Everything We Keep
By: Kerry Lonsdale
Publisher: Lake Union
Publication Date: 8/1/2016
My Rating: 4.5 Stars Featured Weekend Read Sous chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancé, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.
As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together. And just below the surface is a truth that may set Aimee free…or shatter her forever.
A luminous debut with unexpected twists, Everything We Keep explores the devastation of loss, the euphoria of finding love again, and the pulse-racing repercussions of discovering the truth about the ones we hold dear and the lengths they will go to protect us.
A very special thank you to the author, Lake Union, and Netgalley for an ARC (paperback) in exchange for an honest review. Also my July "Kindle First" Pick (e-book).
Kerry Lonsdale delivers a riveting debut EVERYTHING WE KEEP, a woman who attends her fiancé’s funeral instead of her wedding. From intrigue, mystery, secrets, and betrayal; being true to oneself.
Aspiring Dreams. Second Chances. From letting go, to healing, forgiveness, and love.
Sous chef Aimee Tierney has been planning a perfect wedding and perfect life with her childhood sweetheart James Donato (Donato Enterprises -import/export business). James had made promises- they would grow old together. They had been together since they were eight years old as best friends; inseparable.
They each had their own dreams. Aimee’s to open her own restaurant. James' passion was art. However, his family would not hear of this career from an early age. Aimee helped him hide in her own house as a child, to find solace, offering a place for painting without his parent’s approval.
Claire the mother had wanted James and Thomas working at the dad’s company, when they grew up, and James painting pictures was not part of her plan.
However, James disappears while on a trip to Mexico, right before the big wedding day. A tragic boating accident. She never saw the actual body. When he returned they had decided he would quit Donato Enterprises and pursue art. Painting was his passion. If she had insisted he stay home, they would be married and on their honeymoon in Saint Bart’s.
Aimee is devastated and many answers still unsettled. In addition, she receives more bad news when her parents sell their restaurant (The Goat) due to financial reasons, and she had planned on buying it. She had worked with them for years, and had envisioned buying it when they retired. They owed too much money on the business.
Over the years, while she helped her mom craft new recipes for the restaurant, James painted, and his talent and their friendship flourished turning into much more. Sous chef and restaurant manager, Aimee is at odds with her life and cannot figure out why her husband was taking off at the last minute; and the events leading to the death. She had so many memories connected to both.
Things become even more complex , when a psychic named Lucy (Lacy) shows up at the funeral and says James is alive. An enigma, she remains a mystery to the very end. Readers cannot imagine how she is connected.
Thomas, James brother (his beneficiary) shows up with money saying she was entitled. The check was dated the same date as James’ funeral. With no job and no restaurant, she is tempted to take the money. Are these two connected?
Should she use the money to start her own restaurant? Something was drawing her to Joe’s, a special place she and James frequented, to find it for lease. Joe’s Coffee house was closed. The café was empty. Gone forever. Just like everything else in her life.
Five months later, Aimee’s designer friend, Nadie wants her to attend a gallery opening for Wendy V Yee Gallery (international photography). The photographer was Ian Collins. Nadie had created a beautiful space for the artistic talent. They soon become friends.
She also starts thinking about turning Joe’s into "Aimee’s Café." James had even suggested the name. A place where they spent their Sunday mornings. Her friend, Nadie had told her she needed to move forward. Now at age twenty-seven could she be the proud owner of a business with no plan, no employees, or no product? A boutique coffee shop and gourmet eatery.
Aimee receives many clues through paintings that leaves her wondering if James may still be alive. She does not want to tell anyone-they would think she was crazy. She has to find out. She had buried her fiancé and mourned him.
She missed him something fierce, and that longing only fueled the seeds of doubt Lacy had planted. Until those went away, it wouldn’t be fair to let Ian assume she wanted anything more than friendship.
After fourteen months since James left for Mexico and one year since she buried him, Aimee’s search leads her to Mexico, with clues from the mysterious psychic, and the art gallery post card from Mexico.
Ian Collins whose wife died five years earlier, comes along- he too has suffered a painful past. Aimee’s heart reached out to him, as she knew exactly how he felt. Hollow and incomplete. Loss left an empty cavity in the chest.
If James were alive, it meant something bigger and more sinister had been going on around her and she had been too naïve to see it. However, when Ian’s sister opens up to Aimee, she learns he too has suffered a great loss and this journey with Aimee may be what he needs, and at the same time capturing his photography.
Lonsdale takes readers on a suspenseful and emotional journey, to an intense mystery of the past about James’ childhood, his accident, and how each character is a connecting puzzle piece.
Part Two takes us to The Emerald Coast to Puerto Escondido, Mexico, to a boutique beachfront resort, and a gallery to meet the artist, Carlos at this mysterious gallery. Did the postcard and painting prove James was alive, or was she wasting her time, looking for answers for the last nineteen months.
As the Belize Sunrise, true artists elicit an emotional response through their work, whether art or cooking –could Ian be the man for her, to catch her, or can she give up James’ ghost? Aimee’s heart was divided from James to Ian.
“The worst feeling in the world is never to be remembered by the one person I can’t forget.”
Does Aimee know whom she can trust? Was she losing her grip on sanity? From James, Imelda, Thomas, Lacy, James missing paintings, a death, and now Ian; opening her heart to him. It was all to to much. Who were the victims? Can perfection be an illusion?
A splendid debut! Complex, multi-layered mystery and suspense, keeping readers glued to the pages to learn the dark family secrets, and the whereabouts of James’ missing paintings.
“The pain of rejection, the pain of betrayal, and the pain of everything that had been lost to us.”
When you reach the halfway mark, there are many unexpected twists, 75% intense---and the best part the Epilogue. Twisty and surprising (Loved it)! Contemporary fiction, mixed with suspense, romance, and intrigue. Not only a physical journey traveling thousands of miles, also an internal journey.
From mental illness, DID dissociative identity disorder, fugue, emotional trauma, assault, and forgotten memories—being true to oneself. When life cannot be forced upon someone, against their will. Discovering the truth about the ones we hold dear, and the lengths they will go to protect. Would make for an entertaining movie.
Can’t wait for the next two books: All the Breaking Waves, Dec, 2016 and What We Leave Behind June, 2017! An author to follow.
Amazon Kindle First (Prime) readers, you can read this title early, before, August 1 release date. BTW, it is 3:06 am just finishing. After reading, dying for a delectable scone and an espresso! When reading, you will relate.
For all you fans of (2015) James Hankins The Prettiest One, you are going to love this smashing new name in contemporary domestic suspense!
“Heartfelt and suspenseful, Everything We Keep beautifully navigates the deep waters of grief, and one woman’s search to reconcile a past she can’t release, and a future she wants to embrace. Lonsdale’s writing is crisp and effortless and utterly irresistible—and her expertly layered exploration of the journey from loss to renewal is sure to make this a book club must-read. Everything We Keep drew me in from the first page and held me fast all the way to its deeply satisfying ending.” —Erika Marks, author of The Last Treasure
“In Everything We Keep, Kerry Lonsdale brilliantly explores the grief of loss, if we can really let go of our great loves, and if some secrets are better left buried. With a good dose of drama, a heart-wrenching love story, and the suspense of unanswered questions, Lonsdale’s layered and engrossing debut is a captivating read.” —Karma Brown, bestselling author of Come Away With Me
“A stunning debut with a memorable twist, Everything We Keep effortlessly layers family secrets into a suspenseful story of grief, love, and art. This is a gem of a book.” —Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son
About the Author
Photo Credit: Deene Souza Photography
Kerry has written professionally for over twenty years. Prior to discovering a passion for fiction writing, she was a marketing executive where her skills included management, technical writing, graphic arts, web design, and collateral development.
Her non-fiction articles and technical content have appeared in regional and trade publications, and her fiction work has received recognition in several writing contests. She is a founder of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Her debut, Everything We Keep is scheduled to release August 1, 2016 through Lake Union Publishing.
Awards & Recognition
1st Place, Rose City RWA Golden Rose Contest, 2012 2nd Place, Northeast Ohio RWA Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest, 2012 3rd Place, Indiana RWA Golden Opportunity Contest, 2012 (highest first round score for the Mainstream with Romantic Elements Category) Honorable Mention, WOW! Women-On-Writing Flash Fiction Contest, Spring 2010