You know when you’re looking at someone and you can’t help but smile at how oblivious they are to their own charm? That’s what was happening to me, and it was making me feel…happy. Euphoric. Something indescribable. It was like we already knew each other, like we had met in a previous life. Memories that didn’t exist began exploding in my mind like fireworks.
Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, searching for a spark to jump-start her life and give her a sense of purpose. She’s had as many jobs as she’s had bad relationships, and now she’s feeling especially lost in her less-than-glamorous gig at a pie-and-fry joint in Los Angeles, where the uniforms are bad and the tips are even worse.
Then she collides—literally—with Adam, an intriguing, handsome, and mysterious painter. Their serendipitous meeting on the street turns into a whirlwind one-night stand that has Charlotte feeling enchanted by Adam’s spontaneity and joy for life. There’s promise in both his words and actions, but in the harsh light of morning, Adam’s tune changes, leaving Charlotte to wonder if her notorious bad luck with men is really just her own bad judgment.
Months later, a new relationship with Seth, a charming baseball player, is turning into something more meaningful, but Charlotte’s still having trouble moving past her one enthralling night with Adam. Why? When she searches for answers, she finds the situation with Adam is far more complicated than she ever imagined. Faced with the decision to write a new story with Seth or finish the one started with Adam, Charlotte embarks on a life-altering journey, one that takes her across the world and back again, bringing a lifetime’s worth of pain, joy, and wisdom.
For the love of God of Ugly Tears, thank you for my puffy face, itchy eyes, and salt crusted pillows. As I was marking this book on my Goodreads “Reading-Now” shelf I happened to stumble upon early reviews starting with [paraphrasing] “Warning! Ugly cry ahead!”. However, even seeing that I was not prepared or ABLE to fully prepare to read this in public because fun fact about me is: I read 90% of the time on the train on my commute to/from work. My justification is that I have perfected the art of crying in my hair and let’s be real about it… NYC is full of weirdos… I have officially blended in and became one of them.
I related to Charlotte very much, a little bit lost and too much free spirit to find the right direction in life. That is until Adam. My heart still breaks the journey that Charlotte goes through with Adam. Their every interaction was like a piece of poetry. From their serendipitous meeting to all that happens that shape the construct of love and life, there is not a moment where you can put this book down. The more I read the more I was falling into the wonderful rabbit-hole that Renee’s writing and imagination create.
To sum up, the story is just a sad and beautiful life of Charlotte as she stands on the precipice of who she really is. Even after she tries to move on from her short encounter with Adam, by trying to move on with her life with Seth. I believe this book is a tragic love story with heartbreaking timing of events that cause severe heartbreak in Charlotte and us readers. However, Renee delivers on redemption and moving on in a very real way.
So now I must do the same as Charlotte… get out of my funk and anticipate Renee’s next book that hopefully won’t tear my heart in pieces.
“You’re making love sound tragic,” I said.
“No”—he shook his head—“I wouldn’t want it any other way. Tell me about us. What do we like to do?”
“Paint and sail and eat and drink. Just simple things.” “Don’t forget about sex,” he said.
“Yeah, lots of sex. Before the children were born we
“We were practically naked every second of the day.”
“I like that.”
“When they got older, we’d sneak away for weekends and leave them at my mom’s.”
“What are they like? Our children.”
“Happy. That’s all we wished for. We put our love first and it just spilled over into them and now they’re happy.”
Tears sprang from my eyes and ran down my cheeks. Isn’t that what we all hope for when it comes to our children?
His tone suddenly changed. “That’s beautiful, Char- lotte.” It was like he was waking up from the dream. I didn’t want to go back to reality yet, but I knew these fantasies were just to help Adam get his mind off things.
“I can imagine a long life with you,” he said. “I can imagine what a great wife you’d be.”
I pulled my hand out of his. “The story is about you and me.” He didn’t say anything; he just nodded and then continued to stare out the window. I bent and kissed the top of his head again, and whispered, “It’s about us. Don’t take that away from me.”
Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women’s novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com