2019 Reviews · book bingo · contemporary fiction · women's fiction

#Book Bingo 2019 Round 23 BONUS ROUND: ‘Book set in an exotic location’- Come Away With Me by Karma Brown

book bingo 2019 9 nov bonus

Book Bingo 2019 is a collaboration challenge I am completing with my favourite bloggers, Theresa Smith Writes and The Book Muse. Each Saturday, on a fortnightly basis, beginning on Saturday 5th January 2019, Ashleigh, Theresa and I will complete a book review post, outlining our respective bingo card entries. The Book Bingo 2019 card contains a total of 30 squares, which we will complete over the course of the year, with the aim to complete the whole card by the end of December. Two of the Book Bingo entries this year will be flexible, so that means it is completely down us as to when we post these entries, to ensure all 30 are ticked off by the end of the year. Do keep an eye out on our respective blog sites for our bonus round entries!  To keep things interesting for ourselves and those following along with us, the choice of bingo square to be covered will be entirely down to us, there is no crossover – that is planned anyway! However, as Ashleigh, Theresa and I enjoy similar books, especially books by Australian women writers, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we end up with more than one book double up, as was the case in 2018! We invite you to join us in this fun book related challenge, by linking your bingo card entries in the comments section of this post, tagging us on social media, or by visiting The Book Muse and Theresa Smith Writes.


An unexpected journey leads one woman to discover that life after loss is possible, come away with me smallif only you can find the courage to let go…

One minute, Tegan Lawson has everything she could hope for: an adoring husband, Gabe, and a baby on the way. The next, a patch of black ice causes a devastating accident that will change her life in ways she never could have imagined.

Tegan is consumed by grief – not to mention her anger toward Gabe, who was driving on the night of the crash. But just when she thinks she’s hit rock bottom, Gabe reminds her of their Jar of Spontaneity, a collection of their dream destinations and experiences, and so begins an adventure of a lifetime.

From the bustling markets of Thailand to the flavours of Italy to the ocean waves in Hawaii, Tegan and Gabe embark on a journey to escape the tragedy and search for forgiveness. But they soon learn that grief follows you no matter how far away you run, and that acceptance comes when you least expect it.

Heartbreaking, hopeful and utterly transporting, Come Away with Me is an unforgettable debut and a luminous celebration of the strength of the human spirit.

Review:

Come Away With Me is the debut novel, published in 2015, by Canadian author Karma Brown. A story of love, loss, memories, self discovery and the unexpected, Come Away With Me is a tightly wound read, which looks the stages of grief and the emphasis on exotic travel experiences to overcome heartbreak.

Come Away With Me is the story of lead protagonist Tegan Lawson’s life, and how one earth shattering event can change your pathway in life. For Tegan, life was once incredibly fulfilling. With a loving husband, a good career and a family on the way, life couldn’t be more happier. However, all that changes in an instant when a tragic accident snaps Tegan’s whole existence in two. In the aftermath of this horrific accident Tegan cannot see through her grief, there is no light, only darkness. As Tegan works through the stages of her immense grief, she is utterly consumed with anger towards her husband, who was at the wheel the night of the awful accident. In a bid to lift Tegan’s spirits, her husband Gabe re-introduces their special Jar of Spontaneity. This incentive is a jar full of ideas of where this couple planned to travel to and experience, a bucket list of sorts. Although apprehensive about travelling in her current state of mind, Tegan embarks upon an adventure abroad. The reader becomes Tegan’s loyal travel companion as she works her way through three different exotic destinations. Along the way Tegan is faced with many tough moments and she slowly begins to take tentative steps towards acceptance.

Come Away With Me is the first book I have read by Karma Brown. I have had Come Away With Me sitting on my shelves since it first released. I recall purchasing Karma Brown’s book for the stunning and very inviting tropical feel cover, which just seemed to speak to me at the time. I decided to finally dust this one off the TBR shelf for my current round of Book Bingo 2019. Come Away With Me, has helped me to tick off the category of ‘book set in an exotic destination.’

There are actually three exotic locales that feature in Come Away With Me. Karma Brown’s debut novel begins in Chicago, but it later moves to Thailand, Italy and Hawaii. I found the travel sequences in this book to be authentic and immersive. I have been to two out of three travel locales in the novel and I do feel that Karma Brown successfully presented these locales on the page. I felt like a constant travel companion with the characters of this book, it was a nice feeling to indulge in a spot of armchair travel.  Karma Brown made sure her destinations sprung to life on the pages of her novel.

Aside from travel as a form of healing and escape, Come Away With Me is centrally focused on the sense of grief experienced by the lead of this novel. I had a bit of a difficult relationship with Tegan and I almost felt a little wrong feeling the way I did about her. On the one hand I felt absolutely awful for Tegan in the wake of the accident and the loss she experiences. On the other hand, Tegan’s spiral into pits of dark and inescapable grief ended up grating on me in the end. It became too much and almost repetitive. I do find myself questioning this response, as I know I have never been close to Tegan’s predicament, so I shouldn’t judge. I do feel that the author tackled the grief process well and with plenty of insight. By the close of the book, I was glad that there were some glimmers of hope for this woman!

Karma Brown takes an interesting approach to her first novel. We move back and forth in time to key moments before and after the accident. This gives the reader a good picture of Tegan’s past and her present day predicament. Come Away With Me adequately handles the various different storylines and flashbacks preset in the novel, all within a strong first person narrative. What I also appreciated most about Come Away With Me was the creative narrative device of the ‘Jar of Spontaneity’, which seemed to kick start a process of acceptance, forgiveness and self-discovery for Tegan. It an inventive tool that I thought complimented the unfolding story well. It also helped to pivot the book a hopeful conclusion.

Come Away With Me is a novel that follows the lines of grief , in order to find a sense of hope and peace, in the wake of unexpected tragedy. It is an immersive read, that is perfect for the upcoming summer holidays. Add this one to your beach bag, along with a much needed box of tissues for the heartbreaking moments!

*** 3.5 stars

Come Away With Me by Karma Brown was published on 24th August 2015 by Harlequin Mira – AU. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Come Away With Me, Karma Brown, visit here.

4 thoughts on “#Book Bingo 2019 Round 23 BONUS ROUND: ‘Book set in an exotic location’- Come Away With Me by Karma Brown

  1. Ooh, you’re doing really well, Amanda, I see you have no need to double up any more, hehe. I also have three squares to go…the end is nearing. I see you have three awesome categories left. I’m adding this one as it sounds good and I like the Chicago. Italy and Hawaii locations. Themes of Inequality and a book set in an exotic location were done and dusted a little while ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sue, you are also following on really well with unofficially! I’ve enjoyed hearing your choices.
      I have one more double up left as there are three categories on my card and I have 2 rounds left. The 21st Dec will be our wrap up post. Then we introduce the new card the next day.
      I’m looking forward to completing the challenge.
      It was nice to dust this one off the shelf, it’s been on my shelves since 2015! I have one more book by Karma Brown on my shelf too. The locations were fabulous! Some familiar, others not! Glad both your entries for these categories were covered ages ago! Must feel good 🙂

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      1. Oops, I better double up too then, I thought there were three rounds left. I better read faster lol. Although I managed to complete Book Bingo I don’t think I’ll be playing along officially or unofficially but I can’t wait to see what the new categories will be.

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      2. I’m sure you can still post a round on the 21st, us three bloggers hosting book bingo are all doing our wrap ups, then the new card launches the day after. A heads up… it will smaller than the previous 2 cards, so I hope you can reconsider joining in! I’m really looking forward to launching a new card and starting afresh! I still have 3 books to go!

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