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.
What does TWG think?
I need to apologise BIG TIME. I bought Katie’s book a while ago, it even made my ‘Top Books of 2016’ list (TWG’s Top 24 Books of 2016! @Bookouture @headlinepg @HQStories @canelo_co @littlebrownuk &more), BUT, what I didn’t do was write my review for it! I honestly thought that I had, but obviously I hadn’t. I am very sorry that you’re just getting my review now, Katie Marsh!
Mum…or soon to be husband, which one would you pick? No, I’m not saying that you need to play eeny meeny minee mo just for the sake of it. Let me ask that question in a different way; if you received a phone call which alerted you to a situation with a person (your mum) you hadn’t seen for many years, whilst you were gearing up to get married to the love of your life, which one would you choose? Stay and get married? Or go and help a person who probably won’t want your help, yet…is your mum? Tough decision to make really, isn’t it?
Zoe hasn’t seen her mum, Gina, for a very long time. Unsure as to whether she would ever see Gina again, Zoe tried to get on with her life and move forward, except the call she received on her wedding day completely turned her whole world upside down…
My heart went out to Jamie for Zoe’s actions, and my heart went out to Zoe for Gina’s actions. I’ve seen a few reviews where the reader has said how walking out of a wedding is a ‘no-no’ and ‘unrealistic’, but I beg to differ. It is realistic but the chances of anyone stating that they have been jilted at the aisle is slim to nil. Not really THE conversation starter is it? As readers, we walk into the storyline partway through the characters lives, and we are unaware of their pasts, relationships with people and so forth. All we know is what they are doing when we open up the book, therefore we cannot really judge a character, in this case, Zoe, on their actions at the very start of a book as their reasons are still hidden within the book.
Zoe DID have her reasons and there was A LOT more to Gina than ‘just getting arrested’. Little did we know that Gina’s journey was heading down a harrowing path; I had no idea how harrowing it was going to be until it hit me. This review is quite hard to write because whilst I want to talk about the book, every situation is linked with a vital piece of information and I don’t think I would be too popular if I wrote this review with spoilers in!
‘A Life Without You’ absolutely blew me away, and at times it felt like my heart was being ripped out due to the emotion that was pouring from my eyes like a waterfall. The family dynamics within this book, despite being broken and rocky, are surprisingly strong and full of hidden courage. Gina’s battle was incredibly eye-opening yet incredibly devastating, Zoe and Lily (along with real life readers) must have felt so powerless as they watched their mother deteriorate before their very eyes, becoming a shadow that even Gina herself didn’t know. For me, the most powerful relationships within the storyline were Zoe, Lily’s and Gina’s, every other character played a part in their own ways, but those three ladies lives shook me to the core.
Katie’s ability to write a raw, poignant and emotionally charged storyline deserves an incredible amount of respect. The fact that she delved into a relatable and devastating illness with such poise and sensitivity, really showcased her writing talent, putting her in the ‘one of my favourite authors’ box.
A Life Without You is a storyline guaranteed to make you shed a tear or ten, whilst also filling your heart with love towards fictitious characters. This book also highlights the importance of trust, honesty and ensuring that you’re there for the ones you love, regardless of how hard it may be at the time. You need them and they need you. Reaching the end of Katie Marsh’s novel was a struggle as I couldn’t see the book properly through my tears.
An inspiring, thought-provoking and emotional read, whilst it broke my heart into pieces it also protected and comforted me whilst reading. Katie Marsh has delivered perfection with this novel, in my eyes anyway. An unbelievable author, and after reading this, one of my favourite authors of all time. Incredible. I just wish I could find the right words for my feelings towards this book..