NOWHERE BUT HERE is an undeniably beautiful love story. Wait, let me amend that. I think it would be more appropriate to call it a story about love rather than just a mere love story. It burrowed into my heart and I don’t think I ever want to let go of the feelings this book evoked in me. I know I sound like a sap right now so bear with me and my review for a few minutes ;)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A Chicago reporter in her mid-twenties unexpectedly finds love in Napa Valley when she’s assigned to spend a week with a famously reclusive genius.
Kate Corbin has lost her spark. From the outside, her life seems charmed. She has a handsome, long-term boyfriend and a budding journalism career at a popular Chicago newspaper. But in reality, her relationship is going nowhere, and she’s quickly losing motivation for what she once believed was her dream job. When her boyfriend dumps her unceremoniously, Kate loses all hope of finding love.
With no living family and few friends, Kate confides in her boss. Trusting that the hungry, ace reporter is buried somewhere deep inside, he gives Kate the opportunity to jumpstart her career. The assignment: to interview the famously reclusive R.J. Lawson, a wealthy tech genius who disappeared years ago but recently reemerged as a Napa Valley vintner. The week takes an unexpected turn, however, when Lawson refuses to divulge any information. Desperate for a lead, Kate turns to Jamie, a vineyard hand who shows her the romance of wine country—and stirs her aching heart. But his connection to Lawson is ambiguous, and when Jamie disappears before the end of the week, Kate is left to investigate another story: the truth behind the man who stole her heart.
USA TODAY bestselling author Renée Carlino explored love and heartbreak in her beautifully written debut Sweet Thing, and her newest novel does not disappoint. For fans of Colleen Hoover, K.A. Tucker, and Katja Millay, Nowhere But Here is a stirring and satisfying romance that you won’t want to put down.
"I'm all I've got."
Kate is sent to Napa Valley to interview the reclusive R.J. Lawson, the tech-genius extraordinaire turned businessman. And as fate would have had it, her world is turned upside down when a hot guy crashes into her life (well, more accurately, she crashed into his). Kate can’t help the instant connection she felt for Jamie, the handsome, charming, sweet man who works at R.J. Lawson winery. Within a few short days, she finds herself feeling more for Jamie than anyone else she has ever met. Kate was determined to scrap all her newfound ideals about being alone for a shot to see where this thing with Jamie is headed. Kate quickly realized it was all just an illusion after being left alone again in an empty bed without even a goodbye. That was the last straw for Kate and she becomes ever more determined to leave the past behind her and put aside all her feelings in exchange for the emptiness of being alone. Again.
But can she?
I thought the main struggle in the story wasn’t how Kate and Jamie reconciled their feelings for each other. I found it even more meaningful how Kate tried to get past the pain and the loneliness. I guess, in a way, it was all she has ever known. It was even more compelling how she dealt with her fear of being left alone again. I think it surprised her how much she felt so deeply and so fast for Jamie. She’s used to relying on herself and Jamie is one of those men who would take care of his own. For the first time in a long while, Kate felt cherished and I guess being left hanging when she was starting to think that there could be something more in store for her… well, I think she felt betrayed and robbed of the chance to take a shot at happiness. I felt her anger. I bristled with it. Underneath that anger, though, I also felt her pain and it was so poignant and palpable. I can’t blame Kate for feeling the way she did, though.
I just adore Renee Carlino's writing. It felt a lot like reading Kate’s secret journal. There's an intimacy to the way she tells the story that readers can't help but feel a connection to. The candidness and openness of the storytelling only drew me deeper into the lives of the characters.
In some books, reading about the minutiae of a character's life bored me to tears. Oftentimes, I find it too tedious. That isn't the case with Nowhere But Here because Renee Carlino writes in a no nonsense way without compromising the moving quality of her work. In fact, I enjoyed the tiny pieces of information about Kate's life. It creates a more colorful and complete picture of Kate as a character. I think it's good to be very detailed when writing a story, but there's a certain way to present it, a way that stirs the readers' imagination instead of just writing down random stuff to make the character sound more interesting than they actually are. I think Renee Carlino got that part down pat. Based on what I’ve read of her previous works, she gets a really good handle on her characters and how their mind works giving her the ability to breathe life into the words.
I really need to stop writing before I give too much away. But I need to say this. Even from early on, I already got a hunch what the possible plot twist would be. I hit that nail right on the head but having an idea of what would happen did not diminish the intensity of emotion I felt upon reading that particular part of the story.
Okay, so it’s no secret how much I loved reading Nowhere But Here. It’s the kind of book that just sticks with you and leaves you feeling more hopeful than you did before starting it. Renee Carlino just showed me the beauty of the written word right there. The message the book imparts is one that struck close to my heart and I guess that’s part of the reason why I fell completely in love with this book.