Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Review: Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino

*****5 Stars*****

Renee Carlino has a talent for putting one's emotions through the ringer when you read her books and her newest story, Swear on This Life gave me all of the feels as I read. It is a second chance romance, but it is unique and I can't say I have read a book quite like it previously.
Emiline is a aspiring author who has yet to get her big break. When a friend gives her a copy of a new literary sensation by J Colby, she is somewhat reluctant to read it. It is a debut novel and not much is known about the author. Once she begins to read it, she is shocked to realize it seems to be about her. Someone has written about her dark and emotional childhood, with the add on of a fictionalized ending and is becoming famous because of it. She knows only one other person would be able to tell this story, Jase, her adolescent confidant and first love.
Emiline becomes obsessed with tracking Jase down down. It has been years since she has seen him and the only way she will be able to move on now that she has read the book is to find him and find out why he has done this and why he wrote the ending he did. On her journey, she must also try to come to terms with her childhood, thanks to this book dragging all of those memories and emotions back up.
I was mesmerized with Swear on This Life from chapter one. Carlino alternates between chapters telling about Emiline's present day search for Jase and her upheaval and chapters from J Colby's book which shows us how Emiline and Jase grew up together and everything she was forced to endure during that time. I will admit to being an emotional basket case at various points in this book. I was so invested in the characters that I felt their pain and my heart broke along with them. This was beautifully written and I loved how unique it was.

Reviewed by Rosemary Feil

When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?

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