a marine, chronically ill from pills he took in the Persian Gulf War to protect him from Sarin gas, a ballet dancer whose ambitions are crushed by a single encounter, a woman desperate to have a baby, a man whose wife barely tolerates him and doesn’t love their child. Long simmering tensions ultimately explode and an accident throws everything they thought they knew and wanted into free fall. At its heart, this story is about the choices we make, how they shape our lives, and how our innate resilience allows us to reclaim the lost part of ourselves.
A young, naïve WILLOW imagines domestic bliss with DENNY. She yearns for a stable home life with a large family after her nomadic childhood growing up in communes. Denny wants to be the right man for her but can’t contain his impulse for risk and flight and joins the Marines without consulting her. When he returns from the Persian Gulf War, the drug he took to protect him against the threat of chemical warfare has consequences that threaten to derail their future.
JILLIAN is consumed with ambition to become a ballet soloist in a major ballet company. A floundering BLAKE, bereft by the death of his sister, is attracted to her certainty and resolve and fully commits to her dream. When the ballet life is abruptly shattered, she immediately and intentionally gets pregnant. Her disappointment in herself and what life has become festers and she turns on Blake and their daughter. While she may be ashamed of her failure as a dancer, Blake feels the true rupture comes from her inability to love their daughter.
Retreating emotionally from their marriages, Blake and Willow fall in love. On her way home to tell Denny she is leaving him, Willow is in a car accident that threatens to upend everything.
LILY, an international reporter had a breakdown while covering a bombing and is on a leave of absence. Until this point, she lived her job and could not commit to her long-distance boyfriend, STEPHEN. We learn her backstory through blogs, emails and letters. Now, everything is on the line. Sleepwalking through a temporary job at a local TV station, she hears Willow’s crash and her reporter instincts finally kick back in. She embroils herself in the drama of these two marriages in crisis while trying to come to terms with her own life.
Although Willow is seriously hurt, ultimately she will fully recover. Denny understands on some level that he’s lost her, but has not accepted it. Through the drama Lily witnesses, the mistakes she makes, and what she learns about Persian Gulf War vets, she finds a path to balance her life. Jillian begins her difficult journey back to finding a life that she can own and crafts a new relationship with her daughter. Willow is facing a long recuperation. Blake comes every evening. They savor their time and look forward to a future they will shape together. (Summary via Amazon)
It’s not very often that I wish I knew how to speed read but when I started reading We’ve Come Undone by Jan Marin Tramontano that is exactly what I wanted to do.
In We’ve Come Undone Tramontano breaks the story up into three parts starting with the families until there is an accident then she sends the reader back into the lives of the characters providing us with the story as it unfolded and how they got there then she returns to the present and the characters as they deal with the aftermath of the accident.
In We’ve Come Undone readers are introduced to two couples, Willow and Denny and Jillian and Blake. Both couples have been married for years however neither couple are happily married. Willow is a librarian at the high school where Blake is the principal…it is there during little get togethers that they fall in love. Willow’s husband Denny is a war vet dealing with demons that he cannot shake, luckily he is a skilled carpenter and that helps keep him going. Blake’s wife Jillian is a dancer that followed her dream but was unable to fulfill it and is not capable of getting past that failure. Sadly Blake and Jillian have a daughter Chelsea who is in high school and luckily has a great relationship with her father….and she adores the librarian Willow.
The day of the accident Willow and Blake were going to their spouses to tell them they were leaving them and that their marriages are over. Blake was able to go home and talk to Jillian but Willow was involved in a very bad accident when her car went through a red light and she was hit. Willow was put into a medical coma so that her body could have time to recover after having surgery.
In the second part of the story Tramontano takes the readers back a few years before the affair and accident to give the readers an idea of how the affair unfolded. Readers get to see the struggles the couples went through and how Willow and Blake fell out of love with their partners and in love with each other.
In We’ve Come Undone readers are also introduced to Lily who is a reporter / journalist who has struggles of her own. In the beginning Lily is at the scene of the accident and feels a pull to investigate. This then finds her at the hospital where she meets Denny as well as Willow’s sister Autumn. Readers are also given Lily’s back story before the accident in the second part of the story.
There is a lot of drama, sadness, loss, love, new beginnings, closures and acceptance within We’ve Come Undone. Readers will fall in love with the story and the people and will feel compel to root for certain people. And the way that Tramontano outlined the story breaking it up really keeps the reader on track. You will find yourself thoroughly impacted by the people and you will want to rush through it to get to the end…..I highly recommend that you don’t. Take your time, get to know the characters, and enjoy every part of their journey.