Monday, August 28, 2017

My take on: Everything We Keep

Aimee Tierney's wedding day should have been the happiest day of her life. But instead of a day filled with joy, Aimee spent that day burying her fiance, James. Aimee's struggles to move on and rebuild her life are at the heart of Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale.

Aimee's dreams of spending the rest of her life with James are dashed when he dies in a boating accident in Mexico. A life without James is unimaginable. Moving on is unimaginable. Outside of working as a chef at her parents' restaurant, Aimee's entire life was James. Her friends, Nadia and Kristen, insist that Aimee needs to focus on what she wants out of life. But it's hard to move on when a psychic, named Lacy, contacts Aimee and insists that James is alive. Aimee never saw his body, James' brother Thomas didn't allow it. Some of James' artwork is missing from their home. Is all of this just a coincidence? Is he really alive?

Giving up hope on the love of your life isn't easy. Aimee and James were childhood sweethearts, best friends at first and then deeply in love until the end. Their marriage was supposed to be the start of the rest of their lives. They were both supposed to pursue their passions. Aimee was supposed to buy out her parents' restaurant and run it herself. James was supposed to leave the family business and pursue his passion for art and painting. But his death brings all of that to a halt. James came from a family with high expectations. His mother, Claire, was determined to have her sons, James and Thomas, take over the family business. Until that day came, there was only room for academics anything else, including a relationship with Aimee was considered a distraction. But teenage James had a passion for Aimee and for painting, so much so that he had to hide his artwork from his family -- keeping his paintings at Aimee's home.

Thoughts of James are never far from Aimee's mind, but even she starts to see the logic in moving on. She forges a new friendship with handsome photographer Ian. She opens a high-end coffee bar/cafe. She's finally starting to find her own happiness. A happiness that's not dependent on James. She even starts to imagine having Ian as more than just a friend, more than just a shoulder to cry, more than just a pretty face to stare at -- possibly he's someone to fall in love with. Ian feels the same saw, but it's hard to compete with the ghost of a dead man. Especially when Lacy continues to pop up, insisting that James is alive. How can Aimee move on if life won't let her. Maybe it's time to face her fears and get answers?

This story grabbed me and had my attention for two-thirds of the book. Why two-thirds? I can't go into great detail because that would spoil the latter part of the book. But I will say this, I thought some things were a little too convenient, a little too far-fetched. There were some things that I found to be unnecessary, like incest. Yes, there is an incest plotline toward the end of the book that seemed to come from nowhere. This is all to say that I liked most of the book, but not all of it.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Lake Union Publishing) in exchange for an honest review. 

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