Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
“Ten years is a long time and even though I love you, I don’t think this is best for us anymore.” Those are the words that fall from Liam Barnes’ lips and leave Harper Reed’s heart in ruins on the side of Interstate 5. He’s lost and he thinks leaving her and all of Oregon in his rear-view is what he needs to find himself, dragging her heart right along with him as he goes.
Blindsided and devastated by the loss, Harper’s life crumbles around her, but she’s not the only one rocked by the news of Liam’s departure. Austin Hayward, Liam’s best friend and her long-time admirer, handles it about as well as Harper—not well at all. He is the only other person who understands the abandonment and helplessness she feels, and she finds comfort in their common sorrow and, unexpectedly, in his arms.
It’s where Austin has always wanted her and where neither of them predicted she would end up. But is it where she’ll stay? Is a new spark enough, when compared to an old flame, like the one Austin can see still flickering in her eyes?
Toward the end of a downward spiral lie the answers. What You Leave Behind is a story of anxious hearts, the deceitful self, and what it means to be lost and found again.
Well I was almost in tears from the break up in the prologue. Have we not all been through one bad break up? And the first is the most devastating. My heart went out to Harper in droves. But it this story is not just about her loss, but also about the loss of Austin’s best friend…he was dumped as well by Liam when he just up and left Harper. The three good friends were no more….and Harper and Austin had to come to terms with this.
The progression of life after devastation was so well told. One survives a break-up little by little and the time frame is different for each individual and each break-up. The writing was so good in my opinion that one could not help but feel gut wrenching hurt for Harper and being uplifted when Harper began to accept and move on.
I must say though, I don’t know anyone who has the luxury of essentially NOT going into work for a month….even if it was a family run business. So this part was a bit unrealistic in my opinion. We all need time to grieve, but life must go on.
I enjoyed Hilary (Harper’s mother), with her love of knives when protecting her daughter. 🙂 Her jabs at Liam made me chuckle…..serves him right for messing with her daughter.
Clare and Dylan were great on many levels. They provided much needed comic relief while encouraging Harper to think about each decision she made. I loved how Clare just spoke her mind. And when they all moved in together….giggles abounded.
The changing relationship of Harper and Austin post breakup was very stirring and relatable. I found Austin’s sensitivity to Harper’s feeling very moving. He was not a perfect suitor but throughout the story he held what was best for Harper in the forefront of his feelings and actions. It spoke volumes to me about what a solid character he was, regardless of his checkered upbringing.
The whole journey (and I shall not say more as I feel you must read the story and thus I cannot include anything that would spoil the read) was thought provoking and heart-wrenching but well worth the journey. You won’t be disappointed (at least in this readers opinion).