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Author: Katie Marsh

Published: 14 July 2016
Reviewed: 9 September 2016

4 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Hodder and Stoughton in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Can you ever outrun the past?

It’s Zoe’s wedding day. She’s about to marry Jamie, the love of her life. Then a phone call comes out of the blue, with the news that her mum Gina has been arrested. Zoe must make an impossible decision: should she leave her own wedding to help?

Zoe hasn’t seen Gina for years, blaming her for the secret that she’s been running from ever since she was sixteen. Now, Gina is back in her life, but she’s very different to the mum Zoe remembers. Slowly but surely, Gina is losing her memory.

As she struggles to cope with Gina’s illness, can Zoe face up to the terrible events of years ago and find her way back to the people she loves?

A Life Without You is a stirring and poignant novel about the power of the past – and the possibilities of the future.

My Thoughts & Review:

A Life Without You is the second novel written by Marsh and is just as wonderful as her début My Everything.
It is a book with two stories in one in a way, we have the story of Zoe preparing to marry the love of her life and what happens next but also the story of Zoe’s life retold through letters written by her mother Gina over the years.

The unexpected phone call on the morning of her wedding forces Zoe to make a life changing decision, she either marries her soul mate or rushes to the police station to help her mother who has been arrested for shoplifting.
The odd thing is that Zoe and her mother have been estranged for the past 10 years, in fact her mother didn’t even get an invite for the wedding but nevertheless Zoe makes the decision to go to her mother.  Once there, she softens slightly when she realises something is not right with Gina, but she cannot forget the past either.
When Gina is diagnosed with early onset dementia, she moves in with Zoe, thus ensuring when she begins to decline that she is safe and that Zoe can support her.

It’s quite hard to review this without spoilers, there are so many moments I would love to share but no, this is a book you really need to read.  At it’s very core it’s about love, hope, forgiveness and family.

Written with great sensitivity, Marsh recounts the struggles families face when a loved one is diagnosed with an illness such as dementia, but all the while does not shy away from the harsh realities of it which makes this a very moving story to read.  I definitely felt some of heartache that Zoe encountered, and reading some passages I had a lump in my throat and found I was blinking to hold back tears but similarly, there are wonderful parts that make you laugh heartily.

An evocative story of hope and sadness, it gives the reader pause to consider what really matters.  It’s hard not to be affected by emotion when reading this, and quite honestly it made want to give my mum a phone just to remind her that I love her and appreciate her.

You can buy a copy of A Life Without You here.

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