Title: What Remains
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 283 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance, Drama
At a Glance: Another amazing read from one of my absolute favorite authors.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Web designer Jodi Peters is a solitary creature. Lunch twice a week with his ex-girlfriend-turned-BFF and the occasional messy venture to a dodgy gay bar is all the company he needs, right?
Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat — a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family — and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter.
Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.
Review: Ok, time to mix it up, guys. I’ve been toiling over this review, wanting it to be perfect, because I LOVED this book so much. But, it’s just not happening in any sort of typical fashion. The blurb is actually excellent, so you don’t need me to rehash much plot for you (and I don’t usually do much of that anyway). There was so much goodness that I don’t need to do a ‘what I liked/what I didn’t like’ format. Soooooo…a little something different. Here we go!
My favorite things about What Remains:
First and foremost, the characters. I fell in love with both Jodi and Rupert within the first five or six pages, and never looked back. The character building was so thorough and fantastic; I felt like I knew them both so well. These guys were just real and relatable—as are all of Garret Leigh’s characters. Of course, they are handsome and have sex appeal; it’s a romance novel after all. But, Leigh’s characters always feel like someone you might run into on the street, or at a diner or something…no formula romance heroes here. Also, their chemistry was fabulous and I just adored their relationship in general. They were sooo in love. There was NO question about their feelings for each other, even while working through the aftermath of the accident and Jodi’s memory loss.
“Since the accident, pessimism had become his baseline, invading his soul like the old Jodi had never chased it away all those years ago, but this new Jodi—fuck, this was Jodi, and Rupert loved him as much as he always had. Perhaps more.”
Second, I thought the story format was excellent. At the start we are given a glimpse of Jodi and Rupert, wherein you can immediately sense their bond and how in love they are, but then Leigh hits us immediately with the tragedy. At first I was worried about how this was going to go. Sometimes stories told in partial flashbacks are difficult to pull off—I have become frustrated with this style in the past—but Leigh’s execution was superb. I found myself wanting the flashbacks as much as I wanted the present tense portions because that’s where I was falling more and more in love with these guys, strengthening the overall power of the story and my need for things to be made right for them.
Third, as I have so often done, I have to give praise for Garret Leigh’s writing in general. The overall feel of this book was, for me, reminiscent of Slide and Rare, where I first fell in love with Leigh’s storytelling style, and then later, Misfits, which completely blew me away. What Remains was also heavy on the emotion, and like most of her books, never lost my attention even for a moment. But, what’s so great about her writing is that even through the grittier stuff, humor and romance always shine through. There is never a shortage of snappy dialogue or swoon-worthy scenes mixed in with the rawer moments. Her stories also feel impeccably researched. The medical aspects of Jodi’s injuries were fascinating, and the portrayal of their journey and the work that had to be done to get them through to the other side was amazing.
Finally, a bit of love for the title. And, honestly, for the cover too, which becomes even more perfect after you get to know Jodi and Rupert. I have said before in reviews that one of my favorite moments in a book is when the meaning of or the thought behind a title is revealed. In this case, the title is everything. The word ‘remnants’ struck me so intensely every time it was used in the story. It’s such a crushing and powerful idea that a relationship can be reduced to mere remnants, yet something equally amazing can come out of the rubble.
“The remnants of their broken dreams lay scattered all around…but what remained was something beautiful.”
So, yeah, I loved this one. Hopefully I’ve made that, and the fact that I think you should all go out and read it, perfectly clear! What Remains is a wonderful book about turning a tragedy into a second chance at falling in love all over again. Another amazing read from one of my absolute favorite authors.
You can buy What Remains here: