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I Know You're There

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Jill Bradley is a 24-year-old nurse whose life is going great; she’s established herself in her new career, and she’s looking forward to getting engaged to her high school sweet heart. When life’s tide changes and she is bombarded by tragedy, loss, and betrayal all at once, she can no longer cope. In a moment of despair, she books a trip to a Caribbean island in an effort to escape her problems. She finds respite and romance, but her problems have also packed their own suitcase.

Helen Bradley is Jill’s mother. Like many mothers of her time, she has dedicated her life to her life to her family. Despite her best efforts, however, she hasn’t always been able to be the type of mother she wished she could be. She has a secret she was hoping would just go away, but it won’t. If she doesn’t share it with her daughter, Jill, it might bring Jill more harm.

I Know You’re There is a mother-daughter journey, celebrating the highs and delving in to the lows of family life. Can the power of love heal all things?

252 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2013

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About the author

Susan Allison-Dean

3 books85 followers
Susan Allison-Dean is an advanced board-certified Holistic Nurse. While creating healing gardens for her clients, she felt a nudge to write a novel. As much as she tried to shoo the idea away, it insisted on being written and 'I Know You're There' was born. Then came a sequel, 'By The Sound Of The Crow'. Her third novel is due out this summer.

She has authored several clinical and horticulture articles and was a contributing author to the bestselling book, Touched By A Nurse. She is passionate about the sea and loves exploring tropical islands. She extends this passion by doing volunteer work benefitting dolphins and whales. Sue splits her time between Armonk, New York and Cary, North Carolina, with her husband and English bulldog, Bubba.

Susan’s first two novels are set in the picturesque Hudson Valley, New York with escapes to the tropical Caribbean Island, Triton. Her novels are widely shared amongst mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.

Connect with Susan on Facebook (The Nature Nurse), Twitter (@thenaturenurse), Pinterest, Instagram (@thenaturenurse) or friend her on Goodreads.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews
Profile Image for Aditi.
920 reviews1,321 followers
October 24, 2014
Anita Diamant, an American author, has explained the bond between a mother and her daughter, as,
“The more a daughter knows the details of her mother's life, the stronger the daughter.”

And that's what, I Know You're There by Susan Allison-Dean is all about! A mother's secret and a daughter's moment to learn it and how still after learning the truth, their bond falters, but never breaks apart. Jill is one such character that would love to hold on to her forever, she is sweet and determined and has a mind of her own.

I would like to thanks to the author, Susan Allison-Dean, for giving this opportunity to read her novel.

Jill works as a nurse at the Riverview Hospital in NYC. One night after returning from double shift in the hospital, she ends up with a head on collision with a couple's car, who were on their way to childbirth. Only the baby survives, eventually, Jill loses her dream job of working as a nurse. She returns to her parent’s home, only to find out that her mother, Helen had been sick for quite a long time. But when Helen shares the secret, that she had been guarding for so long, with her daughter, it makes her daughter run away from her, so far away to the Caribbean Islands, hoping to find herself, re-connect with what was once left behind with a hint of romance.

I loved the whole story, its dreamy and beautiful and it made me think about my mother more highly, since after Jill leaves to the Caribbean, she realizes about her mother's actions and how much her mother loved her that she protected her from learning the truth which would eventually shatter her. Most above all, I loved the character of Helen, as a mother, she is the perfect epitome for being the "perfect mother" for all the mothers around the world. And, Jill, un-doubtedly acts on an impulse, on learning the secret, but eventually, she understands it and I adored her profession and her selflessness is something to cherish for. The author has done a great job to portray these two primary characters of her book, so vividly and very soon in the book, you'll find yourself reconnecting with Jill and with Helen. The emotions that the author has crafted out along with the characters are quite strikingly and thus we can feel those emotions very deeply. Once feeling guilty, it becomes quite difficult to forgive, but the author has quite marvelously, depicted this thing among Jill and Helen. NYC and Caribbean were also very well represented by the author, captivatingly and you might find yourself breezing away in beaches of Caribbean along with Jill.

A must read for all mothers, daughters and last but not the least the medical "angels" nurses.
Profile Image for Linsey.
45 reviews2 followers
July 29, 2013
I got this book free through a giveaway.
I was instantly hooked into the book and wanted to know more. The book was very interesting although I wished it ended differently. I wish it would have included Bane and about where his life was 5 years later as well. Other than this I loved it
Profile Image for Susan.
1,110 reviews183 followers
November 2, 2013
I KNOW YOU'RE THERE is a debut novel by Susan Allison Dean. It is the story of Jill Bradley. She is a nurse that has a pretty sweet life. One night after working a double shift her life changes forever. She is involved in a car accident that kills the couple in the other car but spares their unborn baby's life.

After she moves back home to rehab she finds out her life really wasn't what she thought it was before her accident. After more truth than she can handle about her parents she runs away to regroup. There she is finally able to let go of something she has been carrying around on her shoulders since she was young. She learns a lot about herself and figures out a way to move on.
Profile Image for Amy.
5 reviews1 follower
July 13, 2013
A lovely first novel from this author. Combines issues/places that she obviously knows very well Descriptions of people and places are very well drawn and realistic, from nursing to the feel of a cove to the colors of sun on a rug. Love, loss and being a caregiver. I enjoyed reading this book.
Profile Image for Allison.
59 reviews
January 16, 2014
Once I started this book I couldn't put it down. I loved the description of heaven and seeing all your loved ones. I loved every character and I didn't want the book to end. I wish the book had continued instead of skipping ahead 5 years. I am highly recommending this to my best friend!
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,392 reviews35 followers
March 17, 2014
In her debut novel, author Susan Allison-Dean weaves an intriguing story that delves into the intricacies of a mother-daughter relationship and family dynamics, the experiences of life's ups and downs, and a journey of self-discovery.

Jill Bradley is a nurse in the adult medical-surgical unit at Riverview Hospital in NYC. After working a double shift, Jill is involved in a car accident on her way home. She hit a car head on with a young couple who were on their way to the hospital to deliver their baby. The couple was fatally injured in the collision, but their newborn baby was delivered and survived. The guilt from the tragedy of the car accident coupled with finding out hidden family secrets, and a devastating loss within her family will change Jill's life forever. Unable to cope with life's traumatic ups and downs, Jill escapes to the Caribbean Island of Triton where she seeks refuge and embarks on a journey of self-discovery, healing, and romance.

Set in NYC and the Caribbean Island of Triton, this poignant story is told in an alternating first person narrative by Jill and her mother Helen. As their story moves between the past and the present, Jill and Helen easily draws the reader into their lives, you can't help but become captivated and embark on a emotional roller coaster ride as their life stories unfold. Dealing with tragedy and guilt, family secrets and betrayal, loss and self-doubt, Jill's journey on the Caribbean island is aided by the spirit of her mother via her journal, and a romantic encounter that will guide Jill in her self-discovery, healing, and enable her to move forward with her life.

The story is broken down into two parts: the first section deals with the intricacies of the mother-daughter relationship between Jill and Helen, while the second section describes Jill's internal journey on the Caribbean island. I thought that the story flowed seamlessly between the alternating timelines and the unfolding of the mother-daughter internal stories. I connected with both Jill and Helen, their relationship took me back to the relationship that I had with my mother. I could relate to their complicated relationship and family dynamic, the painful loss of the mother had me in tears.

The author draws upon her previous nursing experience to describe a realistic picture of the medical field and nursing in particular. As a nursing home administrator, I completely agree with the author's depiction of the issues that nurses face on a daily basis as caregivers, they really are the unsung heroes in the medical field.

What I enjoyed most of all about this story was Jill's journey on Triton Island. It was filled with wonderful descriptions of the island setting, and it had a more lighthearted feel as Jill's inner journey to self-discovery and healing is aided by a sweet island romance.

I Know You're There is a touching and emotional story about the power of love and the ability to heal and move forward after life has thrown unexpected curves.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Profile Image for Stephanie.
551 reviews18 followers
July 7, 2015
I Know You’re There is the story of Jill, a young and caring nurse with a great life ahead of her. She loves her work and life until things take a bad turn. In just a short time, she and her long-term boyfriend cut ties and she gets into a horrific car crash that changes her life. She also discovers tragic family secrets that will shake her to her core. In a bold moment, and not knowing what else to do, she books a spontaneous trip to a faraway island to escape her downward spiraling life. There, she begins to come to terms with what life has thrown her way, and begins to think she can enjoy life once again.

I Know You’re There is a story with a lot of potential. It was a quick read with a very likeable main character that I immediately empathized with. Her need to save and help people is one that many people can relate to, and I enjoyed the nursing aspect as my sister in law is a nurse herself. You can tell that the author knows her stuff, too. She worked as a nurse.

The beginning of the story shows Jill’s life before the car accident, and her life after. She has to learn to deal with a new normal, and learn to take back control of her life. The second half of the story takes place on an island called Triton, described as “Heaven on Earth.” I really enjoyed the scenery and descriptions of the island life; it reminded of my honeymoon!

I did have a couple of problems with the book though. I felt that it could have used some heavy editing. There were a lot of awkward sentences and dialogue, as well as a number of grammatical errors. Most noticeably, I observed a number of times where there was a comma used to separate what should have been two complete sentences. These issues made the story feel a bit disjointed.

As I said, I feel the story had a lot of potential with a highly likeable character and a beautiful setting, that perhaps more focus and editing could have helped with. I thought that the outcome of the car accident, wherein a couple died, leaving their baby an orphan, could have made for a fascinating story. The story, however, took a complete twist and focused instead on Jill, her family, and her trip to Triton.

As always, I give this author a lot of props and credit – she’s written a book and she should be very proud of herself! I would certainly give her future works another shot and believe she had some very good ideas that just needed some better editing and focus.

Note: I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Charlotte Lynn.
1,863 reviews37 followers
August 15, 2013

Nurse Jill Bradley has her life all put together. Great job, amazing co workers, handsome long term boyfriend, and a supportive family. Until she awakes in an icu ward after an accident where the passengers of the other car were killed but a new born baby survives.

When Jill moves back home to rehab she learns that her family has not told her all the truths. She runs away to an exotic island. Will she hide from her problems? Will she face them and move on with her life?

This is a first novel for Susan Allison-Dean. Never knowing what you will find when you open a book, especially a first book, I kept a very open mind. As I started this book early one morning I know that I found a book that would touch my heart and keep me reading all day long. This is not a light and fluffy read. It touches on some very tough subjects such as loss of a parent, cheating, and causing a death. I Know You're There handled each of these subjects with the respect they deserve and made this a very heart touching novel.

Jill is an amazing character. She has a tough job as a nurse and is the type of nurse you hope will be there when you or a loved one find the need for one. Even as Jill was doing her own recovery she still put herself second. She was a co worker, friend, sister, and most of all a daughter before she took care of herself. People like that are rare.

In many books I find myself wishing something was different. In this book I was very happy and satisfied with the whole thing. I would not change a thing. If you are looking for a easy read that touches on heavy subjects, I will highly recommend this book to you.
Profile Image for Kelly.
21 reviews5 followers
February 16, 2014
"I Know You’re There" is Susan Allison-Dean’s first novel. The protagonist, Jill, survives a tragic accident only to experience two more traumatic events soon after. Jill feels betrayed by her brother and father, and her reaction to these feelings and events sets her on a soul-searching journey filled with heartache, adventure, and awakening.

Jill is a strong-enough character with whom I can identify on some levels. I enjoyed this as a quick read and it held my interest as Dean has created an engaging story.

Dean could have given Jill more depth. She jumps from one crisis to the next without allowing the character, or the reader, to fully experience the situation at hand. As a result, the story seems to veer in all directions as well. The first half of the book touches on some heavy issues (but just scratches the surface), whereas the second half of the book reads like a summer romance. Each is fine, but it was distracting to have that split. This could have been two novels. Also, grammatical errors and definition issues (anecdote vs. antidote, for example) made for choppy reading and detracted from the story.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and will pick up her next. I look forward to seeing this new author further develop her writing style.
Profile Image for Marion Grassie.
42 reviews
August 27, 2016
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. Big thanks to Susan Allison-Dean! That being said, the following is my considered review of the book.
This poignant story of a caring young nurse with a seemingly perfect life who is suddenly forced to deal with tragic and life-changing events and to question her family relationships. In order to make sense of her life, she escapes to a Caribbean island.
While the story moves slowly throughout the first half, the pace progresses somewhat during the second half in the detailed and beautifully described tropical island setting.
The novel deals with a myriad of difficult issues including tragedy, loss, remorse, betrayal, family secrets, insecurity and love. Nevertheless, it is quite an easy read.
Although the book would benefit from careful editing, I found it to be a thought provoking and very enjoyable read. I look forward to more from this author.
Profile Image for C.L..
13 reviews
September 25, 2013
This was a sweet, quick read that focuses on mother-daughter relationships, and on the power we find that enables us to move on when life throws unexpected curves. I enjoyed the relationships, but felt that there were some pacing issues. That could just be me, however--I usually lean more toward mysteries and thrillers. Pacing was stronger in the second half and I enjoyed the island setting--a beach vacation on a day when it was a bit dreary outside.:)
9 reviews
June 6, 2015
I received this book and the sequel free in the Goodreads giveaway. I enjoyed this book - the story was engaging, the characters were fairly well-developed and interesting, and I wanted to keep reading to see how things turned out. I like this author and I do look forward to reading more from her, starting with the sequel to this book.
Profile Image for Joanne.
41 reviews
August 19, 2013
I really enjoyed this book....started it last night and finished it this morning. I found the characters and story believable, and most of the characters likable. The only part I wished was developed more was that with Bane. Anyway, great vacation read!
769 reviews2 followers
August 25, 2014
I choose this book from a book review. I was not disappointed. It is a great story about a mother and daughter help each other through tragedy. It was a great story.
514 reviews15 followers
June 16, 2017
This story takes the reader through the depth of loss and despair after 24-year-old nurse , Jill, awakes from a devastating accident, learns of the horrific destruction she has left behind, and decides what to do next. Complications ensue when her mom's behavior disappoints her. What's going on? While she has never been perfect, Jill certainly hoped for more from her at this trying time.
I won't tell you what causes her Mom's confusing behavior, or what other losses Jill suffers before she decides to leave everything behind her for a while, but what I will say is I Know You're There just did not work for me. It left too many stories untold. I don't want to spoil it for you, but anyone who wishes to compare notes, discuss impressions after you read it for yourself, I'd love to address the many holes in the story that drove me crazy. I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, hoping for so much more emotional connection to a story of bereavement, loss, infidelity, romance, family, and forgiveness. It held so much possibility, but just fell short for me.
Profile Image for Christy.
155 reviews
March 19, 2014
4.3 Life Lessons on Forgiving

Jill is a nurse who has always taken her job seriously. Sometimes too serious and one night with her not being able to say NO, she stays for a double shift that causes her to fall asleep behind the wheel and drastically change the way she lives her life. She never thought she would be moving back into her parents home after getting out of the hospital, and learning that she has lost her job that she loves so much. Better yet, she was never prepared for the secret that her mother Helen has been hiding from her for the last few months.

Helen didn't want her kids to miss out on life. She always wanted them to live it to their fullest, she didn't want to risk them losing everything they have built for themselves, when she told them her secret. They would find out sooner or later and she was only protecting their hearts. She knew Jill would want to take care of her, because that is the type of heart she is. And guilt has kept her from being able to really tell Jill how she felt that day, that tragedy struck their lives for a second time.

Jill was shocked and hurt when she finally learned that her mother was ill. She knew she had to step it up and do what she does best.... Take care of her mother until her last breath. What she didn't see coming was the hurt and betrayal by not only her Dad, but her brother as well. She needs to get away and fast, so she does what she is good at......she RUNS.

This book is one of those books you know you will have on your shelf and will be telling everyone about it when you are done. This is an emotionally packed story told in dual POV's that give us an insight on just how close this mother and daughter are in their own personal suffering. Jill wants to apologize for the guilt she has had for so many years and Helen wants to just protect Jill from the hurt. Together they are missing key points in the others lives to the point, that they don't realize that forgiveness was so easy, until it is too late.
Profile Image for Paula.
392 reviews26 followers
November 22, 2013
I won this book in a first reads giveaway on goodreads.com and I am happy to have had the opportunity.

I enjoyed this book. However, I feel like there was so much going on that the author didn't have the opportunity to focus on any one issue adequately. For example: After agreeing to work a double shift at the hospital, Jill is involved in a car accident with a couple traveling to the hospital to deliver their unborn child. The two parents are killed and the baby lives. Initially I thought this was going to be a major part of the story but the author just kind of skimmed over it. The secrets Jill's mother was keeping became much more a focus of the story than Jill's recovery or the horrors of the accident. Something just felt off to me about the revelation about her sister too. Maybe it took too long to be mentioned...I don't know. Like I said - too many tragedies were brought up at once and then not thoroughly explored.

The second half of the book had an entirely different tone than the first half. Jill, understandably, escapes to an island to clear her head and start anew. But, to me, it almost seemed like a whole new story. The tone went from tragic to dreamy way too quickly. I did enjoy the dolphin scenes and Jill's other adventures with Bane. The second half was fun but too detached from the first half for me.

I think this author has a lot of potential and I would love to read more of her work in the future. But, focusing on one issue and going more in depth into character development would have done this story more justice. 3 Stars.
Profile Image for Nash Norden.
296 reviews37 followers
August 26, 2016
I received a copy of I Know You're There by Susan Allison-Dean from the author/CLP Blog Tours as part of the blog tour.

Jill Bradley had a great life. She’s had her career as a nurse and looking forward to getting engaged to her high school sweetheart. Her life changed forever after one night working a double shift. She was involved in an accident that killed a couple traveling to the hospital to deliver their unborn child. The two parents are killed and the baby survived.

At first, I felt like the book was a bit heavy with emotion as Jill faced with lots of difficulty and tragedies at the same time. She was involved in an accident and was about to lose her job and boyfriend. Then she found out about the secret that her parents were keeping from her. At first, I thought that the story was going to feature the baby that survived in the car crash, but no. And I was a bit disappointed on how the author ended the mother, Helen’s point of view in the story. I wished that she had stayed with Jill until the end so that she can see how her daughter recover.

The second part of the book was a bit more fun. It felt like reading a different book with Jill as she escaped to the Caribbean island to start anew. I love some of the scenes in the island, especially when Jill went to explore the island. They were beautiful.I Know You're There was definitely a great mother-daughter read with bits of drama, tragedy, romance and other things.
Profile Image for Glenda.
784 reviews70 followers
September 23, 2013
Jill Bradley is a nurse living near New York City. One night after working a double shift at the hospital, she falls asleep at the wheel and accidentally hits a car on its way to the hospital: with a mother, father, and unborn baby in it. After Jill wakes up from her coma, she learns the parents died, but the baby lived. If this wasn't enough, during her recovery at her parents' home she finds out they have been keeping secrets-some for a long time. Not wanting to stay one more moment in New York over New Year's, Jill hops on a plane to a tiny Caribbean island, hoping to escape. She finds love and with it a way to deal with her problems.

This was a quick and easy read. I didn't really connect with Jill emotionally in this book, I'm not sure why.... I don't think I would have handled things the way she did. Her mother irritated me as well. She just seemed to give up on life and her daughter. And her father? What a jerk. The second half of the book was better than the first for me. I enjoyed reading about life on the tropical island and feel that type of atmosphere can work wonders for calming the soul and restoring priorities. I would have liked a little more info on Bane and the girl at the hospital, or what eventually happened to him. Overall this was a good summer read.
Profile Image for Dee.
1,416 reviews
August 28, 2016
Review Copy Provided By Author

I think if I had read the description that was on goodreads or amazon rather than just the back of the book, I might have been less surprised by the story and possibly enjoyed it more. However, the description on the back of the book was limited to the accident that occurs in Jill’s life, and so I was expecting more reprecussions from that and to have more of a mystery draw out about it – rather than a women’s lit, coping with life, dealing with tragedy that I got. I was also coming off the high of another book that I really loved and so while, this one might have worked for me normally, it just couldn’t compare to previous reads.

The author did have a good writing style and I can’t really find anything word with it, stylistically…it was just that the story line didn’t work for me. Ultimately, in such a short novel (only about 240 pages), I thought that the author tried to cram too much into the story. It just felt like the storyline was superficial and lacked development. Overall I gave I Know You’re There 2 stars.

ETA - something I forgot...I'm kind of confused as to why the author opted to set the book in 1995 rather than the present day...it just felt wrong
Profile Image for Jena.
66 reviews
October 9, 2013
Thank you for sending this to me so promptly..this book seemed to have a great 'structural' outline but didnt seem to quite fulfill it's potential. I felt the island getaway portion lacked depth and seemed cliche and superficial with an occasional in depth idea thrown in....author seems to be emerging as a really strong author...just not this novel
Profile Image for Shelby.
509 reviews69 followers
October 7, 2013
2 1/2 stars so I will give a 3. I had no connection to this book. It took me forever to read. It was a tough subject not to have an opinion on and not one I particularly enjoyed. Not because Im sad or dont like reading about these kinds of things. Quit the opposite-what I believe is in no way would this book work out the way it did.
Profile Image for Laurie Albano.
Author 2 books4 followers
June 16, 2015
I really enjoyed the tale of Jill Bradley and her struggle to find her rightful place in life. It's something we all yearn for, and Jill does it with bravery despite the tragedy that befalls her and the family secrets that come to light.

Susan seems to write with an ease I admired. I'm looking forward to more of Jill's story as well as more of Susan's work.
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