Swear on This Life by Renée Carlino #BookReview

SwearOnThisLife def


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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Another one from the backlist. Swear on This Life was published in 2016 and the number of raving reviews brought it to my attention at the time so it’s been on my ereader for quite a while. I’m kind of sad that I don’t get any more paperbacks from publishers since Brexit but finding a gem like this in my library does make me feel very happy on the other hand. I suddenly found myself a new favourite author!

Swear on This Life is the first novel I read by Renée Carlino and it’s an amazingly heartfelt story. Emeline reads about her own childhood in a novel called All The Roads Between and every time the timeline changed to the past I prepared myself for the emotional impact. Her childhood was a story of neglect and abuse but also of great friendship, even the first signs of love.

Jase (Jason) lived next door and was in a similar situation yet he was always positive and together they got through everything, her father’s drinking problem, his mother’s drug addiction. They had such wonderful moments together and seemed to be joined at the hip, yet in the present day there is no sign of Jase in Emeline’s life, they are not together and I couldn’t flip these pages fast enough to find out how they became separated and if they would find their way to each other again.

Emeline does take a looong time to end the novel within the novel but when she finally did I felt my heart leap. Even though I couldn’t understand it at first, I absolutely loved why Jase changed parts of the real story (and I’m not talking about him giving himself abs in his fictionalised story), it was just such perfect thinking.

When you wish you had the paperback of a novel in your library instead of an ecopy and you want to reread a novel immediately after you finished it, you know it’s worth five stars or more. I found such a wonderful bittersweet story between these pages and Jase is the real star of this duo in my eyes, he’s definitely book boyfriend material and it’s all due to his character. For fans of Colleen Hoover and Dani Atkins, I highly recommend!

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion. 


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