This month was my book club choice. I’ve been wanting to read The Life intended for at least a year but haven’t gotten around to it. I figured by choosing to read it for book club that it would push me to read it.
By: Kristin Harmel
Published Year: 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): After her husband's sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she's planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn't she more excited?
At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she's really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband's hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.
What I thought
Kate’s first husband died suddenly at the age of 29. 12 years later, Kate becomes engaged. The night of her engagement, she has a realistic dream wherein her first husband never died. The dream takes place in present day, showing Kate an alternative timeline as to where he life would be if she had never lost her first husband. What she sees in this dream carries over to her everyday life.
I finished this book in two days. I loved Kate’s story. I’m trying to write this review without giving much away, which is making it kind of difficult. Kate lost her soulmate at the age of 28 and her entire life fell apart. Since Patrick’s death, she has been coasting through her life. She is in a long-term relationship and she is a successful music therapist, but she still mourns for Patrick every day.
I enjoyed how the story showed how different characters dealt with the death of a spouse. Three different characters had lost their spouse, and they each moved on in different ways. While Kate was the one who had moved on the least, it felt very realistic to me.
The biggest issue that I can see people having with this book is the dream world/reality crossovers. For example, in one of the early dreams Kate cuts her finger in the dream, and then she wakes up to her finger bleeding. It’s a big part of the story as it is a catalyst for a lot of the actions and I can see it being a part that people take issue with. I personally believe that dreams can show us things that we wouldn’t see/realize in our real life. I’d also like to believe that there are people out there who have passed who are watching over us and that they can reach out to use when we need them. So while it didn’t bother me, I could see it being a problem for some readers.
What Book Club Thought
Definitely an overall agreement on enjoying this book! There was also an agreement that some of the dream/real-life crossover was a bit much. I think there was a general range of how much parts of it bothered each book club member though. So, like I mentioned above, it might not be for certain readers. While it was a good book and I think we all enjoyed it, it didn't produce the greatest book club discussion. I think that was due in part to our mood (we had just taken a fencing class so we were a bit tired), but just something to think about.