SWEAR ON THIS LIFE by Renée Carlino
Atria Books Paperback | ISBN: 9781501105791 | 320 pages | August 9, 2016 | $15.00
eBook: Atria Books | 9781501105807 | 320 pages | August 9, 2016 | $7.99
When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J. Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.
Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.
That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.
The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?
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Sometimes you come across a book that just resonates with you. It’s hard to pinpoint one specific thing that stood out because everything about the story enamored you. Swear on this Life is one of those books for me. It’s been nearly two weeks since I finished and I have yet to really move on from Jase and Emiline.
Renee set the bar pretty high for me with Before We Were Strangers and I am pleased to report this book is of similar caliber. Deep rooted emotion, rich character development and a heartbreakingly beautiful love story fill the pages of Swear on this Life. It was difficult to read at times because my heart ached for all these two encountered and endured. But I was renewed by their determination to rise above their circumstances.
It was quite the experience to see the two stories unfold in parallel. Traversing the separate but related storylines was relatively seamless and I applaud Renee on a job well done. If you enjoy love stories that are brimming with emotion and that will stay with you beyond the final page, I highly recommend Swear on this Life.
*I was provided a complimentary copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Renée Carlino is the author of Sweet Thing, Nowhere But Here, After the Rain, and Before We Were Strangers. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog, June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.