Somebody Like You

A Novel

About The Book

In this beautifully rendered, affecting novel, a young widow’s world is shattered when she meets her late husband’s identical twin—and finds herself caught between honoring her husband’s memory and falling in love with his reflection.

Haley’s three-year marriage to Sam, an army medic, ends tragically when he’s killed in Afghanistan. Her attempts to create a new life for herself are ambushed when she arrives home one evening—and finds her husband waiting for her. Did the military make an unimaginable mistake when they told her Sam was killed?

Too late to make things right with his estranged twin brother, Stephen discovers Sam never told Haley about him. As Haley and Stephen navigate their fragile relation­ship, they are inexorably drawn to each other. How can they honor the memory of a man whose death brought them together—and whose ghost could drive them apart?

Somebody Like You is a beautifully rendered, affecting novel, reminding us that while we can’t change the past, we have the choice to change the future and start anew.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Somebody Like You includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Beth K. Vogt. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

Stephen and Sam Ames had big plans for their lives. Growing up as identical twins, they shared everything from toys to dreams of owning a Mustang. But the painful aftermath of their parents’ divorce and the reality of the war in Afghanistan set them on separate paths and changed their relationship forever. As Stephen begins a journey to make peace with his brother, he discovers one more thing they share, which will require him to step out in faith and trust God for the outcome.  

Topics & Questions for Discussion 

1. Based on the description in the prologue, how would you describe Stephen and Sam’s relationship when they were young boys? How would you describe Stephen? Sam?
 
2. What does Stephen’s conversation with his boss about the pending layoffs in chapter one reveal about his character?
 
3. How would you describe Haley Ames as she enters the story in chapter two? What did you feel toward her when you first met her?
 
4. What happened that created distance and tension in Stephen and Sam’s relationship? In what ways did each of them contribute to the rift in their relationship? Have you ever experienced a similar change in a close relationship? How did you respond?
 
5. Describe how Haley’s family of origin influenced the way she related to her femininity. What were the Jordan family rules (p. 83)? How do they compare with God’s design for Haley as his daughter?
 
6. What do you think Stephen was looking for when he went to visit Haley Ames after his brother’s death? Have you experienced the loss of a close family member or friend? What were some of the ways you expressed your grief?
 
7. In what ways did Stephen and Sam turn out to be identical? In what ways were they very different from each other?
 
8. What did Haley’s growing friendship with Stephen reveal about her marriage to Sam? How did she deal with her pain and disappointment during their marriage?
 
9. Do you think Stephen and Sam’s parents had any responsibility for the distance that developed in the brothers’ relationship? How might they have fostered a different outcome?
 
10. Why did Haley have her heart set on a baby boy? In what ways did baby Kit serve as a catalyst for change in Haley’s life?
 
11. How would you describe Haley’s relationship with God in the aftermath of Sam’s death? What shifted or changed as the story unfolded?
 
12. On p. 122, Haley says: “Praying feels like trickles of water coming out of a hose when someone has tied a big knot in it somewhere.” Have you ever related to this description of prayer? Explain.
 
13. What role did Lily, the childbirth instructor, play in Haley’s life?
 
14. What was the misunderstanding that created distance between Stephen and Haley before Sam’s memorial service? How could each of them have handled the situation differently? What got in the way of honest, direct communication?
 
15. What happened to Haley’s heart as she experienced Stephen’s consistent care? How is Stephen a Christ figure in this story? Describe Haley as the story finishes in contrast with the beginning.
 
16. How did you respond to Stephen and Haley’s developing relationship?

Enhance Your Book Club

 
1. Spend some time reflecting on your family motto or a friend’s family motto. Connections to think about might include money, conflict, gender roles, etc. Consider how your motto either reflects or contradicts God’s design for us as His children. Discuss what you learned with your book club.
 
2. Read Psalm 32. Think about relationships in your life that may have ended abruptly or with an unresolved conflict. Ask God for guidance about how to process any remaining grief or anger.
 
3. Think about someone within your community who is a widow or a widower (potentially a military widow or widower). Discuss ways to serve and encourage them and consider using the time of your next book club meeting to provide tangible help and encouragement to them.
 
4. Invite someone who is an identical twin to talk to your book club. Explore the differences between someone who grows up as a twin and others who have non-twin siblings.   
 

A Conversation with Beth K. Vogt 

You have said that your first novel, Wish You Were Here, took three years to write and your second one, Catch a Falling Star, took three months. How about this one?  

Somebody Like You was also written in a shorter time frame—about three months. However, I tore this novel apart in the editing process in a way I’ve never done with any of my other books. I was challenged by both my mentor and my editors—but even more, the issues within this novel demanded a whole new attention to detail and a willingness to delve into emotion.

What was your inspiration for writing Somebody Like You?  

The initial catalyst for this novel was the fact that I’m a twin. I took the basic twin storyline and turned it inside, outside, upside down and finally created the story of Haley, Sam, and Stephen.

You’ve indicated that you like to distill your stories down to questions. What was the main question for Somebody Like You?  

I started with the question: Can a young widow fall in love with her husband’s reflection? Hidden within that is the novel’s story question, which is: Is it ever wrong to love someone?

How did your experience of being a twin influence the story line? Are you an identical twin?  

I understand the experience of being a twin in a very different way from Sam and Stephen because my sister and I are fraternal twins. Growing up, we had a difficult time convincing people we were sisters, much less twins. My sister and I were very different and yet we experienced the pressure of comparison from teachers and friends, which pushed us apart for a lot of years. And so, because of that, I can understand the separation Sam and Stephen experienced.

Haley Ames struggles to open herself up to vulnerability and intimacy throughout the story. Why do you think this is such a common struggle for women today?  

We each experience events in our lives that create wounds that tell us we aren’t good enough, we aren’t beautiful enough . . . we aren’t enough. And then we compare ourselves to others, believing other women have it all together and we’re the only one who struggles.

What message did you hope to speak through Haley’s gradual awakening?  

Sometimes we let others tell us who we are. We forget who we really are. Love, unconditional love—the kind of love that is there, day in and day out—heals our wounds and allows us to be our true selves again.

You’ve mentioned in other interviews that your husband spent twenty-four years in the military. How did your experiences during those years shape this story?  

During our years in the military, several of our friends lost their husbands. Seeing that—and walking closely with one friend through that—changed me.

How did those losses impact you?  

I always said my husband was in the military and I was along for the ride. I have the greatest respect for military men and women, for the sacrifices they make—and for the families who love them and support them as they serve.

What did you hope to give readers in the prologue—the brief story of Stephen and Sam’s relationship as young boys?  

Oh, I debated the prologue with my mentor, Rachel Hauck. Writers are told not to begin a novel with a prologue. But this is one of those “exceptions to every rule” times. I believe readers needed to see Sam and Stephen as young boys—to see what they lost.

What was uniquely enjoyable about this novel in contrast to your first two?  

Somebody Like You was so challenging to write. Yes, it’s a romance, but it deals with issues of widowhood and estrangement. I believe I stood up to the challenge of writing this story honestly, in a believable way—with the support of my family, mentors, and “spiritual ground support.”

Have you ever had a relationship end abruptly or with unresolved conflict? How did you respond?  

I never imagined that as I wrote Somebody Like You I would also wrestle with estrangement in my own life. It’s been painful—heartbreaking, truthfully. I’ve embraced the truth of the verse in Romans 12: As much as you are able, be at peace with all men. I’ve done what I could . . . and I’ve had to let that be enough for now, trusting that God is working in my life, even when I don’t see anything happening.

What was your inspiration for the tree house? Did you have a tree house as a child?  

I think there’s something inherently hopeful in tree houses—they are the stuff of childhood, of dreams. And I saw a TV show about tree-house builders, which inspired me to weave the tree house more strongly through the story. I never had a tree house as a child, but I always wanted one.

Do you have a family motto you hope your children remember?  

Our family motto is: There’s always room for one more. It grew out of our time as a military family, when we spent so many holidays away from relatives. We always tried to open our home to whoever needed a place to celebrate.

What can we expect from you next?  

I’m one of the authors in the A Year of Weddings series by HarperCollins—I’m the author of the “A November Bride” novella. I’m brainstorming several Colorado romance series . . . so we’ll see what doors God opens!

About The Author

© Lisa Merino

Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction writer who said she’d never write fiction. After saying she’d never marry a doctor or anyone in the military, she is now happily married to a former Air Force family physician. Beth believes God’s best is often behind the door marked “never.” An established magazine writer and editor, she now writes inspirational contemporary romance because she believes there is more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Howard Books (May 13, 2014)
  • Length: 368 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781476737591

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Raves and Reviews

"In Vogt’s quietly beautiful inspirational contemporary, two people learn to let go of the past and discover that God often works in mysterious ways. . . . Vivid depictions of grief and love will tug at every available heartstring. . . . a heartwarming tearjerker about learning what love is. "

– Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Beth Vogt gets better with every book. Somebody Like You wrestles with the tough topics of widowhood and family while wrapped in the heart-warming cocoon of romance. Bravo to Vogt for coming up with an intriguing concept and executing it brilliantly.”

– Rachel Hauck, award-winning author of Once Upon a Prince and Princess Ever After

"A beautiful story of an unexpected second chance at love and redemption by one of my favorite authors. I loved this book!"

– Susan May Warren, bestselling, award-winning author of It Had to Be You

“In Somebody Like You, Beth K. Vogt captures the tender emotions of loss with grace and sincere understanding. An expertly handled story of rekindled hearts and the whisper of a hope-filled future are safe in her very capable hands. For the broken, for the awakening of new love, for the heart that seeks a champion to heal its wounds . . . this is a special book.”

– Kristy Cambron, author of The Butterfly and the Violin

“From heart-wrenching to heart-pounding, Beth Vogt has penned a truly masterful tale of impossible love that is simply impossible to put down. With crisp prose, flesh-and-blood characters who live and breathe on the page, and a poignancy that reaches into one’s very soul, Somebody Like You is not only a must read for somebody like you . . . but for anyone who loves great fiction.”

– Julie Lessman, award-winning author of the Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series

“Beth Vogt captures the reader completely and doesn't let go until the last page is turned. Somebody Like You is a novel that will keep you turning pages well into the night; challenge, inspire, and encourage; and leave you wanting more. As a longtime fan of Beth's writing, I was immediately captured by this unique story. Realistic characters who face real challenges with courage, grace, and faith make this novel one you don't want to miss. As always, Beth does not disappoint. A great read!”

– Catherine West, award-winning author of Yesterday's Tomorrow & Hidden in the Heart

“Beth Vogt does it again! Somebody Like You weaves a heartfelt story of life and loss, love and regret, remembering what was and embracing what is. Haley and Stephen's journey reminds us that God can use the messiest of circumstances to offer healing, hope, and abundantly more than we dare to ask.”

– Katie Ganshert, award-winning author of Wildflowers from Winter & Wishing on Willows

“Woven with grace and sensitivity, author Beth K. Vogt sheds a tender light on the human spirit in this bittersweet story of love and loss. Beautiful and emotion-packed, the only bookmark for this is a Kleenex, for Somebody Like You will tug at your heart in a way that is not easily forgotten.”

– Joanne Bischof, award-winning author of Be Still My Soul and Though My Heart is Torn

“Somebody Like You is a story filled with characters I adored from the opening paragraphs. Two people trapped by choices in the past must choose whether to remain mired in the ramifications or step into the future. I couldn’t wait to return to the story and the journey. At the end, I sighed, longing for just a few more pages with my new friends. A perfect read for those who like a romance with a rich story and heart.”

– Cara Putman, award-winning author of Shadowed by Grace

“Poignant, intriguing, and not without its lighter moments, too, Beth Vogt’s Somebody Like You captured me from the first chapter. The unique premise—can a woman fall in love with her brother’s reflection?—had me curious from the start, but it was the emotional depth combined with heart-tugging characters that had me reading until late at night. A beautiful story, beautifully told.”

– Melissa Tagg, author of Made to Last and Here to Stay

“The lovely and talented Beth Vogt weaves truth, grace, and romance into her novels. With a poignant plot and a tenderness that grips your heart, Somebody Like You is a story to be savored. Vogt shows how God restores the brokenness in lives for his happily ever after. This engaging read brought tears to my eyes several times, but it concluded with a heart-sighing smile.”

– Lisa Jordan, award-winning author of Lakeside Reunion and Lakeside Family

“Somebody Like You grabbed my interest from page one and didn’t let go. Beth K. Vogt pens this heart-wrenching and tender romance between a military widow and her husband’s estranged twin brother with the deftness and assurance of a skilled storyteller, rendering deep emotion without ever dissolving into melodrama. My only complaint is that it had to end! If Beth’s first two novels marked her as an author to watch, Somebody Like You proves she’s here to stay.”

– Carla Laureano, author of Five Days in Skye

“The tragedy of widowhood dampens the joy of new motherhood, but the faithfulness of God brings Haley the possibility of a whole new life in an unexpected way. Somebody Like You takes you on an emotional journey to witness the bravery of a widow in the face of impossible circumstances. Beth Vogt has written a book you will not soon forget.”

– Elizabeth Byler Younts, author of Promise to Return

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