Janie Hickok Siess's Reviews > Everything We Give

Everything We Give by Kerry Lonsdale
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Everything We Give is the third installment in Kerry Lonsdale's trilogy. The first volume, Everything We Keep, focused on Aimee, while Carlos/James' story was at the center of Everything We Left Behind. The journey of Ian Collins, Aimee's husband, is showcased in the concluding installment.

James re-emergence and reappearance upended Aimee and Ian's relationship. But they have spent several months trying to get back on track -- Aimee is busy with plans to open two more cafes, while Ian has enjoyed successful gallery showings of his photographs and has an opportunity to shoot pictures for a story in National Geographic. Even though they are confident of their love for each other and commitment to their marriage and four-year-old daughter, Caty, Ian is ill at ease. One night he realizes what has been troubling him. While he has been frustrated that Aimee has not achieved complete closure concerning her relationship with James (his photos still hang in the cafe), Ian has not come to terms with his own troubled relationship with his parents. For years he has carried the guilt of believing that his actions cost his mother her freedom and tore their family apart. He's been completely estranged from his family for sixteen years and hasn't seen his mother for many more. He has no idea of her whereabouts and has sworn to himself that he will find her, but never made a concerted effort to search for her.

As he leaves on assignment for the National Geographic feature, he knows that he must finally find his mother and make amends. But James turns up yet again with a message from the elusive psychic who has intervened in their lives before. Time is of the essence. The assignment will not wait, and the psychic has designated a date and time when she will be available to meet with him -- at his childhood home in Idaho. At stake are Ian's career trajectory and information that might at last bring him peace about his tumultuous childhood.

Kerry Lonsdale reunites readers with Aimee, Ian, and James. As the story opens, James has fallen in love and settled in Kauai to raise his two sons, but returned to Northern California to tie up some old business. That includes delivering a message to Ian from Lacy, the would-be psychic who found him on the beach in Hawaii a month earlier and told him she knew someone who needed her help. Just as Ian is about to leave for Spain for the most important assignment of his career, forces seem to converge in an attempt to derail him. Aimee is tense, consumed with preparations to expand her successful business. But she is not devoted to the venture and questioning whether she has made the right decision. She is also bothered by the fact that Ian has not moved past her interaction with James months ago, despite her having explained it, apologized, and reassured Ian numerous times that she is devoted only to him and their family.

Through narration from Ian as a young boy, Lonsdale reveals the details of his traumatic childhood with a frequently absent photographer father and his mother, Sarah, who struggled with mental illness. Lonsdale conducted research to understand and write about Sarah's condition from the perspective of her child. Ian became the de facto parent in the relationship, caring for and watching over his mother while simultaneously needing what every child needs -- a loving mother to nurture him. While the entire story is enjoyable and touching, Lonsdale's writing is best in the chapters describing Ian's harrowing experiences and his eventual, permanent separation from the mother he adored. She also achieves just the right tone when exploring Ian's anger at and refusal to maintain a relationship with his father. She convincingly explains why Ian blamed his father for their family's challenges, citing his business trips during which Ian was left alone for days at a time with his mother. However, Lonsdale also credibly details Ian's adult journey to discover the truth about what happened so many years ago, as well as his readiness and ability to accept that his childhood perceptions were not always accurate. And with the love and support of his wife, Ian is able to find peace, acceptance, and forgiveness -- for himself and his parents.

Everything We Give is an emotionally satisfying and moving conclusion to Lonsdale's addicting trilogy. It is a bittersweet milestone for her readers -- with all mysteries solved, and all questions answered, it is time to bid good-bye to the beloved characters of Aimee, James, Ian, et al. But Lonsdale leaves them with secure, happy futures and readers richer for having joined them on their journeys of discovery.

Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.
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Reading Progress

June 13, 2018 – Shelved
June 13, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
July 8, 2018 – Finished Reading

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