From the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Everything We Keep comes the highly anticipated sequel. Told from one man's two perspectives, Everything We Left Behind effortlessly blends suspense, mystery, and romance in an exploration of loss, resilience, and the compelling need to protect the ones we love at all cost.
Two months before his wedding, financial executive James Donato chased his trade-laundering brother Phil to Mexico, only to be lost at sea and presumed dead. Six and a half years later, he emerges from a dissociative fugue state to find he's been living in Oaxaca as artist Carlos Dominguez, widower and father of two sons, with his sister-in-law Natalya Hayes, a retired professional surfer, helping to keep his life afloat. But his fiancée, Aimee Tierney, the love of his life, has moved on. She's married and has a child of her own.
Devastated, James and his sons return to California. But Phil is scheduled for release from prison, and he's determined to find James, who witnessed something in Mexico that could land Phil back in confinement. Under mounting family pressure, James flees with his sons to Kauai, seeking refuge with Natalya. As James begins to unravel the mystery of his fractured identity, danger is never far behind, and Natalya may be the only person he can trust.
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I'm as Disoriented as Carlos. Not what I wanted
The constant back and forth from past to present and going between "James" and "Carlos" (same person different personalities) confused and disrupted the story rather than enhanced it. Perhaps if the narrator had completed "Carlos" chapters with a Spanish accent it would have worked better.
This book felt like sloppy seconds. We already know what happened to James to turn him into "Carlos" no more on that front needed... but that was what the book became about. Book 1 ended with "Carlos" waking up as James, and getting his memories back. This book should have covered that process. The struggles through getting his memories back, finding out what happened the last 6 years as "Carlos", what was next, how is life moved on. To some extent, that happened just not in a fluid way and much of what was most anticipated was skipped over. We start 6 months after he woke up and acclimated. It was a disappointment but even shelving my expectation. The story was weak and often became a droopy, plotless, romance novel.
This was my most anticipated novel of 2017, it pains me to write this after loving and devouring the first book. That book was top 20 last year. This book won't make my top 100 this year.
The author has difficulty writing men. It felt unnatural, unbelievable---like a woman was writing a male character, which is true, but now how the experience should be.
- Lindsay S. Nixon
- Deanna Franklin