REVIEW: The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
This book begs to be read and interpreted by the reader without telling you why, other than you need to experience it, if not for its amazing journey, then maybe because it is so unusual and ingenious. It’s that special.
The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
Category: Contemporary with unusual elements
Publisher: Gallery Books (December 30, 2014)
Rated 5 + Recommended Read
Format: read in eBook, also available in print
Kate remembers that fateful day as if it was yesterday. The day her husband Patrick came home late without calling her and she realized he had met up with an ex-girlfriend. Of course she was jealous and hurt, even though Patrick claimed innocence and was extremely excited about something he wanted to share with her at dinner the next night. As tragic fate steps in, the very next morning, before they can have that dinner the next day, Patrick is killed by a drunk driver on his way to a client meeting.
Twelve years later, Kate is still grieving the loss of her husband and their life as it was intended to be. She’s trying to move on, has a steady boyfriend who loves her and proposes marriage. Can she accept her life as it is now and marry the man who seems perfect in every way?
Kate is a music therapist who works with kids with special needs. She hopes to be a mother someday herself but finds out she’s infertile from her doctor the day Dan proposes in front of her family and friends. Will this change her relationship with Dan, or will they work out their future around this major life obstacle?
As she’s contemplating how her life has changed since she married Patrick and how it is about to change once again when she marries Dan, Kate begins to have vivid dreams of Patrick who died twelve years ago. If she thinks too hard about her reality, the dream fades away and she’s once again in her real life and not in the dream life that feels so very precious. What do the dreams mean, and can she face real life without wishing she was living in her dream world, forever?
This is one of those very unusual plots that is hard to categorize. Some may think of it as spiritual, while others may think of it as having paranormal elements, and then some may think of it as intuitive. There may even be some who will stop reading too soon because they have doubts and can’t extend their belief long enough to get to the point of the story. I hate to classify this book or even review it at all because I don’t want to give you any preconceived notions, or keep you from reading this book with my effort at describing it. It’s that special but also difficult to explain without you experiencing it in the order and the way it is written. It begs to be read and interpreted by the reader without telling you why, other than you need to experience it, if not for its amazing journey, then maybe because it is so unusual and ingenious.
There were some moments when I couldn’t help but wonder where this plot was going, or how author Kristin Harmel was going to get us there, as well as if I’d find it believable and satisfying. I can’t tell you why I had these feelings because I don’t want to spoil the story for you. It’s really better if you know nothing going in so you can feel it as it happens. The best part of this novel is trying to guess what you think will happen next and why the character is experiencing what she does, and whether you can even grasp her reasoning. Even though you think you know what’s going to happen, there are some details that are surprising as well as emotionally gripping. This book delves into the numerous aspects of love and its many glorious renderings, from love to loss to loving again. Beautiful and poignant—the tears will flow in sadness and joy and the impact of this well-layered, multifaceted novel will stay with you for a very long time after reading the last page.
I cried like a baby for Kate. She’s a hot mess and yet, she’s trying so hard to figure out the meaning behind all the circumstances that seem to tie her to what could have been her future. So beautiful. I also sometimes wanted to shake her because I was so afraid she was about to give up on life. Kate is complex and yet, she has so much to say to each of us about dealing with loss in the most compassionate way without losing part of ourselves in the process. Also, even though there are some heart-breaking moments, this novel is joyful with a romantic element that makes so much sense when it’s finally revealed.
THE LIFE INTENDED is an excellent and powerful portrayal of conflicted emotions. The plot is unexpected and very clever, as well as emotionally riveting. If you love to experience a moving, mystifying, effervescent story based on the diversity and intensity of love, then try THE LIFE INTENDED. I highly recommend it.
Reviewed by Dorine, courtesy of Romance Junkies. ARC provided by NetGalley.
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What’s on your TBR Mountain Range? Do you enjoy contemporary books with unusual elements? What are some of your favorites?