Friday, August 23, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: The Year I Left - Christine Brae

The Year I Left
Christine Brae
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: August 20th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction

“A thousand half loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.” 
Carin Frost doesn’t understand what’s happening to her. A confident businesswoman, wife, and mother, she begins to resent everything about her life. Nothing makes sense. Nothing makes her feel. Maybe it’s the recent loss of her mother in a tragic accident. Or maybe she’s just losing her mind.

Enter Matias Torres. As their new business partnership thrives, so does their friendship—and his interest in her. Carin is determined to keep her distance, until a work assignment sends them to Southeast Asia where a storm is brewing on the island. In the midst of the chaos, Matias asks her to do something unimaginable, exhilarating, BOLD. Carin knows the consequences could be dire, but it may be the only way to save herself.

An honest look at love and marriage and the frailties of the human heart, this is a story of a woman’s loss of self and purpose and the journey she takes to find her way back.
5 Stars
Sometimes you finish a book and it stays with you in an uncomfortable way. It leaves you with heavy thoughts and feelings, it stirs you up a bit inside, it might even wake up a part of you that you were not aware was sleeping. The Year I Left is Christine Brae's final novel, a bit of a love story to the career-oriented business women who shine outwardly, but have ever dimming insides. It's a story of love, loss, depression, and finding oneself in the midst of it all. She writes about hope and perseverance and her lyrical words completely took over my world for the few days I lived in the pages. The Year I Left tells a story that I can relate to and in the characters I saw myself. 

"When did I start wishing I was like her? I thought it was my cross to bear. I thought that life was just like this. You live, you love, you lose."

Carin Frost is a wife, a mother, a successful business executive. On the outside she seems to have it all, but on the inside she is feeling lost. Her dissatisfaction with life has created problems within her home and her marriage, she's contemplated what it would look like if it all just went away. When a new business partner lights a spark in her, she begins to wonder what life would look like if she could walk away. Mattias Torres gives her a taste of fresh love, but the decisions associated with that love present a challenge she never dreamed of facing. Told in three parts, The Year I Left follows Carin as she struggles with her desire to escape and to love herself and life again. 

"I saw summer. Your upturned lips touched the corners of your eyes. You exuded self-confidence. You smelled good. Women like summer. I get why those women were falling all over themselves over you."

There is a common theme in reviews for this novel, a resounding "I can't imagine doing that," and while I too cannot I felt it in my soul when Carin did it herself. Christine Brae created characters that I could so easily see myself in that when they made choices my real-self would not ever make, I still felt like it was me standing there weighing my options. It's a type of suffering that no one wishes on anyone, but so many experience. It's a story that, for me, will open up a dialogue about the depression and despair associated with it that we are so afraid to speak up about. Carin does what, at the time, she feels is best to save herself. It is selfish, but it is also brave, to say she had so many doubts and fears, that she was willing to let go of everything to try, to bring emotion and love back into her life. It's heartbreaking and beautiful all at once. I also really love how she approached commitment and living again, she embraced a different type of love in her seasons of change and from it she healed herself. There was no time in reading that I saw Carin as weak and it was sort of empowering to have a fictional character that, despite it all, finds a way to fight for herself again.

"But take your time to think about it. It may be that you're looking for a change. It doesn't have to be love. It could be that you've outgrown this life and those you love just have to keep up with you."

This isn't the book that gives you the clean, perfect HEA, but it is the book that gives you a true perspective on love, life, and family. With The Year I Left, Christine Brae celebrates friendships, families, successes, and the unexpected nature of life. I cannot recommend this profound story enough, just go into it with an open mind and an open heart. Embrace the hurt, the hard, the beautiful part of falling down and figuring out how one can pick themselves up again.

"The first bridge I'd burned. The first of many, in following my heart. After this, there would be no turning back."

Author Bio:
Christine Brae is a senior executive with a full time career, who thought she could write a book about her life and then run away as far as possible from it. She never imagined that her words would touch the hearts of so many women with the same story to tell. Christine has written six books since her first release in 2013. She is the author of The Light in the Wound and His Wounded Light (2013), Insipid (2014), In This Life (2016) and Eight Goodbyes (2018).
Her latest book, The Year I Left is scheduled for release in August, 2019.
When not listening to the voices in her head or spending late nights at the office, Christine can be seen shopping for shoes and purses, running a half marathon or spending time with her husband and three children in Chicago.
Christine is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management.


1 comment

  1. Thanks for being on the tour! This sounds like a really well written, thought provoking read!


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