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When I'm Gone

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  72,305 ratings  ·  3,496 reviews

Dear Luke,
First let me say—I love you... I didn’t want to leave you...

Luke Richardson has returned home after burying Natalie, his beloved wife of sixteen years, ready to face the hard job of raising their three children alone. But there’s something he’s not prepared for—a blue envelope with his name scrawled across the front in Natalie’s handwriting, waiting for him

Kindle Edition, 366 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Lake Union Publishing
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Jolyse Barnett I don't recall any profanity or sex in this book. However, it's an emotional read. Be prepared if you've lost someone due to cancer. …moreI don't recall any profanity or sex in this book. However, it's an emotional read. Be prepared if you've lost someone due to cancer. (less)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  72,305 ratings  ·  3,496 reviews

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Megan Johnson
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who love mysteries but want something with more emotion
Shelves: general-fiction
Emily Bleeker's new novel, 'When I'm Gone,' is about Natalie Richardson. But the thing is, Natalie is dead. But through letters and secrets slowly being uncovered, she's continuing to control the way her husband and those that she left behind are able to live. Yes, they loved Natalie dearly, but this new information is making it hard to believe that Natalie was the person that they all felt they knew.

What would you do if you started to receive letters from someone who had recently passed away?
I picked up this audiobook with my Kindle Unlimited subscription. This is the second book that I've read by this author and I have to say that I enjoyed this book quite a bit. As expected, it was a very sentimental read. However, it wasn't the depressing tearjerker that I had imagined it would be.

Luke Richardson has just buried his wife, Natalie. He is now a single father, trying his best to hold it all together when he really just wants to curl into a ball and hide. His pain was palpable.

Mar 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
I am shocked by the positive reviews this book has. It should have been a lifetime movie. I feel dumber having read this trite and tired exploration of grief and relationships. Easily the worst book I have read in many years. This is what I get for choosing a book based on the cover.

Skip this one, friends. It's terrible.

Dear Luke,
I should have stopped reading this book when I realized the characters weren't fully developed, and the plot belonged on Lifetime television, and not even as one of
Elyse  Walters
"Are you afraid of death, or are you afraid of leaving your family?"
......the above sentence brought tears to my eyes ...( I took in the magnitude of the question).

Enjoyed it!
Took value from it
Plan to explore a few questions for myself
I didn't give a rats ass if the writing had a few flaws ( hell, so does life)...overall...
I found the entire premises intriguing....
I liked the characters that I got to hang out with...

I looked inward. My very close friend Barbara, died of Cancer, 26 years ago. M
I stumbled across this book on audible and the synopsis reminded me of one of my favorite movies of all time - P.S. I Love You; so of course, I couldn’t resist. Aside from the similarity of the letters, both from spouses that passed, this is an entirely different story. It's sad and told in a contemplative tone, but somehow still manages to be quite melodramatic in parts.

Luke just lost his wife, Natalie, to cancer and he has to find a way to keep it together for their kids. It’s the surprise ar
Jan 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Last year I read Wreckage by Emily Bleeker, which I quite liked, so I was willing to give When I'm Gone a try. I can get into the occasional sentimental book, but this one was a mixed bag for me. At the beginning of the book, Luke's wife Nathalie dies of cancer, leaving him with three children and a few secrets to uncover. Nathalie had arranged for her best friend Annie to check in on Luke, for 21 year old Jessie to help with the kids, and for letters to arrive on a regular basis with various me ...more
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book is one I have not only read but digested.
Its emotional, its intriguing, its kind of concerning.

Emotional because Luke had to bury his young wife who suffered cancer and didn't win.
Leaving behind three children for him to bring up.
His sadness along with helping his children is an everyday struggle that Annie [his wife's friend] helps him with.

But then comes a letter through his letterbox, its a letter from his dead wife.

I began to think she had got someone to post this after her death.
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good god, the only thing missing in this book was a natural disaster.

I didn't enjoy it much. Too much on the go. Too many coincidences. Too much flowery writing.

Apr 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
The first two words that come to mind are 1.) unbelievable and 2.) melodramatic... Let's add 3.) predictable.

I noticed another review mentioning 'heart' but unfortunately, When I'm Gone, lacks just that. While the summary was one that clearly made me want to read the book, the actual content was void of character development. The author describes certain things in painstaking detail (i.e. a mailbox & dirt road) while others that are far more significant, are glossed over. The end result is like
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Celia by: Elyse Walters
I am not going to write an ultra long review about this book. I will say this - I was impressed with the writing AND the story line.

A woman writes letters to her husband from beyond the grave. Who is actually sending them and what role did this person really play in her life?

Natalie Richardson is the woman. She has been married to Luke for 16 years. She dies from cancer and then the letters start arriving. They will eventually reveal some things about Natalie that Luke does not know.

This book is
Catherine McKenzie
I was lucky enough to read an advance reader's copy of this book. I loved Emily's first book, WRECKAGE, and this book was great too. Emily has an ability to unwind a mystery like a coil so that you're always guessing what's going to happen. In WHEN I'M GONE, she does this inside what could otherwise be a familiar plot: a woman's untimely death brings certain secrets to life. Her twist is that the departed wife is actually stage managing what gets revealed and when, and the final twist will leave ...more
Melodramatic at parts, but it has a lot of heart. It is a story about a family working through grief, centered around a mystery. I had a hard time putting it down!

Natalie Richardson passed away after a year-long battle with cancer and her husband Luke is now faced with the daunting task of raising their three children alone while they all deal with immense grief. When Luke returns home from her funeral, there is a letter on the floor…from Natalie! It was written on the first day of her cancer tr
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Luke and Natalie date in high school, go their separate ways and reconnect in college, getting married with a family and the rest of their lives ahead of them, that is until Natalie’s cancer diagnosis. After burying his wife, Luke Richardson returns home, to find a letter with his name written in wife’s familiar handwriting waiting for him. As he prepares to begin raising their 3 children on his own his wife’s letter is the first of many that keep showing up and they become an obsession with him ...more
Judy D Collins
A special thank you to Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Emily Bleeker returns following her debut, Wreckage with another bittersweet story WHEN I'M GONE, domestic suspense; human emotions, family, and secrets between a husband and wife.

As the book opens Luke Richardson is returning to his suburban Michigan home, with his children after Natalie’s funeral. Cancer. They have been married for sixteen years and now he is faced with raising the three
Larry H
Jan 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I'd rate this 3.5 stars.

Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for making it available.

How well do we really know the people we love, those we've built a life with?

If you ask Luke that question about his wife, Natalie, he'd say he knows her better than everyone. They dated in high school before he had to move away, and once they found each other again in college, they seemed de
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Audio book narrated by Dan John Miller 9h 58 min

I am over it! The whole dead wife leaving letters to her husband and trying to manage things beyond the grave like some type of master puppeteer! I often wonder if that is some strange secret desire of married female friends.


Well, I have taken two days to allow myself to mull over what worked for me and what didn't. There is no doubt that Emily Bleeker can write an emotionally charged contemporary family drama. Recently widowed, father of t
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
More of a Lifetime movie than a novel. I kind of hate myself for finishing it.
Jun 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
I envied Natalie being dead because that means that she won't have to read this terrible book. The premise was enticing but be advised that the author grows bored with it and barely uses it after the first half of the book turning instead to story lines from a bad soap-opera. Poorly plotted, poorly written, poorly edited, this was not even worth the $1.99 I paid. And if you still think it sounds good, consider this line: "he was watching her defenses go up like homeowners boarding up their windo ...more
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a nice read. It required allot of patience to read (don't most books?). At points I felt uncomfortable with the way I thought the plot was heading, but then I was easily warmed and intrigued with the story as it unfolded. Once you make it through to the end, I would ask a simple question. Why wouldn't you like this book? ...more
Apr 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I honestly just kept swiping the screen hoping, praying there were more pages, there's no way the book ended the way it did.

This book begins with Luke and his three children returning home from his wife's funeral. Luke just buried the love of his life and his children just buried their mother. Soon after, Luke begins to receive letters from Natalie and almost obsesses over them, they are one of the only things keeping him going.

Honestly, I thought this was going to be a predictable book, I began
Sep 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-finishing
I purchased this book on Deal of the Day on Audible for $3.95 and want my money back. I only made it about 30 minutes in before I started throwing up in my mouth. I sat down to read some reviews and this one might be the best ever:

More of a Lifetime movie than a novel. I kind of hate myself for finishing it.

I saw more reviews mention this should be a Lifetime movie and that someone has already done this - P.S. I Love You.

I can't take cheesy love. I was really hoping someone murdered someone or h
❤Marie Gentilcore
I enjoyed this book. I debated whether to give it 3.5 or 4 stars because the beginning was a little slow but I ended up going with 4 stars because the pace quickened and I liked the ending. It is the story of a man named Luke who loses his wife to cancer. He is raising his daughter and two sons alone when he starts to get letters from his late wife Natalie. I really liked this premise and I thought it was executed well. It turns out Natalie had some secrets which I won't spoil. I'm glad to have ...more
'Q' aka CoCo
I read this because it was chosen as the book of the month for my neighborhood's new book club. (I know, I know... Pick your jaws up off the floor, CySisters; my hermit ass joined a book club). I'm not rating it because it's not my usual genre and it's not something I ever would have picked to read of my own accord.
This was a Lifetime movie waiting to happen. Luke loses his wife, Natalie, after a long battle with cancer, and he's left to raise his three children on his own. Natalie arranged for
Lynn Mccarthy
Aug 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Luck Richardson lost his wife to cancer and now has to care for his 3 children on his own.
On the day of the funeral he finds a letter on his front mat from his wife which she wrote during her illness telling him how to look after the children and how mush she loved him from then he starts to get a letter once a day.As the letters keep arriving Luke begins to wonder if he knew his wife as he thought he did as secrets are told.
The ending of the story was very good.

Thanks to Netgalley the Author an
María Belén
Jul 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: contemporary, adult

The premise of the book reminded me of P.S. I Love You. And that along with the positive reviews made me want read it.

I'm in the minority here but really, this was bad.

The characters are one dimensional. There's no character development whatsoever. And the little boy Clayton, his character was completely unrealistic. He's a 3 year old that talks and behaves like an adult! It was so unbelievable that his lines made me laugh.

The plot is good. There are some mysteries and secrets that could have w
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Luke is a broken and fragile with the loss of his dear wife, Natalie. Natalie was the glue that held everything together, the voice of reason behind everything. Knowing that her presence is not visible, he is torn with how to raise three children by himself. Clayton, his youngest child has so much childhood innocence thinking that his mother will return soon. May has accepted her mother death, but Luke still can see glimpses of his deceased wife traits in her. Will has his mother complexion, dis ...more
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
I thought this was a poorly written book. I read the first five chapters and had to start again because the story took such big leaps and assumptions that I was certain I had missed something. But no, that was just how it was written. I was interested in the premise that the newly widowed man was receiving letters from his late wife but it was a very unsatisfying resolution when it was revealed how this was happening. There was very little character development such that I wasn’t invested in the ...more
Tudor Vlad
A light read that even if not memorable, was exactly what I needed after I nearly fell in a reading slump. This book is about loss, how a person that is gone can still shape your live even after s/he is gone and most importantly, it’s about letting go. It was quite melodramatic at times, the main character even if believable for most parts, comes out sometimes as extremely winy which of course, leads to more drama. There’s also a mystery but unfortunately I didn’t find it engaging at all because ...more
Sep 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Setting: Michigan, USA. Having really enjoyed Wreckage by this author, I was looking forward to this one - but was sadly disappointed with it:-
Luke's wife Natalie has recently passed away after losing her battle with cancer at the age of 37, leaving Luke with three children to raise. From the day of the funeral, Luke begins to receive regular letters from Natalie, giving him advice on dealing with the children but also reminiscing on their past and her struggle with cancer. When eldest son Will
When I'm Gone follows Luke, returning from his wife's funeral to an empty house, finding himself alone without the woman he shared his life with for sixteen years and with the task of raising their three young children. Soon after, blue envelopes with letters handwritten by his wife, Natalie, start showing up at his house with no indication of who's sending them. She started writing them on the first day of her cancer treatment a year ago and in them she reveals aspects of her life that Luke was ...more
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Emily lives in suburban Chicago with her family. Between writing and being a mom, she attempts to learn guitar, sings along to the radio (loudly), and embraces her newfound addiction to running.

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