The Life Intended by Kristen Harmel


After her husband’s sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she’s planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn’t she more excited?

At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she’s really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
Published December 30th 2014 by Gallery Books
Format: e-book from Netgalley for review; 368 pages
Also By This Author: The Sweetness of ForgettingThe Art of French Kissing
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥


The Life Intended was such a refreshing read for me! It was deep and meaningful and it’s the type of book that makes you want to go out and do something good for someone. We need more books like that in the world, don’t you think?

Kate’s character was easy for me to relate to, despite the fact that I’m not a 40-year old therapist still mourning the death of a husband 10 years later. But, like Kate, sometimes I have a hard time of letting things go and moving on. In The Life Intended Kate’s late husband, Patrick, who was a really great guy and encouraging person, starts appearing to Kate in confusingly vivid dreams. At first she believes she’s experiencing an alternate reality of the life she was supposed to have with Patrick, and soon she begins distancing herself from the reality she is actually living.

But remember when I said Patrick was really encouraging? Seeing him again causes Kate to question the life she’s living–is she really happy? Is she doing anything meaningful? Why does she have the sudden desire to be a mother now that it’s too late?–and start focusing on the things that really make her happy. Suddenly she’s diving into the world of sign language and using her therapy skills to reach out to foster system kids and finally letting her past life coexist with her present and future instead of keeping them separate.

“So how did you do it?” I ask when she answers. “Move on. Get married to someone else. Have a child with someone else.”

“Oh,” she says sadly. “You just have to think of it as a different life,” she says after a minute. “Maybe not the life you were intended to have, or even the life you thought you were intended to have. But it’s still your life, just like the old one was.”

I really enjoyed reading about Kate’s experiences with the Deaf community. I know it’s just fiction, but it was very eye-opening and made me wish I knew how to sign language! (Now that I have a baby, I will actually be learning “baby sign language” in a few months) And the children Kate encounters during her music therapy sessions really touched my heart. I could sympathize with their situations: some were bullied, some abandoned, and others struggled with needing to belong. Hearing their stories, I wished I could jump into the book and hug them!

Read This Book If…

…you’re in the mood for a book that will make you feel something.
…you enjoy stories and movies like P.S. I Love You.
…you’re interested in sign language, the Deaf community, or music therapy.
…you’ve really enjoy books about orphans or foster children.

“The thing is,” she adds, “you have to listen hard to what your heart’s saying before you know what you’re supposed to do.”

Final Musings:

The Life Intended is a captivating story that will linger with you long after you’ve finished it. I’m really interested in reading Krisitin Harmel’s other books now, and I only wish I had gotten around to reading this one sooner!

2 thoughts on “The Life Intended by Kristen Harmel

  1. Pingback: November Highlights! | macarons & paperbacks

  2. Pingback: End of the Year Bookish Survey | macarons & paperbacks

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