I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Year I Left on August 20, 2019 Format: eARC Goodreads
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.
Christine Brae’s voice is like music to my head. It’s lilting and soothing to the soul. The book, however, is nothing like her angelic words. It reaped my heart and dragged it through the ground of mire and mud.
The story starts with Carin describing her life or lack thereof. Numbed by the mundane activities in her very successful life. Her family and her career go off the charts for what is an everyday person’s dreams and yet, she feels dead on the inside. From the onset, I recognized that it must be depression. Then begins her journey of self-discovery.
I have to be honest. I found it hard to relate to Carin, from the beginning ’til the end, and that’s very rare for me, truly rare. In all her self-discovery, she is self-aware of every selfish and ungrateful thought she is having, which I appreciate. But, her slowly increasing self-awareness is what makes me admire her. Though I do not per se, love what she’s experiencing… but isn’t that what life is? One just simply don’t know what kind of storm will hit you. It might be turbulent one moment, or a quiet stillness that you would have thought is better BUT is actually not. It’s the kind that Carin, I would dare say, experienced. It’s eerily quiet and not peaceful.
With her journey that she brings us along, it’s almost as if it was meant to be self-reflective for its readers. There is romance, there is hate, there are so many questions but not so many answers. For where is happiness truly found?
On the other side, I do not agree with a lot of the things the story is advocating. Maybe it is not advocating cheating, but it made it sound like it’s okay.
I do advocate for mental health. I advocate for selfless love. I advocate for fixing things and finding a compromise. Personally, I am just frustrated because the problem Carin and Matias had could have been fixed if they just faced the music. Save a lot of troubles if you don’t try to escape the pain of healing.
In the end, everything was resolved… I liked the ending actually. The path to finding your self-worth and value is messy and it takes a lot of time, and sometimes at the expense of others. If I did learn anything from the book, it’s to think about every decision we make before we make them. Will your happiness be at the expense of others? Is there compromise? Or is temporary selfishness worth it for you?
PS. I did not know this was Christine’s last book. If this is your first book of hers, you are in for a treat.