Title: Everything We Left Behind
Author: Kerry Lonsdale
Pub. Date: 7/4/2017
Series: Sequel to Everything We Keep
Genre: Romance, Mystery
Everything We Keep comes the highly anticipated sequel. Told from one man’s two perspectives, Everything We Left Behind effortlessly blends suspense, mystery, and romance in an exploration of loss, resilience, and the compelling need to protect the ones we love at all cost.
Two months before his wedding, financial executive James Donato chased his trade-laundering brother Phil to Mexico, only to be lost at sea and presumed dead. Six and a half years later, he emerges from a dissociative fugue state to find he’s been living in Oaxaca as artist Carlos Dominguez, widower and father of two sons, with his sister-in-law Natalya Hayes, a retired professional surfer, helping to keep his life afloat. But his fiancée, Aimee Tierney, the love of his life, has moved on. She’s married and has a child of her own.
Devastated, James and his sons return to California. But Phil is scheduled for release from prison, and he’s determined to find James, who witnessed something in Mexico that could land Phil back in confinement. Under mounting family pressure, James flees with his sons to Kauai, seeking refuge with Natalya. As James begins to unravel the mystery of his fractured identity, danger is never far behind, and Natalya may be the only person he can trust.
My Review: 5/5
Everything We Left Behind picks up right where Everything We Keep ends. The first book is about Aimee and her search for her one true love, James. When she learns the truth (that he is living a life with a new identity as a man named Carlos), she returns home and moves on from that world. She marries and has a daughter. Fast forward six years later, and Carlos wakes up only to no longer exist. He has returned as James.
This is about James’ struggle to get a grip on his life. All he remembers is his love, Aimee. He has no idea where he is, who he has been the last six years, and what kind of life he was living. Luckily as Carlos he was aware of his condition, and kept a very detailed journal for when James does come back.
There is so much emotion in this book. My heart was with James as he struggled to learn how to live in the present, yet not know anything about the past. Not remembering he has two sons, yet still loving them as though he never skipped a moment, was truly phenomenal. The bond a parent has with their children is undeniable, and the author did a wonderful job of describing just how strong his love is.
We also meet Natalya, who was the love of Carlos. When James realizes his brother, Phil, is being released from prison he escapes to where Natalya resides: Hawaii. I loved the moments James and Natalya shared, falling in love all over again. He is struggling so much with the love he still feels for Aimee, yet the attraction and pull he feels with Natalya is undeniable. I sympathized with Nat as she tries to put her feelings aside, yet struggling with just how strong her love is, even with James.
This is a beautiful and heart wrenching story. The truth James discovers is overwhelming and emotional, but in a very good way. I loved the author’s writing style which made me feel as though I was right there besides James as he learns the truth about his life. This story is told part in the past and present, which also helps to put the pieces together.
My only complaint is I now have to wait until July 2018 to read the next book!!
***My sincerest thanks to the author for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.