I read Kerry Lonsdale’s Everything We Keep earlier this year. Everything We Left Behind is the sequel to that novel. I wasn’t completely thrilled with Everything We Keep, as you can see from my review on Goodreads. It was interesting, but not captivating. The series has a fascinating premise, but I felt like the author was a little scattered. I especially wasn’t as much of a fan of her main character, Aimee. She seems a little whiney and wishy-washy. But, because of the way the first book ended, I decided to give the sequel a chance.
I am so glad I did! Spoiler alert: This review contains a major spoiler for Everything We Keep. Please proceed with caution. And don’t say I didn’t warn you. 😉
Everything We Left Behind opens right where Everything We Keep left off: on James awakening from his fugue state five years after he (as Carlos) finds out that he’s been in a fugue state for nineteen months. If you’re keeping track, he was in a fugue state for six and a half years. The story that follows alternates between “present day” as James tries to navigate the radically different life he has woken up to and “five years ago” as Carlos learns to cope with the realization that he is not actually Carlos, but rather a man named James, whose half-brother tried to murder him.
On Carlos’s side, he tries to focus on living his life as it is now, raising his two sons and avoiding any and all medical treatment. Unfortunately, other people have different ideas. On James’s side, he tries to piece together what exactly happened during the six years that he was Carlos. He has to get to know his sons all over again and learn to live without Amy, the woman he thought he was going to marry.
This story is much better than its predecessor. I believe this is partly Lonsdale getting her footing with the story she was writing and also partly because James/Carlos is simply a much more likable character than Aimee. Seriously, Aimee does not and never did deserve James. Well, maybe at some point when they were kids, but adult Aimee is just not good enough for James. He deserves better, and in the end he gets better. The character development is very well done in this book. Lonsdale has really found her niche (and her footing!). I look forward to the next installment in this series. Her current track record tells me it can only get better from here.
Everything We Left Behind by Kerry Lonsdale gets 4/5 stars.
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