Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Aimee's life is falling apart at the seams. Her wedding day has turned into the day she buries her fiancee. Her parents are selling their pub that she has worked as a chef at for years, leaving without a job, money or a lover. And her friends think she should move on? What do they know? On top of everything, a man called Ian is desperately trying to make a move on her, and her brother in law is acting suspiciously.
And then there's the note. A note from a psychic. That James - her fiancee - is still alive. Is Aimee clutching at straws, or is there some truth behind all this? As she gradually moves on with her life, can she really let this mystery remain unsolved?
Although I didn't think this was a brilliant novel, as a debut this has a surprisingly compelling storyline. Without giving anything away, something occurs that seemed too far-fetched to be even used as poetic license, but I looked it up and found that Lonsdale had indeed kept within the realms of things that we recognise. (Hard to say much without using spoilers!) Despite this, I did find the plot frustrating in a number of ways. Grief affects everyone in different ways, but Aimee's depression following the death of her fiancee did not feel real. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why, but I was left with a clinical list of grieving behaviours as opposed to a character actually grieving. Furthermore, although the one thing I thought was impossible turned out to occur, the plot was still very far-fetched. Various characters didn't act in keeping with their personalities; others' personalities weren't solid enough to really know - they would do something, and I was left wondering if this was 'in' or 'out' of character, before realising that I didn't actually know the character.
The writing style is fairly proficient, but can become a little confusing during scenes with much action in them; it's easy to lose track of what's happening. This doesn't happen very much though; to be fair, the majority of the book was very easy to read. Overall, the writing style isn't remarkable because this is a book based more on plot.
Finally, the very last two chapters felt clumsy to me, particularly the last chapter. I realise now that is there to leave room for a sequel, but this works fine as a stand-alone novel. It wasn't needed, and detracted from the previous writing.
It may seem that I hated this book; I didn't. It was fine, it just didn't thrill me, and had some key things that could be improved upon. It's billed as mystery and romance; the mystery was frustrating, but the romance was fine, if that is your kind of book. I'm not a great lover of romance (I often find myself internally rolling my eyes), but it was fairly typical of the genre.
A fairly well executed debut novel. I would read more by Kerry Lonsdale, but I wouldn't read a sequel to this.
Two and a half stars.
Thank you to NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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