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About the Author
Carmel Harrington is an internationally published novelist from Co. Wexford, where she lives with her family. She has published seven novels and been shortlisted twice (2016 & 2017) for an Irish Book Award. Her books have captured the hearts of readers worldwide and are published in eight languages to date. She is co-founder of The Inspiration Project and was Chair of Wexford Literary Festival from 2015 – 2018.
email@example.com | www.carmelharrington.com | FB/TW/INST: @HappyMrsH
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Carmel Harrington has managed to pull it out of the bag again - a superb follow up to "Beyond Grace's Rainbow". The writing flows easily and the story pitches along at perfect pace. Sarah is going through a really tough time of it but shows resilience that is typical of many women today, who just get on with things in the midst of adversity. I absolutely loved the psychic theme though it didn't play as big a part as I had expected. Michelle is a right piece of work and I literally wanted to tear her hair out. Sarah deals with her so placidly - I would have been clawing her eyes out! Carmel has a real flair for bringing her characters to life and it's hard not to feel emotionally connected. I really look forward to Carmel's next book, can't wait to see what she dreams up next.
I just finished the novel “The Life You Left” by Carmel Harrington and I want to say that my mind has been blown. That may sound pretty strong, but here’s why: I have never considered myself a mystery/suspense kind of reader. This cross-genre book has me rethinking the box I’ve put myself in. Had I stuck to my own category, I would have missed this terrific read. I cracked this book open because I loved Harrington’s debut novel “Beyond Grace’s Rainbow.” At the very least, I thought, it will be well written since the first one was. I just didn’t know if I’d be able to stick with it. Right out of the gate, I was won over. What an opening. ‘Sarah, I’m not coming home tonight.¿If you love me, you will give me the space I need…¿Tell the children I love them.’ As a wife and mother myself, I had to wonder what I’d do if I received such an email from my husband. I wanted to know where he was and what happened. As the story unfolded under the skilled supervision of Harrington, I was treated to watching Sarah Lawler, the protagonist, struggle with her own feelings as a rejected woman and the financial pit she was thrown into while she stayed strong for her confused children. Her humanity is three-dimensional. She’s never a saint or a martyr…she has her rage, and she drinks her wine. However, she keeps her eye on the prize and does what needs to be done. Isn’t that every woman’s story in a way? She has the support of her twin brother, James, who is a complicated character unto himself, and provides enough of the “hot factor” to please a dedicated romance and chick lit reader like myself. James is a private detective with a best friend in the Irish Gardai, and cannot help playing sleuth when a mystery presents itself. He’s Sarah’s rock, and his character helps reveal, teaspoon by teaspoon, the trauma of Sarah’s early years. Another layer to the book is the fact that Sarah has been blessed (or cursed?) with clairvoyance and other psychic gifts. She dreams, intuits, and feels beyond the five senses. And to top it all off, her best friend since childhood is Edward, a benevolent angel who functions to lead Sarah to learn and accept truths about who she authentically is as a person. When her children’s teacher is murdered, Sarah’s psychic ability kicks into overdrive, and her pull to save others from a similar fate ensnares her brother, the police detective, her mother-in-law, and the children’s kind and upstanding principal into various investigations. In my opinion, there was a real danger of going a saccharine or “pat” route with the various stories in the novel, but Harrington deftly frosts these well-known themes with a fresh icing. I read a lot, and I was pleasantly surprised by the twists this story took. I also appreciated the freshness of the voice and the uniqueness in the dialogue. Each character’s voice rang with a distinct tone. This is a solid book with a memorable story, and it crosses genres from Women’s Fiction, to Mystery, to Paranormal, to Romance. I want a sequel. Just as with Harrington’s debut novel, the characters are still with me, and the world was drawn so vividly I still have a movie of it in my head. I’m not finished hanging out with Sarah Lawler and the people who surround her.
Good read, you should try this one. Enjoyed it alot.
It was the honesty in which the synopsis of this book was written that really drew me in, and I just knew that this book could really be something special. I’ve been reading a lot of young adult and new adult books recently, and was looking for an adult novel which I could read, to bring me back into the adult romance genre. I expected it to be an adjustment for me to read a book that wasn’t heavily romantic, but Carmel Harrington didn’t for one second have me thinking that I had nothing to relate to in the story, as she melded together so many different elements of real, and fantasy life, so flawlessly, that I just didn’t want the book to end. Sarah was quite frankly, one of the most relatable and fantastic heroines in a contemporary novel that I have ever read. Her strength just awed me from the first page, when we see the devastating shock she has when her husband leaves her and their children with only an email, no money, or assurances that he will return. She was a pillar of strength for her three children, and always put them first, refusing to sink under the pain of her husband’s abandonment and doing her best for her children, despite her heartbreak. Sarah is been put firmly on my list of all time favourite heroines, and my god, does she deserve such a title. What really set this story aside from others in its genre was the absolutely stunning writing style, and the beautiful way that Carmel Harrington depicted Sarah’s relationship with her twin brother James. She managed to pull off an amazing feat by having Sarah’s hero be her brother rather than a love interest, and I adored all the scenes they had together, as well as the scenes where we see James put his sister before the romantic conquests in his life. It was truly a beautiful, beautiful relationship, which I hope gets the credit it deserves. The added fantasy/paranormal elements of the return of Sarah’s childhood friend, her guardian angel Edward, added another extraordinary layer to the story which added suspense to the crime storyline, and a really fascinating insight into the paranormal world, something that is becoming more and more popular as a belief in the modern world. This alongside the crime storyline had me sitting on the edge of my seat in suspense and I just couldn’t stop reading until I knew what had happened. I loved the different layers of this story, and how there were a number of different characters who took centre stage at different times. Sarah’s storyline where she tries to accept the breakdown of her marriage and how her husband Paul had previously cheated on her with his new partner, was something that really had me in limbo when it came to Paul’s future, and whether I felt he deserved to find happiness and have the chance to be a father to his children after the way he left them behind with little apology. Carmel Harrington pulled this off beautifully, and really shows the true extent of her talent as an author. 5 stars and a definite recommended read. *Review Copy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*
One of the best books I've ever read. Great group of friends discover one of them has cancer. Describes how they all cope and help each other through her treatment, finding her birthmother, her young son's father return, her marriage, the return of her cancer and finally her death. A story of friendship, much love and searching for what is right. Will definitely read more by this author.