We are so excited to be sharing our 5-star review for Christine Brae’s all-new romance, THE YEAR I LEFT, releasing 20th August.
Gorgeous teasers made by the lovely Ashley Baker with some of our favourite quotes!
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.
Pre-order your copy TODAY!
Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse at KFF
If I had to describe Christine Brae’s writing in one word, it would have to be magnificent. The flawless second-person singular narrative in past tense is a powerful one, taking the reader on a crushing journey from the protagonist’s perspective. In my opinion, using this inner thoughts method was brave as it could easily have isolated the other characters. This was by no means the case. And then came another delightful surprise. Plentiful dialogue between her heroine and the other characters was executed in such a way that I couldn’t pull myself away. The true-to-life plot is remarkably good, and it’s clear to see from this book and others from Brae that’s she’s a well-travelled woman. Her description of places and happenings gave me a certain déjà vu feeling, bringing out all the smiles, sometimes tears. And not only did the fish and chips scenario make me chuckle, but the mentioning of Spanish cities and wording was delightfully spot on.
I found it a tad difficult connecting with Carin Frost straightaway. If she hadn’t been so indecisive and got to grips with her issues earlier which was what I wanted, maybe I would have thought differently. Ahh, but later I realized how unfair my opinion of her was. The author clearly wanted me to suffer. Because I did…and a lot. With so much to lose, what’s there to gain by upsetting life’s balance when it appears that you have everything? Granted, she works long hours, is away from home more often than not and responsible for the running of a multinational business. A loving family, a husband who’s attentive and an adorable son wise beyond his years, yet with her admission, even when her selfishness was manifested, it became a welcome reprieve.
‘When you open up to even your closest allies, they always turn your deepest darkest secrets against you.’
Carin’s personal conflicts became mine and despite those around her having a very good idea she’s in pain, they don’t know to what extent. Unless she opens her heart to those who care for her, neither she nor they can move on. I’m sure many of us have had at one point or another experienced distress similar to hers. Illness, vulnerability in relationships, losing someone dear, these factors and more affect us deeply and we’re at a loss. Although her guilt is excruciatingly heartbreaking to read, I never ever blamed Carin for her actions. Intent on finding the peace of mind she desperately needs, I thought she would eventually find it. I’m leaving this question open for you. Will she?
‘I should be grateful, my life is so good. I have nothing to complain about. They’ve been trying to get me back, but I’m so far gone. I’m so far gone!’
Matias Torres is a successful Spanish businessman, drop-dead gorgeous, well-mannered and outwardly calms troubled waters. Inwardly, he also has problems of his own but of a different kind. Carin and Matias’ magnetic attraction for each other leaps off the pages. She tries to ward him off…well, as much as is possible and goes out of her way not to be around him. Still, all is not what it seems.
“When he’s around, I live a few brief moments. And then I die again.”
Here’s one totally smitten guy who’s respectful of her wishes. In one scene which left me aghast, he convinces her to take a running jump into the unknown. If Carin’s state of mind worried me, Matias’ worried me more. Why, when he has such a promising future, did he go to such extremes? Easy to answer, love. But in all its fragility and with so much at stake, trying his hardest to help Carin feel at ease with herself might not be enough.
“Could love come that quickly? Could it die in haste too?”
The before and the after. Part II is a game-changer. If I cried in the first half, heartfelt scenes in the second left me with a feeling of utter joy. Yet Brae still kept that sense of the fragility going. She gave me hope, she made me take a serious look at things we take for granted. Surrounding ourselves with seemly essential things that make us happy in Carin’s book, isn’t the answer. Actually, Brae’s look on life is nothing less than awe-inspiring, her descriptive writing which took me to paradise, out of this world.
‘We steal the moments that belong to others.’
Sadly, Christine’s creative penmanship we shall see no more. I can’t thank her enough for leaving us this legacy of characters impossible to forget, impossible to say goodbye to. The Year I Left is a masterpiece, it is everything. Brae coaxed every imaginable emotion out of me and had me rooting for both Carin and Matias. After turning the last page, I quite honestly didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or shout at the top of my voice. Not at all expected, it was an ending for a beginning. Or was it really? A love story with a difference, a top-quality romance not to be missed. Bravo!
‘Every beginning has an end. And every end starts with a beginning.’
Thank you Ashley Baker for making these beautiful teasers with our favourite quotes!
Christine Brae is a full time career woman who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. Her second book, His Wounded Light was released in December, 2013.
Christine’s third book, Insipid, is a standalone that was released in June, 2014, and her fourth book, In This Life, released in January 2016.
Her latest work, Eight Goodbyes was released on August 28, 2018.
When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago.
Christine is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin Literary Management.
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