Published by Entangled: Amara on 23rd February 2021
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Twenty-eight-year-old Georgia Stanton has to start over after she gave up almost everything in a brutal divorce—the New York house, the friends, and her pride. Now back home at her late great-grandmother’s estate in Colorado, she finds herself face-to-face with Noah Harrison, the bestselling author of a million books where the cover is always people nearly kissing. He’s just as arrogant in person as in interviews, and she’ll be damned if the good-looking writer of love stories thinks he’s the one to finish her grandmother’s final novel…even if the publisher swears he’s the perfect fit.
Noah is at the pinnacle of his career. With book and movie deals galore, there isn’t much the “golden boy” of modern fiction hasn’t accomplished. But he can’t walk away from what might be the best book of the century—the one his idol, Scarlett Stanton, left unfinished. Coming up with a fitting ending for the legendary author is one thing, but dealing with her beautiful, stubborn, cynical great-granddaughter, Georgia, is quite another.
But as they read Scarlett’s words in both the manuscript and her box of letters, they start to realize why Scarlett never finished the book—it’s based on her real-life romance with a World War II pilot, and the ending isn’t a happy one. Georgia knows all too well that love never works out, and while the chemistry and connection between her and Noah is undeniable, she’s as determined as ever to learn from her great-grandmother’s mistakes—even if it means destroying Noah’s career.
Told in alternating timelines, THE THINGS WE LEAVE UNFINISHED examines the risks we take for love, the scars too deep to heal, and the endings we can’t bring ourselves to see coming.
Of late, my experience with Rebecca Yarros had simply been one of brilliance. It’s been pretty much this: engrossing storytelling that goes deep into the complexity of emotions; compelling circumstances in which Yarros’s protagonists above which forced to rise…or sink, followed by the poignancy of finally realising that they have to fight for each other as they undertake a journey together.
But going into any book of hers also typically requires a clear headspace, lots of time and mental ‘rightness’ just to enjoy the heavy-hitting parts.
‘The Things We Leave Unfinished’ sounds like exactly sort of book I wanted to get my teeth into, more so because it looked to involve two disparate timelines and two romances running in parallel, joined by the idea that an unfinished story from decades ago must not be left untold. There’s also quite a bit of a meta-narrative about the writing process and the notion of authorship—read between the lines and there’ll be so many (not too uppity and oblique) references to wrestling all the stakeholders in the production of just one story—and that alone was fun to go into.
But ultimately, what Yarros takes on here feels a little too ambitious for my liking: alternating chapters that went between past and present, where two stories/romances were essentially written in parallel, with a twist and a revelation at the end that somehow failed to surprise me in a way that would leave me wrung-out, bittersweet and sated.
Not that two pairings for the price of one is a bad way to go; it just failed to make a bigger impact on my own emotional state since the focus was evenly split between two couples, where one was done in an era that I can’t seem to muster any interest in. If I thought Noah/Georgia wasn’t quite a pairing that sizzled in their interactions, the speed at which Jameson/Scarlett got it on left me bewildered.
‘The Things We Leave Unfinished’ is far from a bad read, objectively speaking. Just because it didn’t speak to my exacting, pre-conceived notions of what I thought how this should have gone doesn’t mean it wouldn’t go well for others. Yarros still writes a bloody well-paced tale here that would probably hollow out some hearts.