In This Life by Christine Brae
Publication Date: January 22, 2016
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
[Review copy provided for the blog tour, thanks to The Book Avenue and Christine!]
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Pe1sLA
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.
Anna Dillon is probably one of the most indecisive persons, ever.
One moment it’s Jude, next moment it’s Dante. Jude, Jude, Jude, then Dante. Jude, Dante, Dante, Dante, Jude. If I’d play a note every time she changes her mind, I’d have the most confusing melody ever played.
And that’s what made this book beautiful. It’s the confusion, the chaos going on inside Anna’s heart and the complex story line with unexpected turns that characterized this book. This is not your typical read. This is tough.
A friend of mine once gave me writing advice. She told me to remember this:
Stories make sense. Life does not.
-Six de los Reyes
Christine Brae did not write a story.
Christine Brae wrote life.
Yes, the characters may be fictional, but I’ve never read a book as real as this.
The length of the book was daunting. With my busy schedule, I doubted if I could finish it on time. But I found myself immersed in this book the moment my heart stopped upon reading something that mirrored a part of me.
This book is too real.
I felt Anna’s pain. I know how it feels like to believe your heart was already over someone, then finding out years later that it didn’t really let go in the first place. I know how it feels like to be stuck, to stand in the middle of a war between the mind and the heart.
I’m #TeamJude, btw.
I haven’t sung a bookish song for ages, and I decided to sing one for this book. I actually thought of a playlist that could represent some parts of the book that I love the most, but my schedule can only make way for one song to be sung. So I chose the first song that came to mind: Mahal Ko o Mahal Ako* by KZ Tandingan.
*It’s a Filipino song, and I’ve come up with this English translation of the title: The One I Love or The One Who Loves Me. [Bookish friends from the PH, if you have a better translation, please share it with our international readers!]
Some of the songs include:
- If This Was a Movie
- All Too Well
- I Almost Do
- Maybe This Time
- I Go Crazy
In This Life dealt with different kinds of love. It made me see the reality of life. Life is really ugly, and it’s up to us to make it beautiful. Life is really ugly, but we have the power to transform it into something worth dying for.
The light parts of the book involved the adventures in Thailand. Christine gave me a glimpse of what it’s like to roam around the beaches there. It was a refreshing experience.
Right after reading the book, I didn’t think it affected me the way it crushed my friends who have read it. But turns out, it did reach something deep within me.
I think the best thing about this book is the heart that Christine has put into it. I think that’s the most important thing about this book, actually.
Even before I saw him, I knew.
I felt my heart calming down, my stupor beginning to leave me. Slowly, I turned around to face him.
“You found it.” Jude smiled at me. His eyes weren’t dark that night. They were hazel and luminous and light. There was no formal greeting, no, “What are you doing here?” It was as if he’d been waiting for me to find him.
“What took you so long?” he asked, his grin spreading from ear to ear.
“I’ve never walked this far out before,” I said.
His eyes called to me, beckoning me to come closer, but his body language said otherwise. He seemed nervous. He kept his hands at his sides and rocked back and forth on his heels.
I moved closer, one tiny step at a time, until we were only an arm’s length apart. Every step towards him was unintended, every emotion unexplained. I stopped when I was near enough to feel his breath on me, and as I gazed up, he looked down so that our noses were almost touching. The air around us was fraught with tension, the kind that manifested itself through the reactions of the flesh. The heat of his stare seared me, knocked the wind out of me. The compassion in his eyes grabbed hold of me in the middle of my storm and set me safely on solid ground. Just like last night, when he pulled my head out of the water.
And there it was again, that band of light that seemed to radiate just above his head. Slivery, silvery shining light.
I noticed the rise and fall of our chests in unison, and a rapid surge of energy. And as I turned to step away, he grabbed my shoulder with his right hand and spun me around before pressing me tightly against his body. I was in the arms of a stranger, but in the embrace of someone I had known for a hundred years. I couldn’t explain what had just happened. We spoke in the silence, lost in the uncertainty of it all. It was both disturbing and exhilarating and I forgot where I was in the world at this very instant. All that mattered was that he was here and that he’d touched me.
Final Rating: 5/5
I have to read more books by Christine Brae.
About the Author:
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. In This Life is her fourth book, and is set to come out on January 22, 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.