The Life You Left – Carmel Harrington
Publisher: HarperImpulse (HarperCollins)
Release Date: 19 June 2014
Sarah, I’m not coming home tonight. If you love me, you will give me the space I need… Tell the children I love them. Paul
It started out like any other day for Sarah Lawler; getting the kids ready for school, making the pack lunches and juggling baby Ella’s feeds.
There was no way of knowing that her husband, Paul, would leave for work that morning and simply not come home.
Now the questions are piling up quicker than the unpaid bills and, unable to answer her children’s questions about where their Daddy is, Sarah is getting desperate.
But it turns out she isn’t quite as alone as she thought she was. When her beloved childhood friend, Edward, comes back into her life, Sarah thinks she’s finally been thrown a life line.
There’s just one problem with Edward: no one else can see him.
Edward is an angel. And he has a message for Sarah that will change her life and the lives of others forever. For it is only in the most difficult of times that Sarah can discover how strong she truly is.
Set in a small coastal village on the beautiful Irish coast, The Life You Left is a story of redemption and the strength of love.
This review will be slightly shorter than normal as I’ve got a lovely surprise for you in just a bit!
Carmel Harrington’s second book, The Life You Left, is very different to her first (smashing) novel, Beyond Grace’s Rainbow. The plot is twistier, darker and there are so many more elements and plotlines within her second book. In The Life You Left you’ve got a dissolving marriage, single parenthood, murder, angels, psychics and a main character finding love again. To say there’s a lot going on would be an understatement.
I’ll be completely candid and say that I wasn’t so sure about the psychic/guardian angel theme in the book. I’m not an overly religious person and I don’t really believe in psychic abilities either, so that aspect of the book was a stretch for me to get behind. I’m sure that it will appeal to loads but that’s really the only bit that just wasn’t for me.
One of Harrington’s strongest points are her characters. In The Life You Left, she takes the time to craft her characters and make them completely realistic. Even the children are included with their own distinct personalities and traits—you can tell Harrington is a lovely and experienced mum. I really did find each character to be quite well rounded and unique and a joy to read… except for Michelle! She’s a bit of a snake!
All around, I really enjoyed The Life You Left. I liked that Harrington’s writing has matured and started to encompass broader plotlines and subjects. I for one am greatly looking forward to whatever comes next from this brilliant author!
And now… a quickie interview with Carmel Harrington herself!
Thanks for stopping by The London Diaries on your book tour, Carmel!The Life You Left and Beyond Grace’s Rainboware two very different books.Which was easier to write, and did your writing style/technique differ between the two?
It’s my pleasure to be here! Yes, they are very different. I think my writing style is the same in both, I’ve been told I have an almost conversational style, I write as if I’m in the same room as you, telling you the story in person. Thats the Irish in me!
I think if I’m honest, The Life You Left was harder to write, only because it was the second book and I really wanted to make sure that it was a worthy follow up to Beyond Grace’s Rainbow.
Do you have any habits, rituals or superstitions with regards to your writing?
I don’t have any superstitions, but when I finish the first draft of my books, no matter what time of the day or night, I will have a brandy!
I greatly enjoyed the characters inThe Life You Left and I’m sure readers will as well. Did you have a favourite character inThe Life You Left?If so, who was it and why did you latch on to them? Likewise, which character was the most challenging to write?
I’m so pleased to hear that you enjoyed them! I loved James, his cheeky but very loveable nature was a dream to write, but equally, I think Sarah is a great character, with huge inner strength. I did find writing all the baddies challenging at first. Paul, Sarahs husband, I found particularly difficult, because I can not understand a parent who walks away from their children. But it happens. He was harder to write than Mal or Michelle, who are both pretty horrible!
Other than promotingThe Life You Left, what’s next for you this year?
I’m working on my third novel right now, which takes up Abby’s story, from Beyond Grace’s Rainbow. It will have all the gang too, with lots from Tom and Gerry too in particular.
Last but not least, my favorite question and possibly the most revealing! Hemingway once wrote a story in just six words (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”). What would be your six word story for your life so far?
Loves family, Loves Life, Loves Books