Monday, June 17, 2024

Review - - Find Me in California

Find Me in California
by Kerry Lonsdale
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: June 11, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

Raised by her fiercely passionate and free-spirited grandmother, Julia Hope has never gone without love. But as she tends to her only living relative during her final days, Julia struggles to overcome her fear of being alone.

A thousand miles away, Matt Gatlin has managed to avoid the coldhearted grandmother with whom he once lived. But after twelve years of her being blessedly out of sight, she needs him. His resentments still raw, Matt packs up his car and reluctantly heads to California to confront a bitter past he thought was long gone.

Over the next six days, Julia’s and Matt’s fates intersect. An old diary exposes the tragedy of a long-lost love. A history of secrets in two families comes to light. And on a lonely back road, Matt picks up an unusual yet captivating hitchhiker with a secret of her own.

For Julia and Matt, something heartbreaking and heartwarming, mysterious and beautiful, will touch their lives—with neither of them realizing that maybe they’re destined for each other.

PJ's Thoughts:

Find Me in California is my first book by this author and I have to say, she packs quite the emotional punch. If you enjoy angst - and I do mean a whole boatload of angst - this is the book for you. My emotions were fully engaged from start to finish. What a ride.

The book focuses on four main characters: Julia, Matt, Julia's beloved grandmother, and Matt's estranged grandmother. Through diary entries and flashbacks, it tells the backstories of the grandmothers while continuing their stories in the present and also giving us Matt's and Julia's. The lives of these four characters, total strangers (or are they?), intersect when the grandmothers end up in the same memory care unit at an assisted living facility. What unfolds is an unexpected tale of friendship, betrayal, abandonment, forgiveness, loss, love, and new beginnings. 

There are poignant moments, heartbreaking moments, and moments that are just flat-out weird. Are they magical realism? Drug-induced hallucinations? Whatever they were, I couldn't look away. Even when the feelings induced were a bit ick (for me), Lonsdale's intensely immersive storytelling kept me glued to the pages. There are so many twists, turns, and OMG-what-the-heck moments that I had to know what would happen next, especially to these four main characters. Lonsdale gives them flaws, layers, strengths, and weaknesses that bring them to life on the page. The ones that are immensely unlikable still have vulnerabilities that draw sympathy, the beloved ones have unknown flaws that, when discovered, cast a different light on who their loved ones thought they were. There are issues of abandonment, grief, guilt, and the first flutterings of the possibility of love. It's a fascinating character study that held me in its firm grasp.

If you're in the mood for a deeply emotional story with complex characters, unexpected twists, family dynamics, and a bit of romance, give this one a chance. It's a real page turner. 

Content Warning: death, child abandonment, drugs, adultery, suicide, dementia


  1. Thanks, PJ. You've made it sound irresistible, at least to me, and so I just clicked and bought. Her bio says she's sound over 2 million copies, and yet I've never read her before either. (Don't think I have yet come close to selling 2 million pages!) Now to find an opening in my queue!

  2. Was interested to find this book on Kindle Unlimited. Added it to my KU Wish List. Thanks for the review. I've read several domestic thrillers in the past few months (and recommend Sarina Bowen's The Five Year Lie to anyone who will listen) and this looks like another book of twists and turns.

  3. Thank you for the review. This sounds like an interesting book. It certainly covers topics and considerations that are prominent in society and in many of our lives. I enjoy a book with twists and intensity.

  4. Thanks for the review. A new to me author. You keep doing that to me. This books sounds like a page turner.