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?
**** 3 ½ Star Review ****
I have always loved Renee's writing. I have been reading her since her beginning. This book isn't an exception, despite the rating. Renee is gifted with the ability to beautifully spin words into a story that can stand out on it's own. Her words are profound and her stories are unique.
Although this story is written with great prose with such a unique plot, I found myself less interested in this one compared to her past books. I am not sure what it is. Have you ever felt like you know you should love a book but feel like you are trying to convince yourself to do so? That's where I am with this one.
I was intrigued with this story from start to finish. Somewhere along the way though, it just kind of fell off. I was on auto-pilot for some of it. Even with Renee's skillful writing, I felt disconnected from the story and the characters. I wasn't a fan of Emiline from the get-go. Maybe that's where my disconnect was. Not being able to like or connect with a character my heart should have lept for is my downfall with the story.
Aside from my own feelings, this book tells a wonderful story. I know that many are going to be over the moon over it. As they should be. I seem to be a stick in the mud lately. Don't let my disconnect from the story stop you from picking it up. It is definitely a book many of you will love and shouldn't miss reading!
Renée Carlino is the author of Sweet Thing, Nowhere But Here, After the Rain, and Before We Were Strangers. 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 her next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.
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