Title: Swear on This Life
Author: Renee Carlino
Originally Published: August 9th 2016
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)
Synopsis: 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?
This is definitely bookception. There’s a book, within a book, within this book. One of the characters describes one of these books as “It made for a short book, and it was kind of boring.” and that’s really how I feel about Swear on This Life.
Emiline has buried her past for so long until her childhood sweetheart publishes a book… about their past together. Half of the story is told in the present, and the other half is told through the book that Jase has written. I knew this was going to be a second chance romance story and that some of it would be focused on the past and how they fell in love in the first place but really it was too much. One of the lessons Emiline learned was not to hold on to the past but that’s all this book does.
There was a review I saw on goodreads that said this would probably be a better book if it wasn’t written by Renee Carlino and I completely agree. I’m not saying she’s a bad writer, because really she’s a wonderful writer. I just think maybe Before We Were Strangers was so incredible that I’ve set my expectations too high for Carlino’s books.
Overall this was on alright book.. lackluster and anticlimactic really. The first half was really good but just seemed to go nowhere.