I’m doing something a little different here and I’m giving a warning before I even share the blurb for this one. If you haven’t read the first book in this series, stop reading here. Seriously, the blurb for this has major spoilers and it’s an awesome read, don’t let it be ruined for you! Go check out my review for Everything We Keep, then come back and read my review for this after you’ve read the first book. Trust me, you’ll thank me later!
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’ve been dying to read this book since the first one ended in a massive cliffhanger, it’s easily one of my most anticipated books of the year and I’ve become a huge fan of Lonsdale’s work. Knowing I would finally get to hear James side of the story had such a strong appeal to me as I just knew it would be utterly fascinating. The entire idea of a dissociative fugue is crazy interesting to me, can you even imagine waking up one day and having no earthly idea who you are? Not knowing your kids or your significant other?! Insanity and such a compelling premise for a book.
There is something about Lonsdale’s writing style that completely captivates me. It’s smooth, polished and just has a really easy feel to it. You know how sometimes when you’re reading a really good book by a talented author and you’re startled when you realize how many pages you’ve turned or how much time has passed as you’ve been caught up in a fictional world? That’s what happens to me every time I read one of her books, it’s awesome!
The dual timelines here are highly unique as they’re told from James as he snaps out of his fugue and Carlos in the months/years beforehand. Essentially they’re the same person, but not really. That may sound confusing, but it’s not at all and it really helped to answer all the lingering questions that have been running through my mind for months now.
I’m not going to discuss the plot too much, but in her true fashion Lonsdale managed to pull off several surprises. It was an emotional read as James/Carlos worked through a wide range of feelings, everything from loss and heartbreak to new love and hope. I wasn’t quite as connected to him as I was to Aimee, but I still really enjoyed this one. It’s the perfect light mystery for this summer, it’s not violent or graphic, more of an emotional mystery than anything. And book three in the series is out next summer!!
Overall rating: 4.5/5
Thanks to the author for my review copy.