Contemporary Romance

ARC Review: Before I Saw You – Emily Houghton

Rating: 3 out of 5.


For fans of Close Enough to Touch and Me Before You comes a poignant and moving novel about two patients who fall in love as they recover from traumatic injuries in the same hospital ward…all without seeing each other.

Alice Gunnersley and Alfie Mack sleep just a few feet apart from one another. They talk for hours every day. And they’ve never seen each other face-to-face.

After being in terrible accidents, the two now share the same ward as long-term residents of St. Francis’s Hospital. Although they don’t get off to the best start, the close quarters (and Alfie’s persistence to befriend everyone he meets) brings them closer together. Pretty soon no one can make Alice laugh as hard as Alfie does, and Alfie feels like he’s finally found a true confidante in Alice. Between their late night talks and inside jokes, something more than friendship begins to slowly blossom between them.

But as their conditions improve and the end of their stay draws closer, Alfie and Alice are forced to decide whether it’s worth continuing a relationship with someone who’s seen all of the worst parts of you, but never seen your actual face.

A tender novel of healing and hope, Before I Saw You reminds us that connections can be found even in the most unexpected of places—and that love is almost always blind.


I was first drawn in by the cover (the pink and yellow one) and blurb of Before I Saw You. The idea of two people tragically injured and building a friendship (later turning into love) while recovering side-by-side in hospital behind closed curtains seems incredibly sweet and such an amazing premise.

However, unfortunately, the story itself fell a little flat for me. It was very slow going and I really struggled to like either of the main characters. That being said, this book is very character driven and heavily relies on developing the communication between characters so it was really wonderful to see how the author was able to portray that.

This book was very different from the usual types of romances I read, so I definitely have a differing opinion on it. There were a few moments I liked and several that weren’t my cup of tea; but overall, I’m glad to have picked it up and given it a go.

As a side note (and unrelated to the review of the actual story), the pink and yellow version of the book cover is quite misleading. The tragic accidents that occur for the main characters are about Alfie losing his leg and Alice having significant burns across her body. The pink and yellow cover does not show or even allude to these injuries and given that its a huge aspect of the story, I feel like it was a bit of a missed opportunity to further emphasise this book has diverse characters.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Random House UK and Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase your copy TODAY!
Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Want more romance recommendations and reviews similar to Before I Saw You?
Check out these titles!
The First Date – Zara Stoneley
The Switch – Beth O’Leary
Up Close and Personal – Kathryn Freeman
Our Stop – Laura Jane Williams


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