A Life Without You by Katie Marsh

A Life Without You

by Katie Marsh


Publisher: Hodder

Publishing Date: 14th July 2015

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 369

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



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.

Rating: 5/5


Oh guys, I’ve been waiting to read Katie Marsh’s second novel since the moment I’d finished her debut „My Everything” – it was such a beautiful, moving story that I immediately fell in love with and I couldn’t wait to see what more Ms Marsh has in store for us. Yep, that’s me, I always want more and more of good books :) And I think that it was really worth to wait over a year for „A Life Without You” – it is another great read, a gem of a novel proving that Katie Marsh is a fantastic author.

We are introduced to Zoe at her wedding’s day – she’s about to marry Jamie but in the last moment she receives a phone call that makes her flee from her own wedding. It turns out her mum was arrested – her many – years – no – see – no – speak mum, let’s add, so why did Zoe feel the need to run to her rescue? Isn’t she sure about Jamie, about the wedding? Or is it something else? Sense of guilt? Why does she feel obliged to help her mum right now, right there?
Little does Zoe know how much the visit to the police station is going to change her life. What is happening to her mum? Are they going to make up for the lost years? What has happened at all in the past that drove the mother and daughter apart? Is Jamie going to forgive Zoe for running away from the wedding?

This is a story about a very complicated, very realistic, very powerful relationship between mother and daughter. The story is told by Zoe and the chapters alternate between her narration and letters that her mother has written for Zoe’s birthdays. The letters were brilliant, as they not only gave as much deeper insight of Zoe and her mum’s relationship, into the history, into clearing and explaining what has happened, but they were also full of the deepest feelings and emotions. It was a great way of organizing the story this way and making the flashbacks into the past through these letters, but keeping the plot in the present. It also, with the way it is built, let us slowly but steadily understand why this relationship looks like this, what has happened and allow us to make our own picture, to make our own opinion.

There are so many questions but each of them is going to eventually find their answers, and believe me, the journey to find them is one of the most captivating, hooking, beautiful journeys ever. What we get from the author is a complicated but true to life story about unconditional love. We mostly get Zoe’s point of view in this story, and as much as I liked her and kept my fingers crossed for her sometimes her actions and the way she reacted appeared to be a little too immature. She was stubborn, our Zoe, but I could see when she was coming from – she felt betrayed and hurt. However, the more letters from her mother Gina we read, the more her point of view came to light and the situations and events were explained, the more I felt my heart went to her. Her actions as mother were brilliantly explained and, in my opinion, she did her best, and in perspective I can truly say that in my eyes Gina was right. I can’t explain more as I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I am sure that when you read the book you’ll understand what I mean. Nevertheless, the book shows how a little misunderstanding can destroy the very precious and short time that we have for our beloved ones and it made my heart – and eyes – swell.

„A Life Without You” has everything that I am looking for in a book. It made me sob, and it made me smile, even though the characters were facing some really difficult situations and decisions. This story has many layers and each of them made me gasp, but all of the layers have something in common, and it is love, different kind of love. And as all of us can relate to love, this makes the book even more interesting and emotional. But it is not only love that we can relate to in the book, as I am sure that all the readers will find something for themselves that will make them perceive this tale in a very special way.

You know, to be totally honest, it was a really hard review to write because how often and in how many ways can you tell how much you loved something – and I really, really, really loved the book. Katie Marsh is such a talented author, she brings all the characters and situations so effortlessly to life and what’s so important to me, the plot, the protagonists, they seem so true to life and realistic. I felt a part of the characters’ world and I went with them through each high and low, every twist and turn. Katie Marsh has in an incredibly gentle and so very realistic way written about Zoe’s mum and her disease – I, thankfully, have no experience of this disease and I truly hope it’ll stay this way, but Ms Marsh has written it in a way that it gave me shivers and I had a feeling I am through it together with Zoe. What I so adored in Katie’s previous novel, as well as in „Life Without You” is that the books make you think about your own life and how much you start to appreciate all the little things of your everyday – gorgeous, just gorgeous, beautiful and evocative novel about love, hope, forgiveness. Strongly, highly recommended!

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