Elias Phinn has always been considered stupid, but that may be because no one knows his vacant exterior holds a gifted mind. A mind that has learned to focus on his created world of Warilia, through which Elias distills everything he sees in order to cope with the excruciating, actual world around him. But with each passing year, the detailed sketches and notebooks describing Warilia have not only taken over Elias's time, they have become a world he must slip into in order to get through each day. Clara Tobias has been running from her own reality, leaving behind her fragile mother and two siblings in order to have the whirlwind life of travel and adventure she always wanted. She justifies she put in her time caring for others, and that the rest of her life is hers to use as she pleases. Even if guilt won't leave her alone.
On a flight out of New York---Elias heading home for the summer, Clara on another trip to Somewhere---the two end up side by side. And when their carry-ons are mistakenly switched, Clara opens her bag to discover the histories of Warilia while Elias finds photographs and journals he uses to flesh out the mysterious girl who sat beside him, whom he sees as the beautiful daughter of a Warilian diplomat, making her and her mother an integral part of his entire world.
I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
Both of me is a touching story of a young woman’s journey as she travels the continents. As she runs from her past, she meets interesting people along the way. Little did she know, running from the past would bring her full circle. Elias Phinn, is a unique young man. There seems to be two of him, one is a great artist living in his own world, a world he calls Salem. The other is a brilliant mechanical engineer, creating unique works of art and machines. The latter is the sweet young man that she eventually falls for. The other personality, she calls “The other”. When their backpacks get switched and she tracks him down at his mother’s inn, he sets them on an adventure following the stars. Will Clara help Elias heal? Will the stars really take him to what he’s running from?
This was a very emotional and moving novel. You feel clara’s pain, as she comes to terms with the death of her youngest brother and the guilt she feels over its. Meeting Elias and going on his quest in a way was redeeming for her if she could heal him. Even though he was a little strange, I think he was my favorite character. This was a great story of love, redemption and most importantly forgiveness. If you like stories that pull at your heartstrings, you’ll most definitely love this book!
About the Author:
I was the grade-school star and the teacher’s pet. The world revolved around me and I suspected it always would. If you ask most people about their life, they don’t begin with fifth grade. But that was a good year.
Illness changed that. I retreated into a shell and escaped into words. Writing a story sucked the pain out of me, at least for a while. That’s when I learned to “feel” on paper. I didn’t think I’d be an author, I didn’t think I’d be much of anything, I was simply writing to survive.
Life changed in college. Health returned, the cloud lifted, and I got my teaching license.
Being a teacher, and being with those kids healed me. Surrounded by them, I relived periods of time stolen by childhood sickness. I was in my glory. But I couldn’t escape storytelling. All those years expressing myself on paper left their mark.
While my students worked, I wrote at my desk. Jerk California, my first book, flowed out of my own “lost years,” but hope fills the pages. Writing it was a beautiful thing to experience.
I now live on a horse farm with my wife, three children, and a growing number of animals.
Our home is on a hill that overlooks a river that snakes through a beautiful valley. We tear along the stream on the 4-wheeler. My three kids race through the pasture and scale the sides of the sand pit; they search for agates and chase wild turkeys that trespass on the gravel road that connects our hill to the rest of the world. I have promised them chickens and horses, but for now they settle for bald eagle and bear. It’s a good place to play and write.
At night, I walk out and listen to the wind rattle paper-thin bark on our birch trees. I stare at stars nobody else has seen and start a bonfire so bright it chases all the stars away. Then, my clothes full of smoke and my mind filled with ideas, I come inside and write until my fingers get heavy on the keyboard.
I love it here.
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