Book Review: Swear on This Life

Swear on This Life

 4.39  ·   Rating Details  ·  185 Ratings  ·  135 Reviews
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?

TeriLyn's thoughts: **Swear on this Life generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Another compelling story told from the distinct romance writing voice of Renee Carlino. Her writing once again pulls deliberate and full focus from readers thrusting us into this second-chance-type love story. Yet so much more than romance is the focus of Swear on This Life. The structure and format of her story is unique providing a fresh perspective for the romance genre. And the growth and realizations discovered by the heroine through many different themes makes the book much more than a love story. 

Told from the first person point of view of the heroine and alternating between her present and her past we learn the story of two poor kids who grew up in much less than desirable circumstances with not the best parental figures. The past is told from the perspective of a book written with this book and provides an extra layer of certainty and integrity to the hero and heroines lives. It's the sweet story of two children living a dilapidated life and finding solace in each other. They learn and grow together until one fateful night when they say good bye. In the present, the scars of their past shape everything they accomplish or not so deeply even when they try to repress it. Each having moved on from the atrocities of their childhood by letting each other go yet never truly forgetting their intense emotional bond. 

Carlino's writing chops are nothing short of stellar. Her story structure really impressed me with this book. How fluidly she unfolded all the emotions, how she incorporated the past, how she made it so much more than a simple love story all shape this story in the best of ways. The book presents a sort of love triangle in an interesting and non-angsty light, if that makes any sense propelling the self-discovery, forgiveness and acceptance into a tight, succinct story. Swear on this Life is an intriguing read. The complexity of the relationships explored and the dynamics of the characters reminiscent of that forever kind of life-altering love. It's childhood relationships and circumstance molding us into the adults we are. The themes within this story are as triumphant as they are harrowing. What I found interesting about the romance of the book is that the focus isn't truly on the romance. It's more self introspection and growth of the heroine through the undying, fierce emotions from her childhood love. 

For romance lovers and women's fiction lovers. For a lovely day of reading a brilliantly written story. For lovers of Renee Carlino's work. She weaves a beautiful story. Swear on This Life will capture your reading heart.

Lori L. Clark

She Reads New Adult Admin: Lori L. Clark

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