Book Title: What’s Left Of Me
Author: Kristen Granata
Release Date: July 16th, 2020
Synopsis: Callie is an Orange County housewife in a hard marriage and she’s fooling herself into believing that she’s happy. Till the brother of her best friend and neighbour moves in next door. Cole is everything her husband isn’t and Callie is drawn to him in a way that puts her in even more trouble with her husband. But Cole is determined to help Callie in every way that he can and sometimes things more complicated before they get better.
Review: This is a strong book. It’s not just about romantic love between two people, but it’s about loving yourself. It’s a book about facing your fears and focusing on yourself. It is absolutely powerful and Kristen Granata has woven a story that will linger in your mind for days to come. And as of this moment, I am a Kristen Granata fan for life.
“Like the brokenness inside me can somehow detect another lost soul. Someone who can understand me.“
The two main characters, Callie Kingston and Cole Luciano, are broken souls. Both of them have been, and continue to, through so much in their lives. Callie is in a broken marriage that has gotten worse and more painful ever since it became clear that she’s unable to have a child. Her husband lashes out and hurts her, leaving bruises all over her body. Cole was in love once and then had everything ripped away from him all at once and he’s been carrying this guilt around forever. So obviously when they first meet, it’s absolutely horrible. Their second meeting, after learning who the other is, things are only a little less better. But the more they meet, the more things improve, but they’re both so cautious around each other. And for good reason.
Callie is a beautiful character. She’s going through all this trauma in her life, but she always makes time for her best friend and her kids and then her new friends. Through therapy, Callie is introduced to a Women’s Support Group and the women in that group become her entire world. The female friendship in this book is so powerful and such an important part of the story. All the supporting women – from Josie, her best friend, to Melissa, her therapist, and the women in the group – provide Callie with such a strong base of support that it helps her grow into who she’s meant to be and helps her become the woman that puts herself first.
“I’ve had it wrong, Callie. This whole time I thought you needed a savior, and I knew I couldn’t be that man. But I see it so clearly now. You’re my savior. My angel. My redemption.”
Cole is truly mysterious. You get to see these flashbacks where you learn about his life and what he went through, but even then, you don’t know everything. And no matter how much Josie or Callie tries to get him to open up, he’s keeping his secrets and truths close to his chest. Cole coming to Callie’s rescue every single time feels like he’s trying to atone for the mistakes he’s made in his life. His darkness and his fear is truly what draws you to him. You want to know his secrets and you want to help him right from the moment you see that there’s so much more to him than just a nice face.
“Emotion gushes free, bringing with it the muck and sludge from the very bottom of my depths. The parts of me that I’ve kept hidden for so long, the parts I’m ashamed to allow to be seen, the guilt and the hatred and the rage. Callie opens Pandora’s box and sets my soul free.“
It’s the slowest of slow burns, but that’s the beauty of this story. Callie is still married to Paul and even though she’s filed for divorce and she’s moved out, things between her and Cole are building slowly. Everybody can tell how they both feel about each other, but that doesn’t matter. I love that Callie and Cole don’t jump into bed together just because she’s making a decision to move away from Paul and their marriage. But the moment that everything shifts and changes feels like relief and they take their time to really explore the chance of a relationship.
I am in awe of this book and I absolutely loved everything about it. I cannot recommend this book enough and I hope others who are new to Kristen Granata will join me on the journey of catching up on her backlist!
Thanks to Kristen Granata for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!