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.
I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of The Year I Left by Christine Brae, and it didn’t disappoint. Word on the street is that this is Brae’s very last novel; she plans to step away from the booksphere and focus on her other career. Her readers (myself included) will be sad to see her go, but if there were to be any last words for Christine to leave us with, it’s perfectly said in The Year I Left.
Women face many obstacles. We fall in love, we grow and birth children, we raise them, we work to care for them, and sometimes, if we’re not careful, we lose ourselves in this cycle. Some might say that this is the ideal type of woman, the one who immerses herself so wholly in others that the person in her mirror is a stranger, but I disagree. I’d argue that it’s impossible for a woman to care for others authentically if she can’t face the woman in her mirror. Brae tackles these issues in this novel with bravery and honesty. She tells the truth, and she isn’t shy about it.
“I agreed that nothing made sense when you looked at me from the outside. Everything was so in place, it was ridiculous. I had no secrets, no scandalous past. Just an ordinary life with ordinary joys and ordinary sorrows. At least that’s how it looked to me.”
I had a hard time connecting with Carin for a large portion of the novel. I kept having a feeling that the story was going to move forward in a way that would leave me feeling angry. BUT, I was delightfully surprised that it ended perfectly. I loved witnessing the struggles Carin went through, and the way she came out a better person because of it all.
“Sometimes, life keeps you pretty close to the ground. There are no guarantees that one day you’ll take flight.”
This novel bears Brae’s best writing, hands down. It is really cool to see her grow and experiment and write about different aspects of life. The Year I Left wasn’t what I was expecting at all, but it ended up being even MORE than I expected. If you are looking for a heartfelt summer read that tugs at your insides and makes you question things, this is it.
To see purchase options for The Year I Left through Amazon, CLICK HERE! This novel is currently available to pre-order and will be live on 8/20.