Book Review: What Remains by Garrett Leigh

At this point, I know what I’m getting into with a Leigh novel, such as developed characters and devastating emotional impact. This book is no exception, and it was the best and worst sort of vacation read. Leigh doesn’t just drop us into an established relationship and guide us through the outcomes of amnesia resulting from a traumatic brain injury. Instead, she gives us Jodi and Rupert’s entire journey, from their first meeting to the way their friendship develops with the lovely sort of low-level burn that is more often reserved for romances. These scenes are interspersed with Jodi’s accident and the immediate aftermath, offering a double dose of differing intense emotions.

One of the things I greatly appreciate about this book is how Leigh portrays an accurate representation of how a person wakes from a coma, which is not instant awareness and capability. Just as Rupert starts to hope that everything will be okay, he’s hit again with the worst – that Jodi has no recollection of their entire relationship, and that he doesn’t even know he’s bisexual. For the next portion of the story, Jodi awake is almost more heartbreaking than when Rupert feared he never would. I don’t love that Rupert hides their relationship from Jodi, even if I understand his motivations. However, this means that the emotional reveal at the book’s 50 percent mark is an even better relationship transition point than the typical, which is often characters having sex together for the first time.

Because Leigh hits us with so many dark moments in the first half of the book, the second is milder but no less tension-filled as Jodi continues to deal with the physical effects of his injuries. She also balances the last sections of the book with more sweetness and hope, even before we know the newly burgeoning relationship between Jodi and Rupert is solid. The turnabout of which character has the experience in their relationship is both sweet and incredibly sexy. I finished this book with a sense of optimism for this couple, and while I wouldn’t mind glimpsing them as cameos in Leigh’s other works, their story and happily ever after are definitely complete.

Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Published by J.L. Gribble

Author, Editor, Worldbuilder

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