Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Life You Left by Carmel Harrington

Out Now
Published by HarperImpulse
Purchase from Amazon

The Blurb:

Sarah, I’m not coming home tonight.
If you love me, you will give me the space I need…
Tell the children I love them.

It started out like any other day for Sarah Lawler; getting the kids ready for school, making the pack lunches and juggling baby Ella’s feeds.

There was no way of knowing that her husband, Paul, would leave for work that morning and simply not come home.

Now the questions are piling up quicker than the unpaid bills and, unable to answer her children’s questions about where their Daddy is, Sarah is getting desperate.

But it turns out she isn’t quite as alone as she thought she was. When her beloved childhood friend, Edward, comes back into her life, Sarah thinks she’s finally been thrown a life line.

There’s just one problem with Edward: no one else can see him.

Edward is an angel. And he has a message for Sarah that will change her life and the lives of others forever. For it is only in the most difficult of times that Sarah can discover how strong she truly is.

Set in a small coastal village on the beautiful Irish coast, The Life You Left is a story of redemption and the strength of love.

My Review:

Anyone who follows me on twitter will know of my absolute love for Beyond Grace's Rainbow, one of the most perfect books I have ever read. I loved every second of it. I have been eagerly anticipating the release of Carmel's second book 'The Life You Left' to see if she could produce another gem. If I'm honest I was a bit scared because I wasn't sure she could match her debut novel. I was wrong!

The Life You Left is another award winner. I LOVED it! From the start I was unable to put it down until I finished it less than 24 hours later.

The story's main character is Sarah. Sarah is mother to three children, Ella, Katie and Tommy. The book opens with Sarah receiving an email from her husband Paul saying that he won't be coming home and needs some space. This comes out of the blue for Sarah and as you expect, totally devastates her. However, this isn't a story of a broken woman. Sarah, as you will find out, is an amazingly strong and wonderful woman.

I was slightly nervous when I read in the synopsis about Edward. Edward is an angel that only Sarah can see. I know this can be quite divisive as to whether people believe in guardian angels, and having recently experienced a family bereavement which has led to many discussions around their existence, I wasn't sure how it may affect the books enjoyment for readers who don't believe in them. My fears were quickly allayed. Edward fits perfectly into the book. I found him very warm and comforting. His presence throughout just felt right. There is also a second plot within the book which relates to a local murder. Edward is pivotal in this story line, and it is written perfectly in my opinion.

Sarah has very strong support from her twin brother James. I fell in love with him from the start and I imagine many of the readers will also. James is Sarah's rock and the depth of their closeness shines through. He is also an amazing uncle. Yes, I have a bit of a book crush on him! James is a private detective and is the only person who believes Sarah when she talks of Edward. He is amazing in his role both as Uncle but also as a private detective and I defy you not o fall in love with him too.

There are a number of other characters we meet along the way, and as with Carmel's previous book I felt like I knew them all and wanted to be part of the gang by the end. Sarah's affection and desire to protect them is beautiful.

Other than my crush on James I particularly loved Sarah. I found her incredibly strong, loving and determined. Many authors depict women abandoned by their husband as weak and needy. This isn't Sarah at all. I found her quite inspirational in that no matter how tough things got she never stopped caring about others and had a great drive within her. You will see that over and over within the book.

I could go on forever about the book and characters but I really don't want to give the plot away and ruin it for others.

The Life You Left will be long remembered by me after the final page. It has a mixture of laughs and tears, love and heartbreak. But to me the book showed that with love, friends and family even your lowest moments can be overcome. Be strong, hold you head high and believe that nothing is impossible.

The Life You Left is the perfect book whatever the weather and whatever you are doing. One word of warning, clear your time because once you pick it up you won't be able to put it back down again!!

Finally a word about Carmel. I don't want to gush about her, but this is only her second book and I don't know how she does it. Ok, so I do. She is an amazing author. Both this book and her debut novel Before Grace's Rainbow are in my opinion works of art. I love her ability to make me as a reader feel as though I am part of the books intimate group of friends. I love her style of writing, it for mer has such passion and intensity in the storylines that I become totally engrossed from the first page.  I have come away from both books totally smitten not only by the story line but by the characters. She also evokes every emotion in me whilst reading her work. I feel happiness, pride, anger, total heartbreak at times but her books leave me inspired and feeling strong. I truly cannot wait to see what she writes next.

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