Everything We Left Behind by Kerry Lonsdale

Setting: Various locations that include Mexico, California, and Hawaii
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union
Release Date: July 4, 2017

I loved the first book in this series. Everything We Keep was emotionally charged and eloquently written. I found myself rooting for Aimee and truly felt for her.

Everything We Left Behind is the sequel. This time, readers see things from James' point of view. I wanted to love it, but I simply disliked James too much for that to happen.

Now that James' memories have returned, he's stuck being father to two sons he doesn't know and lost the woman he loves, Aimee. Worse, his brother, the reason he's in this predicament, is about to be released from prison. James witnessed something that could land Phil back in prison, so his safety is also on the line.

To really knows what he's facing, James needs to remember who he was both before and after the events that led to his fugue state. To do that, he turns to his sister-in-law, Natalya, who is perhaps the only person he can now trust.

As soon as James remembered James and seemingly forgot his life as Carlos, his attitude towards his sons changed. I didn't like that at all. They were innocent and didn't deserve having him treat them like strangers at the start. It made me dislike him.

Things do progress, but it was hard getting past my initial opinions. The pacing and switch between past and present also proved hard to handle. I found it far too easy to put down Everything We Left Behind. As a result, it took me over a week to read the story. Usually, I can read a book a day if there's time.

In the end, I just never connected with the story or the character. It was missing the emotional pull the first story offered. It never made it past the "meh" opinion with me.


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