Series: Everything We Keep #2
Published by Lake Union Publishing on July 4, 2017
Source: the publisher
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From the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of 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.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
As soon as I finished Everything We Keep, I started reading this book. I loved the first one, but when I realized the second book would be featuring James/Carlos, I was all in. His story seemed so mysterious and after the first book had that crazy ending, I just had to know more about…what happened in Mexico.
You need to know that Everything We Left Behind by Kerry Lonsdale is a true sequel to Everything We Keep, which means that you shouldn’t read it without reading the previous book first. Otherwise: spoilers! Also, you if you haven’t read the first book and you proceed with this blog post, you may be spoiled a little. But I’ve tried to avoid that. You’ve been warned, okay?
Everything We Left Behind picks up with the epilogue of the first book and moves at a steady pace throughout. I really think the pacing is much better in this book than the first one, which is awesome. I never felt like I wanted to put the book down, not even once. It actually drove me crazy that I had to stop reading to go to sleep; as soon as I got up this morning, I picked it right back up and finished while I drank my coffee. I HAD TO KNOW THE ENDING. I just had to know.
I want to try to avoid discussing plot, because spoilers, but:
This book did a great job addressing many of the questions that I had after finishing the first book and it also answered a bunch of questions that I didn’t really know that I had. Some of it was a little bit painful to read because I know how I wanted things to be with these characters. But when I go back and think about it, I don’t really think my way would have worked! The way things ended up is so much better than I could have chosen.
I really felt torn at the ending of the first book [about how things were left], but I’m feeling really solid now.
In this book, there are dual perspectives: James and Carlos both tell the story. This helped me feel the confusion and anxiety that they both must have experienced along the way with their lost memories, with rebuilding their lives, when they found out about various betrayals, when they were trying to comfort the people they loved, etc etc etc. I think it made it easier to connect with them as characters and I love that. I felt a sense of being surrounded by the story, and I’m attributing this to having both James and Carlos tell it.
Also, sidenote, but I just want to say that I loved Natalya Hayes as a character. She shows up in both perspectives and is so seamlessly written that she never changes from the vantage point of the narrator. I’m not sure if that means a great deal here, since I’m trying not to spoil the plot for you all, but she is basically the only unchanging character in this book. The author excels at crafting and developing her characters, and it sticks out to me especially in the case of Natalya being written so well in this book.
Conversely, I really cannot stand Claire. I didn’t like her in the first book, and I like her so much less after finishing this second book. I never could find it in myself to connect with her in any way, and you know what? Sometimes it feels good to not like a character so much. So be it.
Now that I’ve read two of Ms. Londale’s books, I think I can safely say that I’m really into her writing style. She has this easy fiction with a slower, easier suspense and some mystery thrown in, and I love it. It kept me turning the pages until my eyes were burning and begging for me to stop.
So I think it’s fair to say that I’m definitely a fan of this author and I’m now DYING for more of this story. I was thrilled when I saw the note at the end of my copy of the book stating that there will be a third book, publishing in 2018. But oh the wait! I know it’ll be here before I know it, but right now it feels like forever.