Friday, May 29, 2015

Review: The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel

After her husband's sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she's planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn't she more excited?

At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she's really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband's hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.

5 of 5 stars

I happened to read the synopsis of this book on Amazon one day and it sounded so unique that I immediately requested it from the wonderful ladies at Gallery Books.  When UPS delivered this beauty to my door I was thrilled.  Honestly, it's unexplainable but I just had a gut feeling this was going to be a great story.  

The prologue begins with an introduction to Kate and Patrick.  They are a young, happily married, deeply in love couple, who are in the middle of a argument.  Patrick went out after work and didn't call to let Kate know he would be getting home late.  You see they have a pact, a promise to one another about always calling when one of them are running late so the other won't be worrying.  So Patrick not calling left Kate at home all night, uneasy with concerns for his safety.  The next morning Patrick seeks forgiveness, Kate grants it, and the two make-up and things are once again back to normal when Patrick leaves for work.  Unfortunately normal doesn't last very long because as Patrick is on his way to work his taxi is hit by a drunk driver.  His death is immediate and while Kate is still very much alive Patrick's death leaves her broken, lost, a shell of her former self.  

Fast forward 12 years Kate, now a music therapist who loves her job, finally has found someone to share her life with.  Dan, her first serious relationship since Patrick's death has just asked her to marry him and even though she has agreed things just don't feel right to her.  Is it guilt in officially moving on or is it something more?  Kate begins dreaming of Patrick and sees a glimpse of what could have been if Patrick hadn't died all those years ago, and these dreams are far from ordinary.  

Is it possible those dreams aren't really dreams at all but an alternate reality?  Each time she is taken back to Patrick when she wakes up she finds herself more and more confused as she desperately tries to get a grasp on what is truly going on and the meaning behind it all.  In an effort to dissect any underlying push of fate Kate's driven to learn sign language which opens another door leading to volunteering with some impressionable foster children.  As the her dreams continue new opportunities present themselves in her "real" life and suddenly Kate finds herself at a crossroads.  Will she continue in mourning of a life with Patrick or will she open her eyes and find joy in life life she has made for herself since Patrick's untimely death?  

While the book is a little predictable, I believe the message it provides is one that isn't heard often enough and the journey to the end is remarkable.  The Life Intended really makes you stop and think about not only all the monumental moments but also the ones which may seem inconsequential.  Everything that happens to you, every choice made has a direct consequence and life goes on even when it feels like it stops.  If you are looking for something totally different, give this book a chance.  It will completely rock your world and I cannot say enough good things about it!

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