Jamie and Gretchen were best friends in college, but the two grew apart as they each married and embarked upon writing careers. Jamie became a journalist while Gretchen wrote a book called Tammyland, which got called “a honky-tonk Eat, Pray, Love.” After the success of her first book, Gretchen began writing another which was initially pitched as being about male country singers since the first was about women. When Gretchen dies in what may not have been an accident, Jamie is named her “literary executor” and finds there was much about her friend that she didn’t know. Gretchen’s new manuscript may have started with a focus on male country singers, but wound up on a different path as she uncovered secrets about the death of her biological mother and her own paternity.
The problem with a deceased main character is that he or she can be hard to get to know; Emily Arsenault solves that problem by splitting the narrative in three ways: Jamie’s perspective, excerpts from Tammyland, and Gretchen’s research and writing for the second book. I particularly loved the Tammyland excerpts (I want to buy the book and I don’t even like country!). If you’re not a country music fan, don’t let the premise of Miss Me When I’m Gone stop you from reading an incredible book about friendship and the secrets families keep.
Review copy from Amazon Vine.