Wanting to escape her life in New York City before starting medical school in the fall, Anna Dillon convinces her best friend Dante to travel with her to Thailand on a medical mission. While volunteering in a coastal village recently ravaged by a tsunami, Anna meets Jude Grayson. They share an instant attraction that leads to a brief, passionate affair. When she has to rush home for a family emergency, he promises to stay in touch.
But Jude never calls, and Anna tries desperately to forget him.
Five years pass, and Anna finally moves on with Dante after giving up hope that Jude will ever return—until they come face to face again in a chance encounter. Reeling, Anna discovers the life-altering secret of why Jude never contacted her—and why they can’t be together. But the passion that ignited between them on an exotic beach years ago never died, making it impossible to stay away from each other.
And Dante? Anna discovers that the friend she grew to love—and trust—has a secret of his own.
In This Life was an interesting read. The story kept me turning pages and the writing is quite beautiful, but there are some points in the story that could use a bit of work.
The novel is about a young woman who encounters a stranger while on a volunteering expedition. Within ten days of spending time with each other, they fall completely head-over-heels in love with each other. But Anna and Jude are ripped apart due to the death of Anna’s mother. She must rush back to see her family, and he needs to go back to his life.
For five long years, Anna can only dream of the day he will show up back in her life again. Until she can’t. Devastated by the loss of two loved ones, Anna finds solstice in her best friend Dante, who she eventually marries. And just as she begins to come to terms with the fact that it just wasn’t meant to be, guess who shows up?
Firstly, I just really hate insta-love. Like I can’t STAND it. It doesn’t make much sense to me. I believe in interest at first sight, because I do think that you can be compelled to like something or someone at a glance, but to just fall in love at the drop of a hat? Like, no.
Anna and Jude barely have a conversation before she decides that there’s something special about him.
“Yet all my anger and longing seemed to dissolve once the stranger in the baseball cap appeared. Who was he and how did he pull it off?”
If they had had a longer and more meaningful conversation, I would be more inclined to believe they had chemistry, but sorry, I really couldn’t here.
Further into the story however, as their relationship developed, it was the writing to allowed me to believe in that there was something more between Anna and Jude. Somehow, out of a relationship that was based off of nothing, the author was able to create a deep and intense love that actually made sense!
They say love is found in the darkest of moments when you’re lost and alone and in desperate search of answers. But that night, we found love in merriment and joy.
I really enjoyed the romance between the two, despite the insta-love, and despite his actual stalkerish behaviour.
Sometimes, I would blend in with the crowd of people in the emergency room just to be able to watch her at work. There were times when she was close enough for me to touch her. I would inhale the air she walked in. I would listen in on her conversations. I craved to be a part of her life.
And then there’s Dante, the other guy.
So some of this is my fault, but I really thought you’d forget about him. Look at all the women I’d been with— I thought he would be the same for you.
What a selfish thing to assume! Anna, you really know how to pick them.
But, nonetheless, I do think she developed meaningful relationships with both men, sending the message that there are different kinds of love you have for different people.
How the author chose to end the story though … it felt like she just threw that in there to tie up loose ends. Instead of allowing Anna to make a decision based on what she has learned throughout the story, it was like she was forced to accept and settle for the only option. I wish there was more confrontation between Anna and herself, because that would’ve helped with character development, which is another area I found lacking.
The very last few pages were cute though, and gave me a somewhat satisfying conclusion.
Overall, In this Life is an emotional novel that deals with some important messages. The writing is nice and the plot will keep you reading. I’d recommend it if you enjoy drama-filled love stories.
Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book in return for an honest review.