Thursday, June 30, 2016

ARC Review: What Remains by Garrett Leigh

From The Blurb:
Web designer Jodi Peters is a solitary creature. Lunch twice a week with his ex-girlfriend-turned-BFF and the occasional messy venture to a dodgy gay bar is all the company he needs, right? 
Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat—a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family—and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter. 
Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.

Karen's rating:

I find myself wondering "If I took away the memories of the love I have... 
What Remains...and is it enough?

Try to imagine, if you will, suddenly having your memories of your entire life for the past five years wiped out, gone in the blink of an eye. Honestly, you can try but whatever you're imagining is probably only a fraction of what it's really like. I know I've been there and thankfully for me the memory loss only lasted for a few hours and yet over 25 years later the thought of it can still reduce me to tears...tears of fear that it could have lasted much longer and tears of gratitude that it didn't. Ironically the memory of those few hours are still so vivid for me and the thought of sitting there in a hospital bed not really knowing who I was, who my husband was or if I was even married and that I had a child. Things that I would have told you in a million years nothing could ever, ever make me forget and yet in the blink of an eye something happened that did just that it made me forget everything that I held most precious in this try to imagine those years getting stolen from you again. Look at your husband and your children and think who are these people? Why are they here? Do they know me? Do I know them? Will they hurt me? and yes, don't forget the most important questions...who am I? and what's happened to me? Imaging not being able to answer those questions...any of them.

In 'What Remains' that's exactly what Garrett Leigh does. She shows us what can happen when one person's world is ripped away in an instant and the people he loves are left to try and help him find a new reality.

Jodi and Rupert are basically living the life. They met by accident and what started as a friendship with a strong dose of attraction turned into love. Life couldn't be better...well, maybe Rupert's ex could fall off the face of the earth but other than that everything's pretty idyllic. They've got each other, Rupert's daughter, Indie who they both adore. Jodi's ex and current BFF, Sophie. They've made a home together in Jodi's loft. What more could they ask for everything's perfect...until it isn't. In one unguarded moment for Jodi it's all gone. He doesn't remember who Rupert is what they're suppose to mean to each other or Indie and what the hell when did Sophie stop being his girlfriend?

For the first part of this book the author took us back and forth between the beginning of Jodi and Rupert's relationship and events leading up to Jodi's accident. While I'm not normally a fan of time shifts, in this instance it worked as a highly effective way for the reader to not only get the background information but for the author to bring us into the events that are going to reshape the lives of Jodi, Rupert and those around them and while I really enjoyed this part of the story it was at the point where the story stayed in the present that I found myself becoming truly involved.

'What Remains' is a love story, there's no denying that but it's also a story about second chances, facing adversity and overcoming life's obstacles, pain/comfort/healing and believing that while it may not be all you need, love can be the cornerstone upon which to build or re-build your life.

I loved that this story asked questions many of us either don't want to or never ask or if we do the answer is given without realizing what it could truly mean... 'if I could do it all over again, would I fall in love with you?' or 'if something happened to me and I wasn't who I am now, would you still love me?'

And more than anything I loved the realism that came with this story. What happened to Jodi and  how it affected him. The fact that while Rupert was awesome he wasn't perfect we saw his frustration and inner turmoil over how things did or sometimes didn't seem to change, the tole that events took on him...personally and professionally. The impact that things had on Sophie and even Indie and most of all the ending. This was not a fairytale HEA ending where things suddenly got fixed. The HEA that these MCs got was won through hard work, sheer determination, endurance and love. Jodi wasn't magically all fixed but with time and effort he began to get control of his life again and accept how it had changed allowing him and Rupert to find their way back to each other.

'What Remains' was my first read for this author and has definitely left me wanting to read more of which, thankfully, I have many.


An ARC of this book was graciously provided by the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.,13674352

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Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are.  (Mason Cooley)

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