Kerry Lonsdale follows up her bestselling novel, Everything We Keep, with Everything We Left Behind, continuing the story of the star-crossed lovers Aimee and James. While the second book can stand on its own, you would do well to begin with Everything We Keep. Believe me, once you read the first, you will be eager to read the second.
Aimee and James were friends from childhood. No surprise that they began to date, became lovers, and planned to marry. James’ family owned the profitable Donato Enterprises and he was expected to follow his father and two brothers, Thomas and Phil, into the business. James, however, had another plan. A talented artist, he wanted to paint and one day open his own gallery. As a child, he was prevented from ever touching brush to canvas by his controlling mother, Claire. Aimee’s parents, more understanding of James’ goals, allowed him to paint at their home.
Aimee and James plan a wedding, but James has to make a trip to Mexico. What Aimee believes is a routine business trip is anything but. When James goes missing and then, according to Thomas, is found dead, Aimee finds herself attending a funeral on what was supposed to be her wedding day. (Claire reasoned that because the church was already booked, why not substitute one event for another?)
Aimee always has her doubts about James being dead. She was never allowed to see his body. And Thomas’ details about how and where he died adds to her confusion. When she’s approached by a medium after the funeral and told that James is still alive, her mistrust of the Donatos grows.
Aimee tries to get on with her life, pursuing her dream of opening her own cafe. She also attracts the attention of Ian, a photographer. When Aimee decides to travel to Mexico to see for herself whether James is still alive, Ian insists on going with her. What she discovers carries over to the next book, this one told from James’ perspective.
To give too much more away would detract from the enjoyment of these two novels. Lonsdale has created fascinating characters, an intriguing plot, and the settings in California and Mexico come alive. Buy both and head for the beach.
Kerry Lonsdale’s photo by Deene Souza Photography