July 10, 2016

Book Review: IN THIS LIFE by Christine Brae

Book:  In This Life
Author:  Christine Brae
Publisher:  Christine Brae
Genre:  Adult Contemporary Romance

Blurb via Goodreads:

Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,
They’re in each other all along.

It starts out so simply. Anna runs away to Thailand, drags her best friend Dante with her and spends a few weeks away, taking on other people’s problems while getting away from her own. She meets the enigmatic Jude Grayson, and for as long as it’s clear to both of them that it ends when they leave, she thinks she’s got the perfect fling planned out.

Or does she?

Anna returns home to find that her life is no longer the way it once was, and that she can’t stop thinking about him. She learns through tragedy that nothing she’s ever believed in has turned out to be true. The worst part? The people she loved were keeping a secret from her. And that no matter what she does, no matter how hard she fights against it, every path she takes keeps leading her back to Jude.

This is a story about love, found in a faraway place by two very unlikely people. It is also a story about friendship and loyalty and fighting for what you have despite the illogical mystery of fate. With the struggle between morality and guilt, faith and acceptance, there comes a learning that even the best-laid plans are powerless against the alignment of the universe.

From the beaches of Thailand to the streets of New York, three friends, Anna, Dante, and Jude will learn the hard way that once providence steps in, there is nothing in the world that can change what is truly meant to be.

My Review:

Fate.  Love.  Faith.

These are the three main points of the story played out by the three characters Anna, Jude and Dante.

Of them I felt for Dante the most because he is loving as he is loyal.  I have heard people describe love as blind, stupid, forgiving and impossible. Well, these are all Dante in the flesh.  He loves the impossible which for me is Anna because her character isn’t easy to love.  Imagine being caught between two beautiful men.  One readily available, the other missing in action.  A sensible woman would go for the first…. The readily available.  The loving.  The miraculously patient and kind.  But Anna loves the other one, Jude, with a passion and obsession I could not quite understand.  It bordered on crazy, at least for me.  Was it a case of loving the one you can’t have? The one who got away?  It certainly felt like that.  But then again, some people might say that it’s true love.  After all, some couples fall in love within a week and it could last a lifetime.  It could especially last in the make believe world of books where nothing is unimaginable.  Here, Love is Love.  It is raw.  It is painful.  But it is Anna’s truth.

The writing of Brae is lyrical.  It has a flow that reminds me of music that can soothe the soul.  The scenes are not hyper extended either so the pace is steady.

One point I can not fully appreciate is book’s take on religion.  Maybe it’s because I consciously stay away from books with religious themes.  Or maybe I just can’t consolidate the idea of religion and sex in one book….let alone in many conversations by the characters. But again, it may just be me.

The book is romantic, often melodramatic.  Some lines that come out of the “mouths” of Anna, Dante and Jude are ones I believe I could never utter in my entire life.  But that’s what romance is isn’t it?  Don’t we need drama sometimes?  I’d rather read drama than LIVE it.   So to have them in writing is more enjoyable than having to go around myself crying over a man who may or may not love me after 5 years of waiting, which is what Anna does. 

Do I like Anna?  I barely understand how she thinks.  But I certainly love Dante.  As for Jude, I will reserve my judgment until further notice. 

What wins for me in this book is its belief Fate.  I believe in fate.  I also believe that everything happens for a reason.  So many things happen to these characters that gives them a full circle ending.  There is peace.  There is love.

After all, Isn’t that what we romantics look for IN THIS LIFE?

Have a Good Read!

Read my conversation with author Christine Brae.