The Life We Dream Of by Jennifer Leigh Pezzano

The Life We Dream Of by Jennifer Leigh Pezzano
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Romance, LGBTQ, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

“Numb. That’s what I had been. That’s what I had always been. Impassively navigating through my life like a habit I could not define. A deep dreamless sleep I stumbled through. And I suddenly wanted to wake up.”

Diagnosed with an incurable cancer, Julia is forced to come to terms with a life largely unlived. Haunted by past trauma and regrets she cannot amend, she has built a wall around herself, insulating her from the world.

But when a chance meeting breaks down her barriers, Julia begins the process of letting life back in, taking her on a journey toward love, self-discovery, and a daughter she never knew. Will she be able to fully make peace with her tangled past and confront all the pain buried beneath the rubble?

The Life We Dream Of is a love story about second chances, overcoming fear, and the boldness one must summon to find healing within.

Healing comes in many forms.

I must admit that it took me a little while to warm up to Julia because of how closed off she was to the world around her and how much she resisted anything that might reveal the deepest parts of her personality. One of the wonderful things about character development is how it can affect the reader’s opinion of a character as that character grows and changes throughout the course of the plot. My first impression of Julia was wildly different from what I thought of her after I finished the final scene, and I tip my cap to the author for digging into the protagonist’s life so deeply that it could produce such a change in my opinions.

The romantic storyline was handled perfectly. Julia and her love interest were both people who had excellent reasons to believe that romance was no longer something meant for them, the least of which were the serious health diagnoses that were threatening their lives. I appreciated how much effort Ms. Pezzano put into exploring why these characters had shut the door on falling in love again as well as why they both decided that it might be worth exploring after all.

Some books have writing styles that are as smooth as butter, and this was one of them. There wasn’t a single thing I’d recommend changing about the way this was written. I laughed, cried, and felt swells of many other emotions cresting over me, too, as I read it. This was even more true as the ending loomed and I knew I had to say goodbye to these characters soon.

The Life We Dream Of was a beautifully satisfying read.

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