Carlos Dominguez is an artist in Oaxaca, Mexico. He has two young sons, although he lost his wife in childbirth. He gets along okay, especially with the help of the boys' aunt.
And then he finds out that it's all a lie.
Six years earlier, he had been in Mexico on a business trip when his life was threatened. He woke up in the hospital with painful injuries but no memory. A woman sat beside his bed and told him who he was--her brother Carlos. The trouble with that is that nothing she said was true. His real name was James Donato, and he was months away from marrying his childhood sweetheart when he'd come to Mexico. He was about to get everything he wanted in life when it was all turned upside down.
After six years in a fugue state, not remembering anything before waking in the hospital, suddenly Carlos is remembering everything that came before. And he has to figure out how to raise two boys who are strangers to him (and who just lost their dad, in a way, just a few years after losing their mother). He has to learn how to live as James again after being Carlos for so many years. And, most importantly, he has to find out if he and his family are in danger and what to do about it if they are.
In Everything We Keep, author Kerry Lonsdale told us the story of Aimee, whose fiance died right before their wedding, or so she was told. In Everything We Left Behind, we hear the other side of that story, that of the fiance, James, and what he had to go through after waking up in Mexico with no memory of what happened.
Told through the unusual perspective of the two men, James and Carlos, Everything We Left Behind is the story of a family in crisis, of a man learning again what it is to be a father, and a journey of discovery for a man who had everything and lost it, and had everything and lost it again. The story of where Carlos has been and where James is going is a compelling ride of secrets and lies, of love lost and hope renewed. Tightly written and imminently readable, this novel is the perfect book to scratch that need-me-some-drama itch.
Galleys for Everything We Left Behind were provided by Lake Union Publishing through NetGalley.,com, with many thanks.