Thursday, 20 July 2017

Review: Swear on This Life by Renée Carlino

Title: Swear on This Life
Author: Renée Carlino
Publisher:  Atria Books
Pages: 320
Genres: Romance, New Adult

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?
A lovely friend of mine recommended this book to me and I am so grateful that she did. I have never read anything so heartwarming and so sweet, with a perfect pinch of bitterness thrown in. Emiline and Jase's love story and how they find their way back to each other had a profound emotional affect on me. It reminded me so strongly of The Notebook by Nicolas Sparks and I guarantee if you are a fan of that book/film than you will love Swear on This Life.

My favourite part of this book was the look at Emiline and Jase's troubled childhoods and how they found happiness despite their family circumstances. Emiline's mother abandoned her with her long term unemployed father, an abusive alcoholic. Jase's mother is a single mother, a drug addict and a prostitute. They both live in a dead end small town in rural Ohio, and despite their depressing lives, they dream of a new life together as soon as they are older. This is a tough read in parts, it is about transcending bad beginnings and if you can ever escape your past.

The structure of this story is really unique. It is a book within a book and it works really well. The ending was amazing and I felt completely satisfied by it, which is kind of rare for me. Although along the way I wanted to shake Emiline.

I really don't want to say anymore as I want everyone to experience this brilliant book for themselves. Needless to say, one of my favourites and I highly recommend.

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