Book review: The Sight of You by Holly Miller

Friday, June 26, 2020 Permalink

The most important thing you need to know about The Sight of You by Holly Miller is that I bloody loved it. Like LOVE loved it. I randomly picked it off my overflow TBR pile (on the trolley in my bathroom) not entirely sure what I was in for. Although if I’m honest I was probably slightly worried by the mention of premonitions as I’m not a fan of the illogical in my reading.

But… oh my god, I was smitten from the get-go. By Miller’s writing. By her characters. I was in love. I note a quote from Beth O’Leary inside the book and think it’s reminiscent of her book (I also loved) The Flatshare, which offers readers a growing relationship from both a male and female perspective. This does the same and Miller’s written it in a way that Joel and Callie are funny, charismatic and likeable as individuals; so as a couple who perfectly complement the other, they’re addictive.

Book review: The Sight of You by Holly MillerThe Sight of You
by Holly Miller
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
on 11/06/2020
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: General Fiction, Romance
ISBN: 1529324351
Pages: 416

Joel is afraid of the future. Since he was a child he's been haunted by dreams about the people he loves. Visions of what's going to happen - the good and the bad. And the only way to prevent them is to never let anyone close to him again.

Callie can't let go of the past. Since her best friend died, Callie's been lost. She knows she needs to be more spontaneous and live a bigger life. She just doesn't know how to find a way back to the person who used to have those dreams.

Joel and Callie both need a reason to start living for today. And though they're not looking for each other, from the moment they meet it feels like the start of something life-changing.

Until Joel has a vision of how it's going to end . . .

This is essentially a romance. And yes, I know… I don’t usually read romance. Except I obviously do as I’ve mentioned The Flatshare and similar books which are underpinned by characters falling in love. And out. Sometimes.

As mentioned logic-loving me could have been slightly sceptical about Joel’s ability to predict future events. But I didn’t care. It’s not explained at all. It just ‘is’. And it’s accepted. He doesn’t understand it. And he can’t change it. It’s the bane of his life, though—at one point—he’s forced to ponder if it could be seen as a gift.

It’s brought him to a low point on a couple of occasions and when we meet him he’s slowly emerging from one. He’s given up his career and avoiding love and people as much as possible. In fact, the book opens with him having committed a slightly nefarious act, so I was initially thinking he was going to be a baddie (unsurprisingly given the number of psychopaths featuring in my reading). But we very quickly learn it is not the case. Indeed it doesn’t gel with the sense we get of who he is even as he tells us what he’s done.

The book unfolds from both Callie and Joel’s points of view. I suspect we engage more with Joel as, in many ways, it’s his story. But both are delightful. Miller’s written Joel in particular so cleverly. I would certainly find it hard not to fall in love with him, despite the obvious walls he puts up.

I’m giving this book five stars (a rarity for me as I offer up one or two five star ratings a year) but there was probably a teensy lull part-way through the book. It didn’t drag or anything but perhaps was eked out in a way that slowed the momentum a little. It could similarly be seen as pacing the (potential) oncoming devastation as well of course….

This is an obvious contender for my fave novel of the year so far. I’ve not heard others raving about it so perhaps I’m alone in that, but I fell in love with this book. With its characters and with their story. In many ways it’s desperately sad. I’d say bittersweet but it feels clichéd. The love affair between Callie and Joel is just beautifully written and expressed.

I marked lots of quotes but am now loath to use them without context. Though you’ll note beautiful phrasing and breathtaking prose you’ll lose something if I can’t also share the witty repartee that intersperses it.

I could also talk about themes around death and love and families and fate etcetera but I really didn’t care about any of that. My mind also glazed over when it came to the ecological and animal-loving stuff. I was all about the love story here.

Miller writes the burgeoning relationship between Joel and Callie so well even cynical old me felt a sense of yearning. Of envy. It made me wonder if love like that exists. But at the same time I was desperately sad I haven’t experienced it and perhaps never will. So it’s not just the narrative of this book that’s bittersweet (and yes I went with the cliché); it’s the way readers are offered something almost magical yet perhaps not attainable, or at least not entirely sustainable.

The Sight of You by Holly Miller was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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