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You Came Back

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  1,173 Ratings  ·  255 Reviews
Thirty-something midwesterner Mark Fife believes he has successfully moved past the accidental death of his young son Brendan, as well as his subsequent divorce from his college sweetheart Chloe. He's successful, he's in love again, and he believes he's mastered his own memories.

But then he is contacted by a strange woman who tells him not only that she owns his old house
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2012)
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John Luiz
Jun 26, 2012 John Luiz rated it it was amazing
You Came Back is everything you want a literary novel to be - a great premise that draws you in, fully realized characters that provide a deep insight into what it means to be human, and a writing style that gives you the feeling you're in the hands of a talent that won't let you down. Here Coake explores the ramifications of parents who suffered the loss of a child and had their marriage crumble as a result. The novel picks up seven years later when their lives have started to pick up again, an ...more
Apr 18, 2012 Lisa rated it it was ok
Draaaaaaggggged. My god did this book drag. Interesting premise, promising start, but entirely too self-indulgent. Pages and pages of how the main character feels about his ex-wife, pages and pages of how he feels about his son, pages and pages of how he feels about his fiance, then even MORE pages about how he feels about his ex-wife AND his son. Oh Lawd! It's too much, all this "feely" stuff. Entirely too little action and the plot moved forward at a snails pace. Would have benefited from some ...more
Dale Harcombe
Two and a half stars
How does a person cope with the death of a child? That is the situation for Mark Fife and Chloe. Their marriage was only one of the causalities from the death of their seven year old Brendan. Mark believes though he has managed to move on and repair his life a bit after meeting and ended up in a relationship with Allison. He has even got the drinking problem under control, until Connie, the current owner of the house in which Mark and Chloe lived and Brendan died, tracks Mark
Sep 23, 2012 Barb rated it it was ok
I read this just in the nick of time to revoke its nomination as a book club choice, thank goodness. We affectionately refer to ourselves as "The Bad Book Club" and this would have been a contender for the worst of the bad. Thankfully I took one for the team and saved them the hours they would have lost reading this.
Jul 09, 2012 Kiki rated it it was ok
Review copy from NetGalley

I'm not sure what compelled me to want to read this novel, since the very thought of losing a child is enough to make me sick, but I think it was the possible "ghost" element that spurred my interest.

I was just reading last night (in the current issue of Psychology Today) that 32% of Americans believe that spirits of the dead can return, 37% believe in haunted houses, and 16% aren't sure. They also mentioned the fact that bereavement increases the chance of a visit fro
Jan 20, 2013 Lynn rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 20, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
This second novel by Coake will stay with you long after you've put it down. Thirty-something Mark Fife is on the brink of starting a new life with his fiance, several years after his 7-year-old son Brendan dies in an accidental fall and his wife divorces him. Until he meets Connie Pelham, the woman now living in the Victorian house where Brendan died. She's sought him out to tell him something unimaginable--that the ghost of Brendan is still in the house, and he wants his father.

I love ghost s
Aug 25, 2012 Jackie rated it it was ok
Debated on 3 stars but just could not justify that 1 extra. This book had so much potential and kept me interested for about 150 of the 416 pages. The story dragged on way too long without adding one thing other than totally convincing me the main character was a two timing weakling. This is a story of fraud, betrayal, tragedy, weak men and strong women. The book is about 100 pages too long with even the ending being too long, not to mention, (but I will) a tad frustrating. This is my opinion an ...more
Nov 04, 2012 Tania rated it liked it
A well written debut novel on an intriguing subject. If your son died falling down the stairs, and a few years later you heard that his spirit was calling for you in your old house, would you want to believe that it's true? The grief, self-doubt, co-dependant relationships, denial and self-destruction is brillianty described by Coake, and will stay with me for a while. 3.5 stars
Jun 15, 2012 TC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark is in his 30s and finally finding happiness again, having endured the loss of his 7 year old son and the subsequent break up of his marriage. Having hit a low while grieving for Brendan he has now moved on and is in love with Allison. He is on the verge of proposing when an unwelcome woman comes barging into his life.

She lives in the house where his son's accident occurred and claims he is haunting the house. Mark's father is very logical and has raised him to be the same, so he tries to i
Feb 17, 2013 Jacqui rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Losing a loved one to sudden death feels a lot like losing your sanity. Rationality is gone, and everything and everyone suddenly seems at peril – life as you knew it has been ripped away. Losing a child is, for most of us, unthinkable. Clearly, this sense of wrongness underlies and informs the actions and motivations of the main character – Mark, the grieving dad. It also explains the behavior of his ex-wife, the mom. So why did I spend so much of this book annoyed and impatient with Mark? As m ...more
Jan 13, 2012 Rose rated it really liked it
That I'm neither a parent nor have I ever lost someone I loved & yet felt this story deep in my bones is a testament to Christopher Coake's talent as a storyteller & writer. He had me hooked on this story within a few short pages. It was sad as the theme is about losing a child & the toll it takes on his parents, but it was also a bit hopeful, with the possibility of somehow finding a way to not just continue living past the grief but overcoming it so that life can somehow be somethi ...more
Nov 26, 2012 Nadia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely loved this book. I felt the anxiousness and heart-ache in every page, every paragraph. I was stunned to find out this is Christopher Coake's debut novel and I will definitely be looking out for his next book

To lose a child must be one of the most heart wrenching experiences on this earth and I hope I never have to experience it.

Before I had children I imagined how it would be to love a child, but when I had my children I found out I was way off. The following quote from the book des

Erm okay; low three.
Mar 03, 2013 Laura rated it it was ok
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie, Wanda
From BBC radio 4 Extra:
Supernatural thriller about a man trying to rebuild after the accidental death of his son.
Fiona Robson
Apr 25, 2013 Fiona Robson rated it it was amazing
“You were loved and lost ... then you came back.

Thirty-something Mark Fife believes he has moved on from the accidental death of his young son Brendan and the subsequent break-up of his marriage. He's successful, in love again, and he thinks he's mastered his own memories at last. But when a strange woman tells him she believes her house is haunted by Brendan's ghost, his life is thrown into turmoil.

Mark doesn't believe in ghosts, but his distressed ex-wife does, and he really wants to help her
Erin Duffey
Aug 22, 2012 Erin Duffey rated it liked it
Mark Fife is on the verge of starting a new life with a woman he loves several years after his 7-year-old son dies and the divorce from his son's mother.

Connie Pelham, the woman now living in the Victorian house where Brendan died, finds Mark and tells him that it's haunted with Brendan's ghost. Connie also reaches out to Chloe, Mark's ex-wife and Brendan's mother to tell her the same thing.

Mark becomes obsessed and withdrawn over the possibility of reconnecting with his son. He and Chloe star
Terri Tinkel
Sep 03, 2012 Terri Tinkel rated it liked it
Shelves: family, marriage, children
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It's the story of a couple who have a son. The son dies by accident (before the story began). Of course, both of the parents are filled with grief and sorrow. They don't want to blame each other but they do and their marriage has fallen apart. Each of them is trying to pick up the pieces and go on. Seven years have passed when this story begins....n A woman comes into each of the couple's lives and tells them that she wants to share some information with ...more
Jun 28, 2012 Su rated it really liked it
I thought this was an extremely interesting book. It dealt with the already troubled marriage of a young couple that explodes into chaos when their young son is killed. The mom cannot forgive the father and even though she is the love of his life, she divorces him. Then 7 years later her husband has a uncomfortable encounter with a stranger who now lives in his old home. She says her young son has been talking to the ghost of his child. An unusual premise, but I was rivetted by it. Mainly you ar ...more
Apr 11, 2013 Laura rated it did not like it
I just couldn't get into this. I think my main problem was Mark and the subject matter. While you were sympathetic to Allie and Chloe, they still felt like caricatures. Sam was wonderful, but he almost seemed like he didn't fit with his son. Even Lew (also a bit of a caricature) was tolerable - he had a place in the story. But Mark was such a jerk that I really didn't care what happened to him.

As a parent of young kids this would be a hard book for me to get through. But I thought it might be wo
Angela M
Aug 31, 2014 Angela M rated it it was ok
I was expecting a more spiritual story, where the ghost of the boy positively affects the parents he left behind. I was disappointed. I understand that Mark and Chloe were deeply hurt by the loss of their son. But Mark was very unlikeable:drank too much, still stuck on his ex wife, and I think he treated Allison shabbily. I agree with reviewers who said the story dragged. The only characters I liked were Sam And Lew. I just wanted to slap some sense into Allison for being with Mark when he obvio ...more
Susan Schuler
Jun 10, 2012 Susan Schuler rated it really liked it
This book is hauntingly well written. The grief of Mark and Chloe is palpable. The plot is resfreshingly original and has the reader questioning their own beliefs about the afterlife, grief and searching for peace when you are heart broken. This is an incredibly fast read and well worthwhile.
Dec 01, 2012 Clare rated it really liked it
Recommended to Clare by: The Times Book Club
Excellent book about a couple whose marriage broke up when their son died. The new owner of their house pursues them to tell them that the ghost of their son is haunting the house. It shows the couple's overwhelming grief and how they cope (or don't). It is a bit overlong but I was really gripped.
Jul 08, 2012 Gina rated it really liked it
It's hard to review this book without spoilers, so be warned - mild ones ahead. As a mom, it was a hard topic to read about, and I found myself hoping for a different outcome, simply because I know I would want what this mother wanted.
Gerhard Jason
Sep 04, 2013 Gerhard Jason rated it really liked it
Recommended by my daughter, and passed on to my wife. Give it a shot, you might like it too.
Tracy Kachurka
Jul 11, 2012 Tracy Kachurka rated it really liked it
Loved this book! Was a much lighter read after the last few that I have read. I couldn't put it down though. I finished it in two days and was sad when it was over.
Nancy Machata
Mar 08, 2017 Nancy Machata rated it did not like it
kept thinking it would get better....
Jan 13, 2013 Lettersalad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: auf-deutsch
Mark Fife und seiner Frau Cloe passiert das Schlimmste, was Eltern nur passieren kann: Ihr Sohn Brandon stirbt durch einen Unfall. Für die kleine Familie ändert sich danach alles und nun, sieben Jahre später sind Mark und Cloe geschieden, haben ihr Haus verkauft und versuchen, jeder auf seine eigene Weise irgendwie weiterzuleben.

Ein Mal im Jahr, an Brandons Geburtstag treffen die beiden sich immer noch zum Essen. Dieses Jahr ist jedoch vieles anders. Kurz vor Brandons Geburtstag wird Mark von ei
Aug 15, 2014 Hannah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those novels that is likely to stay with whoever reads it for a very long time and one that may certainly lead the reader to question how they would feel and how they would react were they ever to be confronted with the circumstances detailed within its pages.

Having suffered the loss of his seven year old son, Brendan, and the subsequent break-up of his marriage to Chloe, Mark has now moved on and is happily in love with Allison, so much so that within the first few pages of the
Aug 28, 2012 Kimberly rated it really liked it
Mark Fife believes he has moved past the death of his seven year old son, and the collapse of his marriage. Living with his girlfriend Allison, and ready to propose to her, he is thrown off balance by the arrival of a strange woman who claims his dead son, Brendan, still haunts the old house they used to live in. And that Brendan is calling for him.

Mark doesn't believe in ghosts, but the temptation is too strong to check out the house and see if his beloved boy is haunting the place. Throw in hi
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