The Life You Left

the life you left

Carmel Harrington
3rd July 2014 | PB £8.99 | EB £1.99

“Sarah, I’m not coming home tonight.
If you love me, you will give me the space I need…
Tell the children I love them.
– Paul”

A story of redemption and the strength of love from the author of BEYOND GRACE’S RAINBOW,
perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Cecelia Ahern.

It started out like any other day for Sarah Lawler; getting the kids ready for school, making the packed lunches
and juggling baby Ella’s feeds. There was no way of knowing that her husband, Paul, would leave for work
that morning and simply not come home.

Now the questions are piling up quicker than the unpaid bills and, unable to answer her children’s questions
about where their Daddy is, Sarah is getting desperate. But it turns out she isn’t quite as alone as she thought
she was. When her beloved childhood friend, Edward, comes back into her life, Sarah thinks she’s finally been
thrown a life line.

There’s just one problem with Edward: no one else can see him.

Edward is an angel. And he has a message for Sarah that will change her life and the lives of others forever.
For it is only in the most difficult of times that Sarah can discover how strong she truly is.


‘It will pull you in, make you laugh and break your heart’ – USA Today Bestselling Author Abby Green

‘A bittersweet, quietly brilliant novel that will make you cry, laugh and cry all over again’ – Female First

‘Funny, poignant and bursting with heartfelt humour’ – I Heart… Chick Lit

‘You will laugh, you will cry, you might even get angry. One thing is for sure – this, thanks to
the warmth of writing and the level of feeling Harrington obviously has for her characters,
is a story you will never forget’ – After The Final Chapters

‘I can hand on my heart honestly say that this book has blown me away. Treat yourself to it. It’s not just for us chick-lit
ladies. It’s for everyone who enjoys a good read and a brilliant book. It’s sensational’ – Pajama Book Girl


Carmel Harrington is the author of BEYOND GRACE’S RAINBOW, which was awarded Kindle Book of the Year
2013 by the Peoples Book Awards, Best Romantic Read eBook 2013 at the UK’s Festival of Romance, and was
an iTunes number one bestseller. She has appeared across national television and radio in her native Ireland,
talking about the success of her first book.

Carmel is published by HarperImpulse, an award-winning digital romance imprint of HarperFiction. She lives
in Ireland with her husband Roger and her two young children, Nate and Amelia. With publication of BEYOND
GRACE’S RAINBOW, Carmel fulfilled a lifelong ambition to become a published author. She is also a
playwright. She is available to interview and to write features.

Don’t you just love that cover? It’s one of my favourites!

What I thought

Oh wow. I really don’t even know where to start with this one.

Anyone who reads this blog often will know that Carmel Harrington is not only an author that I greatly admire and look up to but also a great friend in real life. I often read the things people are writing about her and think but its just Carmel. Thing is ‘just Carmel’ is becoming a sensation and now we have to share her with the world. But that’s OK. The stuff she writes needs to be shared with the world.

I have read this book many times. And every time has been better than the last. How? I hear you ask. Quite simply it is because each time it was different. I think I have read maybe 4 versions of the story and have known it to have three titles. Its amazing really how much a story can change from the first draft to the final published version.

Anyway back to the book.

For those of you that read Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, wondering if maybe Carmel was just a one hit wonder (as if), well here is your answer screaming loud and clear. The Life You Left is a fantastic read. Havign read it first over a year ago I couldn’t wait for it to be released. As I have said there have been many changes since then and the book I fell in Love with just completely swept me away. Carmel has a unique writing voice. It is all her. In face when I was reading it often I could her here saying the words that were on the page in front of her. I think that is why her books are so good. It isn’t an effort from her, it never feels forced or that writing it is a chore. Its almost as if she sits down and the words just flow. Its like she really is telling a story to you.

It is an effortless read. You will be trapped in the pages, unable to put it down. It is though provoking and poignant. You have characters that are going to quite simply piss you off, you will want to throttle them through the pages. You will also have characters like Sarah who will warm your heart and Ruby that will make you laugh. And maybe cry. Just a little bit.

I remember all that time ago texting Carmel and saying, “I think it might even be better than Beyond Grace’s Rainbow”. That though is for you to decide!!

5 minutes with Happy Mrs H

cam pic

Book 2, The Life You Left, has just been released. Can you believe it?

Its beginning to sink in Tanya. It’s such a weird feeling. You spend months and months working on the book, then months and months waiting for it to be published. When the day arrives, its quite surreal. Did I really do that? Did I write that book? Best feeling in the world now that its sunk in!

Tell us a little about the book. Not giving anything away, of course.

Well, its about Sarah, a wife and mother, who thinks her life is all mapped out. But then suddenly everything changes. Her husband Paul goes missing. She has financial issues. And then to top it all, a childhood friend of hers, Edward, returns to her life, with a message that will ensure that life is never ever the same again.

We know how the story of Beyond Grace’s Rainbow came to you, how did you come about the idea for this book?

One of the themes in the book is that of angels and I’d always wanted to explore this in a story, as I grew up with a grandmother who was always reading books about them! Then, a few years ago, at a time when I was having a tough time, a woman walked up to me in a shopping centre and grabbed my hand and told me that I was surrounded by an angel, who had so much love for me and was looking after me at this difficult time. She then walked away as quickly as she appeared. That incident stayed with me. The woman looked for nothing from me, she simply gave me a message. Sarah’s story came from that.
Then one morning whilst walking on our local beach, I heard a noise, that frightened me and I allowed my writers imagination to take over and I came up with a key scene from the book – a murder on the beach!

Did you find a big difference with this book, having an editorial team to work with?

Absolutely. With Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, it was 100% my book. With this one, my editor was deeply invested in the story and in her words, she wanted to ensure that I wrote a worthy follow up to BGR. So the edits from Harper Impulse were detailed and I am very grateful for them. I really believe that with my editors sharp eye, she helped me write a better novel.

How did you feel knowing that people had Pre-ordered your book on the back of having read Beyond Grace’s rainbow?

Grateful. Overwhelmed. Lucky. Happy. And truth be told, a little scared. I hope that I don’t let down any of my BGR fans.

I saw many pictures on Facebook that people had posted with your book cover on their kindle. Did that feel surreal?

Tanya, its the most wonderful feeling in the world to see a direct result of months and months of hard work, in that little picture. But yes, it does feel surreal too. I appreciate so much everyone sharing their pictures with me, each one I get a kick from. I’ve the best supporters.

The paperback releases on July 3rd. Do you have anything planned to celebrate the release?

Oh yes. I get to have a very posh book launch at a castle no less! On 28th June, I will be in Enniscorthy Castle to launch The Life You Left, with a wine and cheese reception.
I cannot wait. On the 3rd itself, I will be in Waterford to do two radio shows and I intend to have lunch with my dear friend Tanya!!!
Then in the afternoon I have a book signing in two bookshops. I’ll be busy, but happy busy.

Now that one dream has come true, do you have another?

Yes. Actually I’ve several. The most immediate is that I make the Irish Bestsellers Paperback Charts. I have been an eBook bestseller, for both books now, I’d like to make the top 10 in the paperback charts if I can.
After that, my big dream is to have BGR or TLYL made into a movie. Nice thought eh?

Is there another book in the works yet?

I’ve a couple on the go Tanya! But the one I need to finish next is a sequel to BGR, a kind of what happens next for Abby and Gerry mainly. I’m so excited about this book. Its like catching up with old friends.

Is being a published author everything you thought it would be?

Yes and more. It’s harder work than I thought it would be. But its way more fun!

What advice do you have for those starting out?

Keep writing and don’t stop till you see the words, ‘The End.’

How much of yourself goes into each book?

Hmmm…that’s an interesting question. I think that its impossible not to have parts of me interweaved into certain characters – Grace and Sarah in particular might have teeny, tiny, parts of me. But when I write, I immerse myself completely into the lives of my characters and I worry for them, celebrate with them and ultimately want the best for them. Unless they are called Mal or Michelle. (When you read TLYL you will see why I said that!)

How do you manage to balance writing and family life? Especially now with summer coming?

Sometimes Tanya I’m not sure that I do. I feel guilty a lot. The house isn’t clean enough, I never bake anymore, lots of little things that I used to do when I had more time. But when the children are home from playshool, I’m 100% Mummy. We play together, we have a lot of fun and its quite wonderful. I work long hours. Its not unusual for me to get up at 630am and not go to bed till 12am. Sometimes later.

July 2012 when you self published Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, could you have imagined what would come next?

Never. I could visualise myself getting a book deal. I had faith that would happen. But all the other stuff, the awards, the tv appearances etc, no I never imagined any of that.
I’m having the time of my life. I’ve met so many people through writing, some of which have become dear friends of mine, you included! I feel very blessed.

My favourites of 2013

Good morning to you all. Or afternoon / evening. You get my drift. Happy new year. I hope you were able to see out the old and bring in the new happily and peacefully. I went to my sister in laws with most of my in laws and had a great night. We weren’t going to go – we didn’t know if the kids would manage to stay awake. They are 3,4 & 6 and are usually in bed by 6.30 every night. At 23.50 we were gathering them all up to bring them in for the countdown when we realised one was missing. Poor Aidie (Aidan) had let himself into the ‘big sitting room’ and closed the door and curled up on the couch with his teddy and went to sleep. I of course went in at midnight and gave him a kiss anyway. Holly (3) and Jamie (6) welcomed in the new year but i’m not sure what they made of the flurry of hugs and kisses that came their way.

So yesterday I started a post of my Top books of 2013 but I am hopeless. I’m like a little puppy – just rub me under the chin and tickle my belly and I will be loyal forever. So instead of my brian setting off every nuclear reactor known to man due to overload with me trying to decide what to include, I am going to tell you a few of my favourites.

Tear jerker

Well this should go without saying really. I have read a few books this year that would bring a tear to a glass eye but there aren’t any that can hold a candle to my #1. Beyond Grace’s Rainbow

New Beyond Grace's Rainbow (1)

Granted I didn’t read it for the first time last year but I did read it again and it had a new chapter. Anyway this is my post and I make the rules 😉 I am only delighted with the success Carmel Harrington has achieved with BGR and I can only wait for things to get better and better for her.

Biggest book hangover

This, beyond a shadow of a doubt, belongs to Elizabeth Reyes and Breaking Brandon.

BB cover

Ever since I read Forever Mine, I have been hooked on Elizabeth Reyes’ books. Every time I read one it becomes my new favourite. Though this one I think will hold that title for a long time to come. It took me two days to pick up another book after reading this – and it wasn’t for the want of trying. I just couldn’t get my head out of the story. I’d love a bit more….

A Little Teaser


The book that made me spit out my coffee..

Haha this could only belong to M. Leighton and Everything for Us


I can’t even begin to go in to what made me spit out my coffee. You will just have to read it and see 😉
This is a fantastic series of book from Michelle, you need to get on it!

The book that most surprised me

Is surprised the right word? Probably not. Maybe the book I wasn’t expecting? You see this is why I review and not write 😉 Anyway, whether or which this is Jane Lark‘s latest book I Found You


From the very first page in this book I was hooked. I couldn’t read it fast enough. I had read Illicit Love from Jane which is a historical. I didn’t know what to expect in this genre and I was quite simply blown away. I cannot wait for more in this series.

The book that had the biggest personal impact

The wonderful wonderful Lauren Blakely and her amazing book The Thrill of It

The Thrill Of It Cover

I adore Lauren and all of her books. When I started this blog almost a year ago she supported me 100% even though at the time she didn’t know me from Adam. She is absolutely fantastic with bloggers and just her fans in general. I am lucky enough to be part of Lauren’s street team now. Anyhooooo…

There was a part of The Thrill of It that struck home with me. It even had me in tears (no not the part about being a sex addict). Then it gave me an epiphany. Then I ended up with a tattoo. Still can’t quite believe that I did it. I am not a major fan, but it’s different when it means something, right?

I blame Lauren and this book though. Have you read it? If you haven’t then you really should. I am on pins waiting for the second one!

One of my favourites of the year, just because

Belle Aurora and her book Willing Captive


The title of this book led me to believe certain things about it. I was thinking in and around Fifty Shades. I was wrong. You see I rarely read a blurb. I like the element of surprise. I have recommended this book to many people since I have read and they have all come back saying it is amazing. Thats’s because it is. I just loved it and that’s why it is up there with my best books of the year.

Another of my favourites because….

…who doesn’t like a bit of misery, right? Erin Lawless and The Best Thing I Never Had.

** Click image to read an extract**

I absolutely loved this book from Erin Lawless. It’s about real life, coming of age, growing up and realising those people that you trust absolutely, think have your back and will always be there for you – maybe they won’t.

My #1 Best book of the year. AND EVER.

Well if you know me or read this blog at all this is a no brainer. Colleen Hoover just swept me off my feet with LOSING HOPE

Losing Hope

It is just quite simply THE.BEST.BOOK.EVER

Beyond Grace’s Rainbow – Paperback is finally here.

New Beyond Grace's Rainbow (1)

Way back in August 2012 I read an ebook called Beyond Grace’s Rainbow. I had seen quite a bit about it on Facebook from friends so I went ahead and got it. My reading bug had just kicked back in and I was devouring books. Carmel Harrington at that point would have been an acquaintance of mine. I had never met her in the flesh but we would have had online contact. The night I finished it I sent Carmel a facebook message at 1.10am saying “I can’t believe you just did that to me”, From that message we began to chat and eventually met up. It was like meeting my long lost sister.

Over the last 15 months we have become great friends. I shared with her the search for an agent – I think at times I was more frustrated with waiting to her than she was. Believe me though that was nothing compared to the search for a publisher. I never ever doubted that she would be succesful and that Beyond Grace’s Rainbow would become the success it has.

I am absolutely delighted that Harper Impulse signed Carmel and I am beyond thrilled that today sees the launch of the paperback version of Beyond Grace’s Rainbow. I cannot wait to attend my first book signing on Sunday and get my own signed copy. The fact that I feature in the acknowledgements will be totally cool too!

Find out all about the book stores here in Ireland that will be stocking it and the book signings too! Carmel is also running a competition for a signed paperback so be sure to enter that too. Click HERE

Beyond Grace’s Rainbow paperback can be ordered from today on Amazon

I will also be running a competiton for a signed paperback so watch out on my Facebook page for that.

me and carmel

Carmel has fantastic profession photos that I could share but I don’t care. This was taken the day I met her and I just love it!

Oh to have the life of a writer!

Wouldn’t it be just fabulous to have the life of a writer. All glamour, showbiz parties, book launches and signings. So far away from the normality that the rest of us face. I invited writer Carmel Harrington over to do a guest blog for me, to let us all in on what life is really like. And you know what, it doesn’t sound so bad 😉

You may have heard of Carmel Harrington, Author of Beyond Grace’s Rainbow and Freelance journalist, if not find her on her Website, Facebook or Twitter.

I would like to thank Carmel for taking time out of her very busy life to write the following piece, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Over to Carmel:

Ever wondered what the life of a freelance writer is like? How about a freelance writer who is also a mother to two toddlers? I can sum it up in a four letter word for you all. Busy!
Like for example this morning. The H Household was woken up unceremoniously by Nate my 18 month old at 5.30 am. Yes 5.30 am. Now that would have been ok had I been in bed at 9.30 pm drinking my cocoa and watching the Late Late or Alan Carr. God I find him funny. I just have to look at him and he cracks me up, those teeth. And his voice. I think if Alan Carr and I met we could be great friends. Alan if you’re reading this, call me ok? Right, lack of sleep is making me sillier than normal, so I’ll get back to the point – there was no TV for me last night as there was writing to be done.
Just to give you an idea of what I’ve been up to in just one week as a freelance writer, I wrote and submitted two magazine articles to be published in June, did an interview with a book reviewer about my novel Beyond Graces Rainbow, completed my second play which is now on its way to a theatre in UK for consideration and also ran a challenge on my blog to get aspiring writers writing! This challenge has proven to be hugely successful, so much so that the challenge is about to turn into a competition. More information on that to follow on my blog I promise. And I’ve started a writers group on Facebook for all the newbie writers to chat together and support each other. If anyone wants to join incidentally, get in touch, I’m happy to add you. So it’s been busy. Just a tad.

writer housework

I was writing to the wee hours last night cos’ I was on a flow, so when Nate started to holler for attention this morning, I felt like a cast member of the Walking Dead. I simply could not lift my head from my pillow which in fairness was probably a combination of zombie like tiredness and the fact that Amelia, my 3 year old had crawled into bed at some point during the night and had one foot in my rib cage and the other in the crook of my neck. Nice. So Mr H was nudged awake and he brought Nate into bed with us and we all played a game of make believe that we might all get back to sleep. But four in the bed with the little one saying over and over again, ‘Mama, Dada, Juice!’ So at the ungodly hour of 6am breakfast was being served to the smallies and Mr H and I were drinking tea. The tea drinking was in fact further insult to our injured sleep deprived selves, as we had run out of coffee and the nespresso machine on the blink. Bad timing.

mother humour

After breakfast I started to clean the playroom and Mr H started to iron the mountain of laundry that never seems to deplete and we realised that it was in fact only 7 am. We were both probably feeling a bit hard done by. When all of a sudden Amelia shouts to Nate, ‘Come on Nate, lets fly to the moon.’ She plonked a bob the builder hat on his head, a cowboy hat on her own and sat them down side by side in their Mickey Mouse chairs and shouted ‘To the moon!’
And as they both squealed with delight as Amelia kept shouting we are going ‘Superfast!‘ my heart melted and I thought to hell with sleep, this is all that matters. Watching my children’s imagination take them happily to the moon and back more than makes up for every early start and kicked rib cage.
So here I am now at 9.30 am with the ironing done, (thanks Mr H) playroom cleaned, Nate napping because of his early start, Amelia happily playing on the moon, strong coffee in front of me (thanks Mr H again for the dash to the shops at 9am when they opened) and I’m taking the opportunity to write.
That’s how we roll in the H house these days and can I tell you all a secret? I kinda of love it.

Carmel Harrington is a freelance writer and bestselling author of the eBook Beyond Graces Rainbow which recently won The Book Awards in March 2013. She is represented by the Trace Literary Agency where Beyond Graces Rainbow and her second novel Sleep of Dreams are on submission with publishers.
Carmel is also a playwright with her first play A Dunganstown Romance on stage in June 13’.
Carmel lives in Wexford with her husband Roger and two small children, Amelia and Nate.
Please visit Carmel’s webpage at for all the latest updates or follow her on twitter @happymrsh and on face book at


Look who i bumped into today!

me and carmel

I had lunch today with none other than the wonderful Carmel Harrington. The lady kind enough to give me my first interview to go along with my review of Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, which you can find here.

I spoke to Carmel about what is happening with her at the moment. As you may remember she had just signed up with the Trace Literary Agency when i first blogged about her, and at the moment her agent is just starting to send Beyond Grace’s Rainbow out to publishers. I have no doubt that we will be seeing it on the shelves in the near future.

Carmel was also filling me in on her next book, which just sounds amazing. The title is a work in progress, she thinks she has it nailed down but just isn’t certain if maybe there isn’t a more perfect one out there, so I am not going to publish it and will give her a chance to think about it. Though that’s maybe an exclusive she would like to keep for her own blog anyway! The book is about a mother, with an AWOL husband, who has a special gift. Sarah is psychic and has visions about people around her and she needs to use these visions to try to change a particular course of events, without people thinking she has gone nuts. Carmel assures me that the book has lots of twists and turns and the unexpected is always around the corner.

The yet to named book is just awaiting the final edit and then will be sent off to Carmels agent. Naturally after the great success of her debut book Carmel is nervous that she is a ‘one hit wonder’. I have it on good authority that she has nothing to worry about, that this book may be even better that Beyond Grace’s Rainbow!

I cannot wait to see it on sale. Good luck Carmel, and I owe her a giant piece cake so we will have to do it all again!