The Year I Left, by Christine Brae
Publication: Vesuvian Books (August 20, 2019)
About the book:
“A thousand half loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.”
Carin Frost doesn’t understand what’s happening to her. A confident businesswoman, wife, and mother, she begins to resent everything about her life. Nothing makes sense. Nothing makes her feel. Maybe it’s the recent loss of her mother in a tragic accident. Or maybe she’s just losing her mind.
Enter Matias Torres. As their new business partnership thrives, so does their friendship—and his interest in her. Carin is determined to keep her distance until a work assignment sends them to Southeast Asia where a storm is brewing on the island. In the midst of the chaos, Matias asks her to do something unimaginable, exhilarating, BOLD. Carin knows the consequences could be dire, but it may be the only way to save herself.
An honest look at love and marriage and the frailties of the human heart, this is a story of a woman’s loss of self and purpose and the journey she takes to find her way back.
I am so happy to be reviewing this emotional and beautiful novel, The Year I Left, by Christine Brae. I first discovered this author when I read and reviewed Eight Goodbyes and once again I’ve fallen in love with Brae’s characters and writing.
Carin Frost is a wife, mother, and successful businesswoman but has been struggling with everything since the loss of her mother. Where her marriage and life, in general, used to fulfill her, she’s now feeling lost and confused about what she wants in her life. Soon she meets the handsome and successful Matias Torres and their friendship begins to blossom into a somewhat of an emotional affair as their business partnership grows. While on an island in Southeast Asia for a business deal, a horrible storm hits prompting Mattias to ask Carin to do something romantic, drastic, insane and every other adjective you could imagine. Thus begins a beautiful, yet heart-breaking love that some may not agree with, but it makes it no less beautiful.
If you’ve ever lost someone you love, struggled with depression, or just reached the point of feeling empty – you will relate to Carin. On the outside she seems to have the perfect husband, perfect life, etc. but on the inside, she feels nothing until she meets Matias. Would the average person take the giant leap that Carin did with Matias? Probably not. Isn’t it just understood that your children and family always come first? Author Christine Brae poses the question, is there a point where it’s not only o.k., but healthy to absolutely put yourself first?
The Year I Left is one of the best things I’ve read all year, if not the best. Every imaginable emotion and feeling appears in this novel so prepare yourself to feel them all right along with the characters. There is complacency, sadness, frustration, elation, desire, joy, guilt, and so on. My heart broke for Carin and the emptiness she was dealing with until visiting the island with Matias. I pitied her husband who seemed so content in their lives while she crumbled around him. I felt so much sadness for her young son missing his mother while she was away. But in the end, I felt nothing but peacefulness and love.
As a result of Carin’s journey with Matias, she found an all-consuming romantic love. After returning home, she started rebuilding her relationship with her son and nurturing the love between them. She switched career paths and started a whole new life that she was passionate about. It took some time, but everything did get better. By putting herself first, Carin fell madly in love, rediscovered painting, made new friends (both human and four-legged), and changed every little aspect of her life and future.
Brae’s writing and imagery are exquisite, the plot is unique and well-developed, and the characterization is awe-inspiring. I have read this book from beginning to end three times already and I plan on buying a print copy so that I can share it with all of my reader friends nearby. This is a must-read that should be bumped to the top of your TBR.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Vesuvian Books for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Year I Left, by Christine Brae”
You read it three times already?!?!? OMG! Praise doesn’t; get any better than that. Coupled with your review, this is tale I will need to check out on Amazon!
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yes, three times, I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, lol!
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