It's Aimee's wedding day, but instead of exchanging vows with her childhood sweetheart, James, Aimee and her friends and family are attending a funeral instead. James's funeral.
James was supposed to have been going to Mexico for a quick business trip, but the trip ended with his disappearance. It was two months before his remains were recovered and sent home for burial. Aimee is beyond heartbroken, understandably unable to move on in the months after the funeral. But when a woman contacts her claiming James is still alive, Aimee isn't at all sure what to believe. James is gone, positively identified by his own brother. But Aimee has known James for so long, she's certain she'd feel it if he were truly gone. And something within her says he isn't.
Kerry Lonsdale's Everything We Keep is an intriguing read. Much of the story is focused on Aimee's emotional state and attempt to rebuild her life in the aftermath of losing James. But there's a vein of suspense as well.
Aimee and James had plans for their lives. Plans that included Aimee taking over her family's restaurant after her parents retired or even opening her own place. And since she's known James since she was eight years old, her past is as deeply wound around his as her future was to be. So yes, moving on without the person who is so deeply a part of her life is going to be challenging, to say the least. Lonsdale does a fairly good job of tackling the emotions of grief, though they certainly could have been explored much more deeply (that said, the book isn't really a tearjerker and I was glad for it!).
I really liked Aimee. She was fleshed out and genuine, so it was easy to become emotionally invested in her story and to want to see where it would go and how it would play out. But it was the mystery element as a whole that really made me want to dive in and continue with Everything We Keep.
It's in Aimee and James's backstory that this bit of mystery begins to unfold. James's family is weird. Stringent rules, a required commitment on the part of each member to be involved in the family business, and especially James's mother's regard of Aimee from the very start of the book all make the reader wonder what's really lying under the surface of this seemingly picture perfect family.
And of course there's a psychic's claim that James isn't actually dead.
Everything We Keep isn't a deep read. In fact, it's a bit like sitting down with a Lifetime movie in book form. But like those movies, it was fun! I did kind of hate the ending, in an "argh, you're killing me," kind of way. But Lonsdale's debut was one that I definitely could not (and would not) put down until I'd reached the bitter end!
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.
For more on Kerry Lonsdale and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
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