From USA TODAY bestselling author Renée Carlino (Before We Were Strangers), a warm and witty novel about a struggling writer who must come to grips with her past, present, and future after she discovers that she’s the inspiration for a pseudonymously published bestselling novel.
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?
About the Author:
Renee’s first friends were the imaginary kind and even though her characters haven’t gone away, thankfully the delusions have. She admits she’s a wildly hopeless romantic and she blames 80’s movies staring Molly Ringwald for that. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on the next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.
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Review by Yvette:
Swear on This Life is a book where fiction blurs with reality (well, a fictional reality anyway), telling the story of Emiline, a writing instructor and aspiring author in dire need of inspiration. Emiline is quite simply stuck in a rut, that is, until she comes across All the Roads Between, a work of fiction chronicling her past that could only be written by her childhood sweetheart, Jason Colbertson. Can we just take a minute to recognize the sheer brilliance of this plot? I’ve read plenty of books with flashbacks that share the narrator’s past, but in this book, the book within the book is the flashback. Mind-blowing, isn’t it? It's these glimpses into Emiline's former everyday life that are the most revealing, because as much as her character is closed off in the present day, her innermost secrets are exposed by the one person from her past who knows her inside and out.
Because of the way the narrative is structured, we initially become more intimately acquainted with Emiline and Jase during their teenage years, spanning the time when their relationship blossomed from neighbors to close friends to something more. Their story is heartbreaking, but it’s also sweet. It’s nostalgic. It’s gritty. It’s refreshingly real. Reading All the Roads Between is like having insight directly into Emiline’s soul – a fact I was grateful for as it allowed me to better connect with her character. While Swear on This Life is a romance, it’s also about Emiline's journey of self-discovery...her process of coming to terms with what was, what is, and what could be.
While I read Swear on this Life, I felt like Emiline reading All the Roads Between. I would pick up my Kindle and put it down. Pick it up and put it down. Again and again, I would stop at random, even though I could've easily devoured this book at one sitting. Maybe I was worried the book wouldn't turn out how I wanted it to, or maybe I was afraid I couldn't handle the intensity of the emotions this story evoked within me. It was most likely a bit of both… I did, of course, finish the book and couldn’t have imagined a more fitting ending. With Swear on this Life, Renee Carlino once again delivers an extraordinary second chance romance that I guarantee will resonate with you long after the book’s final sentence.
*complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 5 Stars
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