IN THIS LIFE: Christine Brae
In this life we are given many choices to make and those choices result in decisions that might often lead us in different directions. Obstacles are thrown in our paths and sometimes the thoughts that we have become entangled with what we think we feel in our hearts. In this life we do not always know what is right for us and sometimes when a choice is made it might be at the expense of someone else and even ourselves. Anna Dillon is a doctor who begins the novel by teaching a group of students in Thailand. In walks Jude Grayson and her whole world takes on a different dimension. This is where the story changes as her best friend Dante is the reason she spends time in Thailand and helping other people and dealing with their issues. But, the moment she lays eyes on Jude Grayson the connection is there and she thinks life will take on a perfect turn. But, life does not always yield the results and the short romance they have just might not last. In this life there is no blueprint or magic pill that will allow you to create a perfect relationship or have a perfect world with no strife. After spending three weeks in Thailand she returns home to work as a doctor and is worried that she might never see Jude again. Stating he was going to Australia for three months she counted the days, minutes and seconds waiting for his return.
When she realizes that he is no longer coming back and it does take her a long time to process it and come to terms with his disappearance she turns to Dante who has loved her unconditionally from the start and the story progresses five years later as she marries him. Things do not always appears as they seem as Anna forges ahead with her medical requirements and shifts at the hospital along with taking on the responsibility of raising her younger brother and putting him through college. But, life is filled with lies, betrayals and deceits as she will learn and secrets are not always well kept and no matter how hard she tries to push Jude out of her mind, she can’t. Love can be defined in many ways and in Anna’s mind Dante is loyal, faithful, trusting and will find to the finish to keep her but when things appear to take on a different turn the situation spirals out of control in many different directions. Friends forever she has Maggie and Dante and then Jude comes back into her life just when she might be finally adjusting to her life with Dante. As she realizes and meets with him in secret she learns from Dante that they have been in touch all this time and that he is thinking of permanently joining the seminary as a Priest. But, one look at Anna and one glance in her direction and a flood of emotions comes through as they both have to face the harsh realities of their relationship, what impact it will have on Dante and her marriage and even more on his commitment to the Church. Can someone that is studying to become a Priest handle a relationship with a woman and stay true to his calling. Jude and Anna soon realize that the fighting and their denials will only mask their true feelings for each other as Dante realizes the deception and decides to go to Germany to create another business and deal with the future when the time comes. Guilt, redemption, forgiveness, understanding, moral values and looking at yourself through a microscope are just what this book brings out as both Jude and Anna have to take a long look through the lens of this microscope and see together what lies behind it. From Thailand to New York to Germany and many other resorts, Anna, Dante and Jude have to face the harsh realities of what happens when fate takes on the role of deciding you life. Is there such a thing as what is meant to be or can you control your destiny? Anna at times does seem conflicted, unable to make a decision and at times you want to shake her and bring her to her senses as she basically cares for two men but although she thinks she is not hurting them but dealing with her feelings she basically hurts those that care for her.
In a baseball of football game one team is the favorite while the other is considered the underdog yet in life you sometimes hope and pray for one but in this case my heart went out to Dante who did not deserve what Anna was dishing out. His faith in their love dies when he made the decision to go to Germany and allow what was and is meant to be to happen hoping that Anna would finally turn in his direction.
Jude is conflicted, unsure of his real goals and when talking with his family they are both understanding and supportive. The church just asks him to return to make his decision. Will she marry Anna or will he once again leave her but this time for good? Dante on the other hand is now in Germany and thinking that he is still there when a call comes in about him Anna’s world turns upside down and she refuses to accept the tragic truth. What is the definition of requited or unconditional love? Does Anna really understand her own mind or emotions? Why does she vacillate so often? In a tragic turn of events Anna will have to come to terms with her life, her choices and where she wants to be.
When the reality of what happens dawns on Anna she begins to give up on life, feels guilty and no words will change what she does as she pushes Jude away one more time, deals with a heavy loss and realizes she is almost all alone. But, one visit to the doctor and the hospital changes it all as someone comes to her for a short time, explains life, where she should be and hopes her guilt will be put aside and her life more fulfilled. Dante was her life and she still harbors guilt but something might change it as she has to realize that she is not to blame for everything and taken ownership of her life, her feelings and her future.
This is a story about two different kinds of love and one woman who had to come to terms with feelings that were powerful for two long loves. While Jude calls her Blue because of her blue eyes, Dante called her Sparky because of her vibrant personality and lust and zest for life. But when the spark dies and the blue eyes dulled will Anna ever see past her veil of doubt, despair and loss? With a heavy heart she has to decide where her final thoughts and life will go as she claims that Jude brings on death each time she sees him or is near him losing her mother and then someone else closer. But, two letters will reveal truths she never could reconcile before, her mother’s love will finally be shining through, her dreams will bring back those that were lost and she will hopefully come to realize that life hands you curve balls, blessings come when you least expect them and as the author relates: Anna set out to prove to the world there are different kinds of love that can only be experienced once in a lifetime. She became living prove that sometimes, one has to lose faith in order to truly believe. Through adversity and teams you will always find YOU! When things are dark place your trust in the hands of God and realize as others might and hopefully Anna will there is nothing more valuable than the love of family, one person and friends as you take a long walk and live life to the fullest: IN THIS LIFE!
A powerful novel with many unexpected situations and outcomes as Anna, Jude and Dante walk through life with only one holding the lanterns to light their way.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews: MJ magazine