'I felt constantly surprised and fortunate that she was interested in me. Was that love?'
- Gus (Miss You)
'If ever a couple was 'meant to be' it's Tess and Gus. This is such a witty, poignant and uplifting story of two lives criss-crossing over the years, with near-miss after near-miss... I couldn't put it down.'
- Sophie Kinsella
'MISS YOU is utterly charming, engaging, moving, a story which is both wonderfully romantic yet also true to life.'
- Kate Mosse
'MISS YOU is one of those lovely, comfy duvets of a book that pulls you in and wraps itself around you. A beautifully simple idea, and a simply beautiful book.'
- Simon Toyne
'Two lives are unknowingly interwoven in this tantalising, perfectly-pitched journey through a crater-filled emotional landscape. MISS YOU is charming, comforting, acutely honest and belongs on the same shelf as ONE DAY.'
- Mark Ellen
The novel opens in Florence in 1997. Tess is enjoying the final day of a camping holiday after learning she has achieved the grades she needs to escape to university from her dull home town. Also in Florence that day is Gus, about to become a medical student and looking forward to getting away from his grief-stricken family.
Tess and Gus happen to stand next to each other while gazing at the golden mosaic of Christ in San Miniato al Monte and, later that day, their paths cross again when she asks him to take a photo of her and her best friend Doll on the Ponte Vecchio. For the next sixteen years, Tess and Gus’s separate lives will glance against each other, always just missing the chance to connect, before, in 2013, they both find themselves in Florence again...
Miss You charts the hopes and dreams of the millennial generation and asks:
In our increasingly connected world, is it still possible to miss the person who is right for you?
Translation rights in Miss You have been sold in 26 languages and the novel will be published in the following territories: USA, Canada, Italy, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden, France, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Brazil, China, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Russia, Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Iceland.
In the kitchen at home, there was a plate that Mum bought on holiday in Tenerife with a hand-painted motto: Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
It had never registered with me any more than Dad’s trophy for singing, or the New York snow dome my brother Kevin sent over one Christmas, but that last day of the holiday, I couldn’t seem to get it out of my head.
When I woke up, the inside of the tent was glowing orange, like a pumpkin lantern. I inched the zipper door down carefully so as not to wake Doll, then stuck my face out into dazzling sunlight. The air was still a little bit shivery and I could hear the distant clank of bells. I wrote the word ‘plangent’ in my diary with an asterisk next to it so I could check it in the dictionary when I got home.
The view of Florence from the campsite, all terracotta domes and white marble towers shimmering against a flat blue sky, was so like it was supposed to be, I had this strange feeling of sadness, as if I was missing it already.
There were lots of things I wouldn’t miss, like sleeping on the ground – after a few hours, the stones feel like they’re growing into your back – and getting dressed in a space less than three feet high, and walking all the way to the shower block, then remembering you’ve left the toilet roll in the tent. It’s funny how when you get towards the end of a holiday, half of you never wants it to end and the other half is looking forward to the comforts of home.
We’d been Interrailing for a month, down through France, then into Italy, sleeping on stations, drinking beer with Dutch boys on campsites, struggling with sunburn in slow, sticky trains. Doll was into beaches and Bellinis; I was more maps and monuments, but we got along like we always had since we met on the first day at St Cuthbert’s, aged four, and Maria Dolores O’Neill – I was the one who abbreviated it to Doll – asked, ‘Do you want to be my best friend?’
We were different, but we complemented each other. Whenever I said that, Doll always said, ‘You’ve got great skin!’ or ‘I really like those shoes,’ and if I told her it wasn’t that sort of compliment, she’d laugh, and say she knew, but I was never sure she did. You develop a kind of special language with people you’re close to, don’t you?
My memories of the other places we went to that holiday are like postcards: the floodlit amphitheatre in Verona against an ink-dark sky; the azure bay of Naples; the unexpectedly vibrant colours of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, but that last, carefree day we spent in Florence, the day before my life changed, I can retrace hour by hour, footstep by footstep almost.
Doll always took much longer than me getting ready in the mornings because she never went out without full make-up even then. I liked having time on my own, especially that morning because it was the day of my A-level results and I was trying to compose myself for hearing if I’d done well enough to get into university.
On the way up to the campsite the previous evening, I’d noticed the floodlit facade of a church high above the road, pretty and incongruous like a jewel box in a forest. In daylight, the basilica was much bigger than I’d imagined, and as I climbed the grand flights of baroque steps towards it, I had the peculiar thought that it would make the perfect setting for a wedding, which was unlike me because I’d never had a proper boyfriend then, let alone pictured myself in a long white dress.
From the terrace at the top, the view was so exhilarating, I felt an irrational urge to cry as I promised myself solemnly – like you do when you’re eighteen – that I would one day return.
I've always been fascinated by how many people’s lives touch ours each day, how many encounters we have, or almost have. I often find myself thinking about this on holiday. In the albums full of photos of me with friends or family in beautiful, iconic places - the Ponte Vecchio, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, St Mark's Square Venice - there must be dozens of people in the background whose paths intersected with ours for just that moment. And we are also in the albums or on the refrigerator doors of people we have never met, or perhaps met just briefly - in the days before the selfie stick - when we handed over our camera and asked 'Would you mind...?'
The inspiration for Miss You was simple: What if a person whose life collided with yours for just a few seconds was the person you should be with?
I immediately saw my two principal characters very clearly - Tess vivacious and honest, Gus rather more troubled and reticent – and I began to wonder what had made them like that, and what the future had in store for them…
Q: You refer to ice cream at different places in the novel and mention many different flavours. What’s your flavour of choice?
A: I love Italian ice cream and the flavour(s) I choose really depends on my mood and where I am. In Ostuni in Puglia a couple of years ago, we discovered a tiny artisan gelateria just off the main square that offered just a few flavours because they used only the fruit or nuts in season. Their pistachio was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. After a day’s sightseeing, I think it would be pretty difficult to beat the deliciously refreshing pear sorbet at Gelateria dei Neri in Florence (which I mention in MISS YOU).
Q: There are many beautiful Florence landmarks and places on interest mentioned in the book. Do you have a personal favourite?
A: Florence is such a spectacularly beautiful city, it’s hard to choose just one, but if I had to, then it would be San Miniato al Monte, not just for the marble façade, or the golden mosaic, but the view over Florence from outside the basilica is simply breathtaking.
Q: Beside Florence, London is a prominent setting in the novel. Does the capital have any significance to you?
A: Like Tess in Miss You, I was brought up in a dreary small town and longed to escape to London. At the age of ten, I learned the tube map off by heart so that I would be ready, as soon as the opportunity came! During university I worked all my holidays in London, first in Harrods, then in the box offices of West End theatres. After finishing university, I lived and worked in London until we decided to move to the coast when our son was five years old because we thought it would be great for him to grow up by the sea. But if anyone asks where I’m from, I still always say London.
Q: You make several references to art (sculptures, monuments, paintings, novels, poems...). Are you a keen arts & culture enthusiast?
A: I enjoy going to art galleries, and when I see an exhibition I love, I go back again and again. I found the Matisse Cut Outs exhibition at Tate Modern so uplifting that I saw it ten times. I am on my fifth visit to the Painting the Modern Garden exhibition currently at the RA. I’m also mad about dance. I’m a huge Strictly fan and I’ve recently started learning ballroom dancing. I also adore the pure romance of classical ballet – and we are so lucky in the UK to have two of the world’s best companies, the Royal Ballet and the English National Ballet, as well as many high-quality regional dance companies.
‘Hugely enjoyable romantic comedy with a great premise . . . Thoroughly deserving comparison with David Nicholls’ wonderful One Day (and I don’t say that lightly), this is commercial fiction of the very highest order’
‘If David Nicholl's novel One Day and Richard Linklater's Before Sunset films were to meet, have a brief, thrilling affair and end up producing an unexpected love child, it would be Kate Eberlen's Miss You. A warm and funny romance that will divert and delight you in equal measure’
‘Gloriously romantic . . . One of those rare books that has you laughing and crying at the same time’
‘Just the thing for long summer nights.’
‘Eberlen . . . excels in creating realistic characters whom readers will adore—including Tess’ unusual sister, Hope; Tess’ sassy best friend, Dolly; and Gus’ impulsive college pal, Nash. Eberlen also shines at keeping the story moving through 16 years of friendship, purpose, and love. Swoon-worthy.’
Booklist (Starred Review)
‘This poignant, smart and exquisitely crafted novel blends very real and loveable characters with a plausible and heartbreaking plot. It's bound to be compared to David Nicholls' epic One Day, but we'd argue that this story offers even more.’ *****
‘There is a courteous nod to One Day in this funny, poignant and really rather lovely ships-in-the-night debut … Funny poignant and really rather lovely.’
‘Tess and Gus may just be the perfect match - the only thing standing in the way of their happy ending is the fact they've not actually met. After their paths cross briefly one day as teens visiting Florence, their increasingly complicated lives continue to tantalisingly criss-cross, as they deal with missed opportunities, demanding families, romantic entanglements and, most challenging of all, the lingering effects of bereavement. Brilliantly constructed, with wonderful characters you'll be cheering on, this romantic story is full of poignant moments, has a huge heart and a massive feel-good factor. Engrossing and entertaining.’
Deirdre O'Brien, Sunday Mirror
‘Inviting comparisons to David Nicholls’ One Day, this is an unashamedly romantic novel, but one that also deals with the ongoing and deep-seated effects of grief. Both intricate and engrossing, its real pleasure lies in Eberlen’s assured writing with its level of detail and rich characterisation.
"Do you think you’ll ever know what it’s like to be someone else?" asks Tess. Thanks to the author’s skill, that’s exactly what we discover.’
‘I adored this book: it is wildly romantic, heart-achingly sad, warmly funny and really clever ... The action spans the past 20 years and the lifestyle detail is perfectly evoked. It’s also jam-packed with memorable characters .... It’s been widely compared to One Day and deserves to do just as brilliantly. In the film, Anne Hathaway would be Tess and the male half of Hiddleswift would be Gus.’
Wendy Holden, Daily Mail
‘...what makes for such a satisfying read is that both narratives are thoroughly absorbing in their own right, with plenty of great subplots, and Tess and Gus proving highly appealing characters who try to lead decent lives, even though they sense something is missing. Now and again, Eberlen's use of coincidence and the slightly soppy moments do perhaps make Miss You a bit of a guilty pleasure––but a pleasure it remains nevertheless.’
James Walton, Readers' Digest
‘Lots of books get compared to One Day and Me Before You but few past muster. Miss You by Kate Eberlen certainly does and I'd highly recommend you make it your summer read of choice. I promise you'll be sobbing all over your sun lounger and will feel all the better for it. I picked this up meaning only to read a couple of pages but could not stop, often laughing and crying at the same time. Perfect summer reading, and so very wise about love and grief.’
Cathy Rentzenbrink, Stylist magazine
‘Miss You is a tumultuous love story of boy-nearly-meets-girl. Tess and Gus are the novel's mixed-up and incredibly relatable leads, strangers but for a brief meeting as pre-university teens. Eberlen expertly charts her characters' parallel paths of giddying highs and crushing bereavements. Ultimately, however, it's her ability to capture the pathos and comfort in the everyday and domestic that had us tearing through chapters.’
‘In the vein of The Versions of Us and One Day … Funny, sad and full of humanity’
‘A neat concept and characters to care about...I loved it’
Fanny Blake, Woman and Home
‘If you liked One Day by David Nicholls, you are going to love this.’
‘If ever a couple was 'meant to be' it's Tess and Gus. This is such a witty, poignant and uplifting story of two lives criss-crossing over the years, with near-miss after near-miss... I couldn't put it down.’
‘MISS YOU is utterly charming, engaging, moving, a story which is both wonderfully romantic yet also true to life.’
‘MISS YOU is one of those lovely, comfy duvets of a book that pulls you in and wraps itself around you. A beautifully simple idea, and a simply beautiful book.’
‘Two lives are unknowingly interwoven in this tantalising, perfectly-pitched journey through a crater-filled emotional landscape. MISS YOU is charming, comforting, acutely honest and belongs on the same shelf as ONE DAY.’