2 Book Lovers Reviews

Swear on This Life 
By Renée Carlino


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If I only had one word to describe this book, it would be unique.  The concept of this book is original and captivating.  It pulled me into Emiline’s story within the first few pages and took me on an emotional journey back into her childhood and adolescence.

Emiline’s writing career seems to be at a standstill, as does her romantic life with her long-time boyfriend.  While her peers seem to be having some success with their writing, she is struggling to create a story that readers will find compelling.  When her roommate suggests that she sit back and relax with a recent bestseller, she is hesitant to indulge in another author’s success.

By the time Emiline finished reading the first line of All the Roads Between, she recognized the characters and their surroundings.  She didn’t just see a bit of herself in the character, she was the character.  All the Roads Between was telling the story of her life…and the author was finding a ton of success from her life.  It didn’t take a lot of investigating for her to find out the true identity of the author, for it could have only been one person, her best friend and first love, Jason Colbertson.

I have read many books that tell a story from present day and then flashback to tell the story from the character’s past, but I can honestly say that this book was one of the most ingenious ways that I’ve seen this done.  It was a book within a book.  As Emiline was reading All the Roads Between, I was reading it right along with her.  Brilliant!

Emiline was not comfortable opening up about her past.  Reading about it brought a lot of the hurt back to the surface.  Emiline and Jason didn’t have ideal childhoods, but they did have each other.  Their friendship and bond was the only bright spot in both of their lives. 

Reading the sections from Em and Jason’s past was a truly heartbreaking experience.  Seeing what they both had to endure and what their daily lives entailed was nothing that any child should be faced with.  But it’s not all gloom and doom, they did have their share of sweet moments amidst the darker times.  Their relationship developed from friendship into love.  I loved them together.  They needed each other, they had each other’s backs and wanted the best for each other.

From early on in the book, it was inevitable that Emiline and Jason would come face to face again.  I waited on pins and needles for that moment.  I needed to know how it would all play out.  Would they be swept up in the emotion?  Would they grab each other and hug fiercely?  Would there be too many hard feelings for them to overlook?  I just wanted the past to finally meet the present.  I wanted to witness them coming together after all these years.  It didn’t happen quickly.  It was a slow progression in the story.  I loved the characters as children/adolescents, but I wanted more of them and their interactions as adults (especially Jason). 

There were so many things that I was anticipating in this novel.  I wanted to know how All the Roads Between would end.  I wanted to know how Jason envisioned the ending of his own story with Emiline.  How would their true story end?  Would real life mimic fiction?

Swear on This Life is an intriguing second chance romance.  Filled with emotion, heartache, hope, forgiveness, love and fate, it takes you on a fast paced reading experience that stays with you long after you’ve read the final page.  I am already looking forward to reading whatever Renée Carlino’s creative mind comes up with next.


*4 Stars