“What I Left Behind” by Jennifer Archer
What I Left Behind by Jennifer Archer
“Reading Archer’s books is like having a conversation with a friend. You can feel their emotions, and it’s like you are part of their story.” – Green Gables Book Reviews
Green Gables Book Reviews thoughts: After reading and reviewing Jennifer Archer’s book, What I Never Expected, I hoped I would have the opportunity to read more books written by her. I was happy to get a copy of What I Left Behind from Book Sirens in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed What I Left Behind so much. Jennifer Archer’s books feel real; they feel relatable and like having a conversation with a friend. You can feel their emotions, and it’s like you are part of their story. She has such talent, and I am looking forward to reading more of her books. Please look at her website, there are so many books that look great, and she also has a blog!
Ally has so many beautiful things in her life, and from the outside looking in, her life probably seems like everything she could want. She is a chef, owns her cafe, The Slender Pea, and loves her staff like family. Ally loves her home and living in Portland. She is ready to take the next step with her doctor boyfriend, Warren, and he’s ready, too. Except their steps are different. Her step is to move in together. His is to get married; in fact, he has already proposed a few times. Warren’s proposals have made Ally do a lot of thinking. Why can’t she say yes? Why is she holding back? Warren wonders the same things, but yet, is patient. But, will he wait?
Ally spends many of her days searching, hoping, longing to find what she lost years ago. She has looked in the eyes of every red-haired girl she has seen and now in the eyes of the red-haired women she sees. Will she ever find the green eyes she has been searching for looking back at her? Ally has never been able to move on. She regrets putting her beautiful daughter up for adoption thirty years ago.
Warren wants to spend the rest of his life with Ally. He’s doing his best to get her to accept his proposal, and SHE DOES! Finally! They are making plans and beginning to celebrate when someone is at Ally’s door. It is a 16-year-old boy with the green eyes that Ally has been searching for all these years. The eyes of Sonny, her first love and the father of her baby.
Those green eyes turn cold as Nick greets Ally, saying, “Hello, Grandma.”
As Nick eats, he tells her that his mom, her beautiful daughter died three weeks ago from breast cancer. Ally is aching with grief, and Nick has a simmering chip on his shoulder.
A tough transition follows. Ally buys Nick anything he wants to make him happy, and Nick retreats to his room. He is angry, so angry with Ally for “not wanting” his mom. Nick tells Ally that his mom raised him alone, didn’t give HIM away. Why didn’t Ally do that for his mom? Ally is fighting the grief of Sarah’s death, missing her even more, and worrying about how she and Nick cannot seem to get along. She doesn’t think she is the right person for Nick to live with. But there is no one else.
Ally makes a decision. Warren does not like the decision, but she will do something she should have done years ago. She is going to find Sonny. Maybe Nick can live with him, wherever he is. She hasn’t heard anything from him since the night he left her without saying goodbye. He simply snuck away.
Ally finds where Sonny is online and prepares to leave on their trip to Texas. For most of the trip, Nick ignores her. But then they share some unexpected moments. And, Nick gives a glimmer, a sliver of hope to Ally.
Then, before finding Sonny, Nick reveals something Ally didn’t expect.
They do find Sonny, but Ally was unprepared. She had all of the years apart to think of her questions, but now she doesn’t know what to say after he says where he has been. And, the questions he asks makes her question her choices.
And, what about Nick?
About Jennifer Archer (website bio): Jennifer Archer is the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction works. Her novels have been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Rita Award and Romantic Times Bookclub’s Reviewer’s Choice Award. In 2013, the Texas Library Association selected her debut young adult novel, Through Her Eyes, for their first spirit of Texas Reading Program – Middle School, and for the TAYSHAS High School reading list. Jennifer enjoys teaching creativity and creative writing workshops. She also writes and edits for clients through her business, Archer Editing & Writing Services. She lives in Texas with her husband and three dogs.
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