TITLE: In This Life
AUTHOR: Christine Brae
PUBLICATION: January 22, 2016
It started out so simply. Anna runs away to Thailand, drags her best friend Dante with her and spends a few weeks away, taking on other people’s problems while getting away from her own. She meets the enigmatic Jude Grayson, and for as long as it’s clear to both of them that it ends when they leave, she thinks she’s got the perfect fling planned out.
Or does she?
Anna returns home to find that her life is no longer the way it once was, and that she can’t stop thinking about him. She learns through tragedy that nothing she’s ever believed in has turned out to be true. The worst part? The people she loved were keeping a secret from her. And that no matter what she does, no matter how hard she fights against it, every path she takes keeps leading her back to Jude.
This is a story about love, found in a faraway place by two very unlikely people. It is also a story about friendship and loyalty and fighting for what you have despite the illogical mystery of fate. And with the struggle between morality and guilt, faith and acceptance, there comes a learning that even the best-laid plans are powerless against the alignment of the universe.
From the beaches of Thailand to the streets of New York, three friends, Anna, Dante, and Jude will learn the hard way that once providence steps in, there is nothing in the world that can change what is truly meant to be.
I have heard about Christine Brae since September of last year, and have long known how good of a writer she is through reviews and recommendations of friends and acquaintances on social networks. So when I saw that The Book Avenue was inviting people to join their international blog tour of Christine’s new book In This Life, I braved myself to join the tour and have it as my first step into the world she has created.
Truthfully, I never actually thought I’d love it because I didn’t really like the beginning of the book that much. The world-building was a bit slow at first, as a rural area was the first used setting: the beaches of Thailand. It took time for me to get into the world, but when I did get into it, it sucked me right through. I just couldn’t stop reading, especially when they went back to New York and more things happened and the pace somehow shifted from being slow to being fast (like how life is in New York).
This was a book you’d think would be predictable, a cliche perhaps. But as you read along, you’ll find out all of your theories won’t come true, or if they did, there would still be something after your theory. At some random points in the book, you’d think that you’ve already reached the end. But then after that, with some turn of a couple of pages, you’ll realize that you were wrong. There will be a lot of twists and turns before you really reach the end of this book, and somehow, even though you’ll feel like you’re walking in a long dark tunnel, you just have to take a couple of steps and you’ll already see that after all, there is still light in the end. This was definitely a not so typical New Adult novel. There was a lot going on, some internal arguments the main character had with herself, and two other people who weirdly did not have an ill will on each other with the state they were in. But that’s what love does I guess. It overpowers your way of thinking, as your
hypothalamus heart has a mind of its own.
The writing style was raw and heartfelt. It was as if Christine herself is telling the story, and you can tell that the story is very close and dear to her heart. It was a wonderful mix of love, emotions, and sacrifice. Shown in the book was also God’s providence, and how no matter how planned you think the rest of your life is, you’ll just decide to go with the flow once His will steps in.
Anna, Dante, and Jude were wonderful characters. They were very realistic and not hard to reach at all. They imply the weight of life’s decisions and how one choice will affect all the others, a cascade. They had very beautiful character arcs, and their developments were stunning, most especially Anna. At the early parts of the book, in all honesty, I found her really frustrating. Anna has the tendency to do things out of impulse, not thinking before acting, and just literally does what she wants. But as I read along, and as I reached the middle parts up to the end, I understood her: why she did those things and arrived at those decisions. And somehow, I developed a love for her character. Her internal arguments and indecisiveness was very real, and I found myself thinking if she was a real person because she acted like one. All her sacrifices paid off in the end, and she deserves, more than anything in the world, to find her happiness.
This novel was beautifully written and gripping, it was very realistic and very reflective of people’s lives, and the world deserves to read such a beautiful book. I’m telling you now, yes, you will cry and undergo Kübler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief (Denial, Aggression, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance) within a couple of hours of reading, but here’s what I assure you, it will definitely be worth it in the end.
4.50 out of 5 dazzling stars!
Christine Brae is a full time career woman 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. Her second book, His Wounded Light was released in December, 2013.
Christine’s third book, Insipid, is a standalone that was released in June, 2014, and her fourth book, In This Life is scheduled for release in January 2016.
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.
FUN CHAT WITH CHRISTINE BRAE AND TARRYN FISHER
Listen to the songs that inspired the story of Anna, Dante and Jude here.
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