On our wedding day, my fiance, James, arrived at the church in a casket.
Well, that’s certainly a way to start a book. Everything We Keep is a poignant story that follows Aimee as she seeks to find some sense of normalcy after her fiancee goes missing for nearly two months, then suddenly washes ashore, dead. When a mysterious woman approaches her after the funeral with enigmatic messages that allude to James still being alive, Aimee is wary and keeps her distance, too stricken with grief to process whether the woman means well or wants to exploit her. But when the woman returns after more than a year with evidence that seems to back up her claims, it’s impossible for Aimee to ignore.
Reading Everything We Keep is an emotional roller-coaster. The journey Aimee goes on is definitely interesting, and finds her leaving the cocoon of her hometown to explore a seaside town in Mexico. On one hand, I empathized with Aimee as she sought closure from a relationship ended too soon. Her fiancee simply went missing and she needed answers and couldn’t move on fully until she had it. On the other hand, I wanted to her simply let go before she found answers she couldn’t accept or would irreparably tarnish the image she had of the man she planned to spend her life with.
I appreciated the structure of the book, which relied heavily on flashbacks to Aimee and James’ childhood. Having some events take place in the past gave context for the complicated relationships between Aimee and James’ family. It took a while for me to piece together the relevance of the flashbacks, but Lonsdale tied them together well. One critique I do have is the pacing of the book overall, which seemed a bit slow to me. Her trip to Mexico happened more than half-way through the book, but in many ways is of the greatest significance.
I didn’t fully know what to expect from reading Everything We Keep, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. This book had more plot twists than I ever imagined, which not only kept me poring over the pages, but kept me intrigued along the way. I was surprised to learn this was Lonsdale’s debut. The writing is compelling, and I am definitely interested in reading future books from her.