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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 sh 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.


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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 sh 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.

30 review for A Life Without You

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Last year I was absolutely thrilled by Katie Marsh's first novel, My Everything. It is a story that has stayed with me ever since and I've been so looking forward to reading her new novel, but just a little nervous too .... what if I didn't love it as much? Author Miranda Dickenson said that My Everything was 'devastatingly good'. It is, and so is A Life Without You; it's a story that will evoke every emotion that lurks within your heart and pull each string firmly. Devastating is the perfect wor Last year I was absolutely thrilled by Katie Marsh's first novel, My Everything. It is a story that has stayed with me ever since and I've been so looking forward to reading her new novel, but just a little nervous too .... what if I didn't love it as much? Author Miranda Dickenson said that My Everything was 'devastatingly good'. It is, and so is A Life Without You; it's a story that will evoke every emotion that lurks within your heart and pull each string firmly. Devastating is the perfect word, yet it is also beautiful and passionate and exquisitely written. Two stories blended into one told with ease. There's the unfolding drama of Zoe and her 'almost wedding' with Jamie, the love of her life, her rock and soulmate. There's also the story of Zoe's life, told through letters written by her mother Gina, starting on her first birthday, right through to the present day. The story opens as Zoe is preparing to marry Jamie, when she receives the phone call that will change the course of her life, readers can't help but wonder why she decides to abandon the fabulous Jamie and rush off to help her mother who she hasn't seen for years. There are clues that Zoe wasn't completely sure that marrying Jamie was the right thing to do though, and the phone call becomes a way out for her. It also opens up the box of memories stored within her heart that are painful and distressing and hard to handle. A Life Without You is a warm and witty, yet at times it is harrowing and ferociously sad. Gina's steady descent into the grip of early-onset Alzheimer's is portrayed with thoughtful sensitivity, yet does not shy away from the painful realities that Gina, Zoe and their extended friends and family have to face. Katie Marsh has expertly captured the effects that dementia has on Gina, and the terrifying and devastating ripple effect that cause so much pain and heartbreak to her loved ones. The flashes of recognition from Gina that gradually diminish; the hopelessness felt by Zoe; the feelings of anger and of sadness. The complexities of the mother and daughter relationship are examined and the damage that can be caused, long-term by events of the past and how they are handled are at the forefront of the story, Once the reader discovers the hurts and assumed betrayals from the past, they can go back to the first chapter and understand why Zoe took the decision that she did. I am beginning to run out of words of praise for A Life Without You, and I want everyone to go out and buy a copy, and read it. It is absolutely wonderful. http://randomthingsthroughmyletterbox...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I have been so looking forward to reading Katie’s second novel. Her debut, My Everything, was a beautiful story that really touched me and so it was with great excitement I waited for A Life Without You. And wow, what an exquisite and beautiful novel A Life Without You is. A life without you begins on Zoe’s wedding day as she’s about to marry her fiancé Jamie. She’s nervous, just like any bride would be, but she wonders if she’s truly making the right decision. She is quite literally saved by th I have been so looking forward to reading Katie’s second novel. Her debut, My Everything, was a beautiful story that really touched me and so it was with great excitement I waited for A Life Without You. And wow, what an exquisite and beautiful novel A Life Without You is. A life without you begins on Zoe’s wedding day as she’s about to marry her fiancé Jamie. She’s nervous, just like any bride would be, but she wonders if she’s truly making the right decision. She is quite literally saved by the bell when, Mags, Zoe’s mum’s friend rings Zoe to tell her that her mum has just been arrested. Zoe hasn’t seen her mum in years and she suddenly feels compelled to rescue her from whatever she’s got herself caught up in. Fleeing her own wedding, Zoe takes a cab to the police station and suddenly her world starts turning on its head and everything she thought she knew no longer seems to be true. What has happened to her mum? Will Jamie ever forgive her for running away from their wedding? And will Zoe ever forgive her mum for what happened all those years ago…? A Life Without You is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It was so moving and affecting but also had me laughing too and smiling even though the characters were going through some of the toughest things anyone can ever face. I don’t want to go too deeply into the themes and issues in this novel as it will certainly spoil it and I would hate to do so! But I just want to briefly touch on the whole notion of family and how, throughout the novel, Katie explores what it means to be a family and to be a part of a family. Do you automatically have to forgive a parent for something they’ve done to hurt you? Are you required to always be there for a family member through thick and thin? Is keeping a huge secret from a parent ever OK? And is there always the chance to begin again, to forge a new relationship and start over? A Life Without You is told through Zoe’s eyes with chapters alternating between letters from Zoe’s mum. Each letter is written to Zoe on her birthday, from her first birthday through to the present day and these letters provide the history and background of Zoe’s childhood and her relationship with her mum up until things start to go wrong. It was a great way of giving the reader an insight into Zoe’s past which enabled Katie to keep the narrative in the present day and show Zoe as an adult in juxtaposition to the young girl we see through her mum’s letters. Katie writes in such an evocative and emotionally intelligent way that every chapter felt stuffed to the brim with tangible emotion and had me going through each high and low that the characters did. One minute I was smiling at a beautiful memory Zoe’s mum has of her childhood, and the next I had tears tracing their way down my cheeks as I saw how life can change in an instant. This book touches on a subject that is incredibly sensitive and emotional and even though I have, thankfully, no experience of it, I felt like I had really been through it as I turned the final page. It was incredible how Katie made me feel so emotionally attached to the characters and how their pain and upset felt like my own. An author that can do that is an author that can do anything. A Life Without You is an incredible second novel and one that I urge you to read. It’s heart-breaking yet hopeful and daunting yet comforting. It is a novel that tackles sensitive issues in the most thoughtful way and a novel that gives hope and encourages second chances. I cannot recommend it enough.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Clare Greg

    Not For Me I had to speed through this ,not because I couldn't put it down but it was dull. I actually skipped pages and didn't actually miss much. I didn't find it emotional at all , Zoe wasn't even likeable and I just couldn't connect at all. Boring!! Not For Me I had to speed through this ,not because I couldn't put it down but it was dull. I actually skipped pages and didn't actually miss much. I didn't find it emotional at all , Zoe wasn't even likeable and I just couldn't connect at all. Boring!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Oh my goodness, this book was wonderful - and although being a soggy and sobbing mess at the end of it might not be everyone's idea of a "wonderful read", it's most certainly mine. Strangely though, the first chapter almost put me off (I mention this only in case it does the same to you...) with the last minute preparations for Zoe's wedding, and her "will I/won't I". But the book then becomes something different altogether. Enter Gina, Zoe's mother - a mother she hasn't seen in a long time, but Oh my goodness, this book was wonderful - and although being a soggy and sobbing mess at the end of it might not be everyone's idea of a "wonderful read", it's most certainly mine. Strangely though, the first chapter almost put me off (I mention this only in case it does the same to you...) with the last minute preparations for Zoe's wedding, and her "will I/won't I". But the book then becomes something different altogether. Enter Gina, Zoe's mother - a mother she hasn't seen in a long time, but whose phone call is enough to force her to make some very difficult choices. There was so much I loved about this book that I hardly know where to start. As an account of Gina's decline - with all the challenges and problems that brings - it's quite superbly handled. And it's not mawkish or morbid, just exceptionally moving. At times it can be very funny, as Gina's behaviour becomes increasingly extreme - but then you catch yourself laughing, and it often turns into a sob instead. The deep, dark secrets that underlie the fractured relationship between mother and daughter slowly unfold, and it's really quite a story. The clear love of a mother for her daughter - and, despite everything, the love of a daughter for her mother - makes you feel warm inside, but also absolutely breaks your heart. I loved the structure of the book too. Letters from mother to daughter, sent on successive birthdays, tell the story of their relationship and the perceived betrayal that fractured it. The letters are in a clear voice, with real humour in the early ones, but with a devastating sadness pervading the later ones - and they add extra poignancy to the continuing decline we're watching in the present day story. They also tell a fascinating story of families and how the complex relationships can work but can also break down - and it's simply fascinating too to see how those family dynamics are working in the present day. And in the background, there's always the story of Zoe's relationship with the simply lovely Jamie - and the fading hope that they can recover the love they had. This book was desperately sad, but at the same time totally beautiful and uplifting. One that everyone should read, I think... I defy anyone not to love it as much as I did.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Louise Beech

    Katie's second book is a triumph, one I devoured in a single - emotional - afternoon. It's an exquisitely written exploration of that most powerful of relationships - mother and daughter. Told via Zoe herself, and through letters from her mother throughout the years, it builds patiently to the moment we understand both women. It's a book about forgiveness, about growing up, about how illness can tear a family apart, and how love can ultimately pave the way to healing. Just gorgeous. Don't miss t Katie's second book is a triumph, one I devoured in a single - emotional - afternoon. It's an exquisitely written exploration of that most powerful of relationships - mother and daughter. Told via Zoe herself, and through letters from her mother throughout the years, it builds patiently to the moment we understand both women. It's a book about forgiveness, about growing up, about how illness can tear a family apart, and how love can ultimately pave the way to healing. Just gorgeous. Don't miss this one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Agi

    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 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! Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Savannah

    Found this to be such an incredible, poignant read. A story that would make you appreciate the seconds you spend with your loved ones, and the memories you create.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Terrie Drummond

    i don't often write reviews but I have to say I loved this book. No spoilers . i don't often write reviews but I have to say I loved this book. No spoilers .

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katy Wilson

    An emotional read but well written - lots of twists and had me gripped! All the way through there's a deep dark secret hinted at, and I was desperate to discover it! It didn't disappoint! Very poignant and deals with difficult elements, including illness, loss, and the importance of families. Enjoyable. An emotional read but well written - lots of twists and had me gripped! All the way through there's a deep dark secret hinted at, and I was desperate to discover it! It didn't disappoint! Very poignant and deals with difficult elements, including illness, loss, and the importance of families. Enjoyable.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bookread2day

    I read and reviewed My Everything giving it 5 stars and is absolutely a must buy. I enjoyed My Everything much better than a life Without you. However this new book is rather touching. Maybe you should make up before it's too late. After all the long planning, Zoe and Jamie wedding day has arrived. The only one person Zoe hasn't invited is her own mother. She hasn't spoken to her mum in years. You should have invited your own mother. I can't believe you left her out and haven't spoken to her in I read and reviewed My Everything giving it 5 stars and is absolutely a must buy. I enjoyed My Everything much better than a life Without you. However this new book is rather touching. Maybe you should make up before it's too late. After all the long planning, Zoe and Jamie wedding day has arrived. The only one person Zoe hasn't invited is her own mother. She hasn't spoken to her mum in years. You should have invited your own mother. I can't believe you left her out and haven't spoken to her in years. Just as Zoe is about to get married she gets a telephone call to say that her mother has been arrested. Zoe walked out on her wedding day to visit her mum at the police station. Was her mother selfish enough to ruin her own daughter's wedding, just because she wasn't invited ? Will Jamie forgive Zoe for walking out on their wedding day? Can Zoe patch up things with her mum?

  11. 4 out of 5

    nicky hedden

    The beginning grabbed me....... I would of given this book 3 1/2 if I could. The free download sample really enticed me but then I felt a bit let down. The book was just a bit slow for me. I read on expecting a great twist or expecting to feel some powerful emotion........but it just didn't do it for me. I really didn't like the letter entries to tell the back story. I just don't think a mother would write such things to a two, three or whatever year old child. Maybe a diary style have been more The beginning grabbed me....... I would of given this book 3 1/2 if I could. The free download sample really enticed me but then I felt a bit let down. The book was just a bit slow for me. I read on expecting a great twist or expecting to feel some powerful emotion........but it just didn't do it for me. I really didn't like the letter entries to tell the back story. I just don't think a mother would write such things to a two, three or whatever year old child. Maybe a diary style have been more plausible. I have no personal experience of early onset Alzheimer's so I don't know how accurate the portrayal is of Gina's illness but I felt Still Alice by Lisa Genova offered a more substantial depiction of the impact that early onset Alzheimer's has on the patient and other family members. However I did enjoy getting to know the characters ......

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Joyce

    After loving Katie Marsh's debut, My Everything, I was looking forward to diving into her new release - and I wasn't disappointed. Katie Marsh's writing has a gorgeous warmth to it that pulls me into the worlds of her characters. A Life Without You is a fantastic read full of intrigue and poignant moments. I loved it and I'm already looking forward to the future releases from this brilliant writer! After loving Katie Marsh's debut, My Everything, I was looking forward to diving into her new release - and I wasn't disappointed. Katie Marsh's writing has a gorgeous warmth to it that pulls me into the worlds of her characters. A Life Without You is a fantastic read full of intrigue and poignant moments. I loved it and I'm already looking forward to the future releases from this brilliant writer!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gill

    Loved it but shed a few tears too Beautifully written and sensitively written considering the subject matter. Describes relationships between mum and daughter so delicately and the decline of someone touched by Alzheimer's. Having had a mum in law with this horrible disease this held a special poignancy for me. I loved this book Loved it but shed a few tears too Beautifully written and sensitively written considering the subject matter. Describes relationships between mum and daughter so delicately and the decline of someone touched by Alzheimer's. Having had a mum in law with this horrible disease this held a special poignancy for me. I loved this book

  14. 5 out of 5

    Isabelle Broom

    A stunning book. Review to follow

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty Mcdougall

    4.5* highly recommend this book as a heart felt tear jerker! Fantastically written and totally relatable characters that made me completely invested in the story!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cass Glaves

    loved it, simple as. just read it!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kaisha (The Writing Garnet)

    All reviews can be found on my blog at https://thewritinggarnet.wordpress.com 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? O All reviews can be found on my blog at https://thewritinggarnet.wordpress.com 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..

  18. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Goldman

    A Life Without You is a heartbreaking story of love, loss, tragedy and family secrets. Zoe and her mother Gina haven't seen each other for years, after terrible events tore the family apart. When Gina is arrested on Zoe's wedding day, Zoe realises that her mother isn't the woman she remembers and maybe it's time for them all to face past mistakes. A Life Without You focuses on early-onset Alzheimer's and its devastating impact. You can tell that the author, Katie Marsh, has had direct experience o A Life Without You is a heartbreaking story of love, loss, tragedy and family secrets. Zoe and her mother Gina haven't seen each other for years, after terrible events tore the family apart. When Gina is arrested on Zoe's wedding day, Zoe realises that her mother isn't the woman she remembers and maybe it's time for them all to face past mistakes. A Life Without You focuses on early-onset Alzheimer's and its devastating impact. You can tell that the author, Katie Marsh, has had direct experience of this terrible disease by the way her characters struggle to cope. The book also portrays a damaged mother/daughter relationship and whether it's possible to forgive, forget and move on. A Life Without You is carefully layered, with beautiful writing, very real characters and a tight plot. In some places, it's funny and heartwarming. In others, it's sad and thought provoking. All of the writing is emotionally charged. The story tore at my heartstrings and left me in tears by the end. I loved Katie Marsh's first book My Everything. A Life Without You is yet another book that makes you think about the future and how important it is to grab life by the horns and live it to the full when, and while, you can. I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hill

    When Zoe’s wedding day preparations are disrupted by the mother from whom she’s been estranged for years, she doesn’t fully realise the pull of family and how her life will be affected. When you have so loved an author’s first novel (My Everything, my review of which is here) it is with trepidation that you read and review the second. My goodness I needn’t have worried. A Life Without You is just as emotional, just as stunning and just as beautifully written. If I’m honest, I’m struggling a bit wi When Zoe’s wedding day preparations are disrupted by the mother from whom she’s been estranged for years, she doesn’t fully realise the pull of family and how her life will be affected. When you have so loved an author’s first novel (My Everything, my review of which is here) it is with trepidation that you read and review the second. My goodness I needn’t have worried. A Life Without You is just as emotional, just as stunning and just as beautifully written. If I’m honest, I’m struggling a bit with this review. I don’t seem able to construct a sentence that conveys how affected I felt by reading Katie Marsh’s A Life Without You. It might be because my own father is no longer the man I have always known, following his terrible stroke a month ago that, although he and I have never been estranged like Zoe and Gina, I can relate to every difficulty Zoe and Lily face in the latter part of the book. I didn’t just read about their emotions. I felt them as if they were my own. But even readers with no experience of parental illness cannot fail to be engrossed in what happens to Gina. There is a really well constructed plot in A Life Without You, with secrets emerging slowly that give insight into the characters and the real reason Zoe has shut Gina out of her life, but that is not the main feature of the story. It is the themes of love, the past, family and relationships that make this such a stunning read. I don’t know how she does it, but Katie Marsh seems to put on paper what the rest of us feel inside. There is also a lightness at times that balances the more emotional aspect so effectively. I think it is the realism of situations in A Life Without You that makes this such a powerful read. I really enjoyed the structure of the writing. The more Gina slips into memory loss, the more of her letters to Zoe we read so that we gain a full understanding of who she is as a person. Gina’s relationship with Alistair must be so familiar to so many readers. Indeed, even though Zoe is at the heart of the novel, her non-wedding being the catalyst for events, it is Gina who steals the show, perhaps giving us all an important message. When those we love are slipping into dementia or some other illness, they are still those we love, albeit changed. I was incredibly moved by A Life Without You and the experience of reading it will stay with me for a very long time.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    A really easy to read book that held me immersed from the moment Zoe walked out on her wedding to Jamie,the love of her life, or is he? Zoe has a tumultuous relationship with her mother Gina,and they have been estranged for many years but suddenly her mum needs her and feeling full of guilt by the past Zoe feels she must help her. Zoe has a secretive past that only her mother knows,not her dad or her sister Lily, nor does Jamie and herein lies the problem between them. I had no idea of what the out A really easy to read book that held me immersed from the moment Zoe walked out on her wedding to Jamie,the love of her life, or is he? Zoe has a tumultuous relationship with her mother Gina,and they have been estranged for many years but suddenly her mum needs her and feeling full of guilt by the past Zoe feels she must help her. Zoe has a secretive past that only her mother knows,not her dad or her sister Lily, nor does Jamie and herein lies the problem between them. I had no idea of what the outcome would be between Jamie and Zoe, there was every chance that they couldn’t get back what they once had. The whole Alzheimer’s plot was very moving and heartbreaking because it is so true to life, to see a loved one slowly lose their memory and forget every little thing. It was beautiful and poignant a story about a mother and daughter, a must read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    A lovely story. Zoe is moments away from marrying the love of her life, Jamie - until she receives a frantic phone-call. Her mum needs her. The mum who she has been estranged from for over 10 years. Acting on instinct, Zoe drops everything. Abandons the wedding and the man she loves to go to her aid. What she finds, is not the mother she once remembered. Gina has alzheimer's - her memory is fading and she needs Zoe. But can Zoe forgive her for their troubled past? This was a very touching book w A lovely story. Zoe is moments away from marrying the love of her life, Jamie - until she receives a frantic phone-call. Her mum needs her. The mum who she has been estranged from for over 10 years. Acting on instinct, Zoe drops everything. Abandons the wedding and the man she loves to go to her aid. What she finds, is not the mother she once remembered. Gina has alzheimer's - her memory is fading and she needs Zoe. But can Zoe forgive her for their troubled past? This was a very touching book which tackles the topic of dementia well and respectfully. I enjoyed reading this very much - I'll be looking out for more from Katie Marsh.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Irritating start! Zoe, the lead character, leaves her fiancé on the day of their wedding, rushing off in her wedding dress to help her mum who she hasn’t spoken to for 10 years. REALLY? Who would do that?! I found that unbelievable and annoying, so it is quite amazing that I finally came round and actually felt for the characters in the story. Suffice to say the history of the family slowly unfolds, secrets revealed, broken bridges are rebuilt and Zoe has to come to terms with the diagnosis of h Irritating start! Zoe, the lead character, leaves her fiancé on the day of their wedding, rushing off in her wedding dress to help her mum who she hasn’t spoken to for 10 years. REALLY? Who would do that?! I found that unbelievable and annoying, so it is quite amazing that I finally came round and actually felt for the characters in the story. Suffice to say the history of the family slowly unfolds, secrets revealed, broken bridges are rebuilt and Zoe has to come to terms with the diagnosis of her mother’s dementia. A bit in the chic lit mode for me although the worries around caring for a declining parent were certainly realistic.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    Thought provoking. This starts out almost like a typical runaway bride story, and honestly was a bit boring. Some of the very British terms and references were a little bothersome and I didn't really like the main character, Zoe, very much at first. As the story develops and you begin to know the characters and their backgrounds it becomes more interesting. It definitely ends up being a story about family relationships, love, secrets, and hard decisions about caring for someone with Alzheimer's. Thought provoking. This starts out almost like a typical runaway bride story, and honestly was a bit boring. Some of the very British terms and references were a little bothersome and I didn't really like the main character, Zoe, very much at first. As the story develops and you begin to know the characters and their backgrounds it becomes more interesting. It definitely ends up being a story about family relationships, love, secrets, and hard decisions about caring for someone with Alzheimer's. I've dealt with Alzheimer's and those fears and decisions and it was all very realistic and brought out a lot if real concerns and issues. In the end, it was well worth the read!

  24. 5 out of 5

    MISS E MARYON

    A lovely read I loved this book. I did at first wonder where it was going but once it did get going it was lovely. Written from viewpoints of both mother and daughter and both views were so relatable to me. The daughters view made me think about my own relationship with my mother. But it was the chapters written from the mothers side that really reached out to me. When she is describing the early days with her Young children and the love and pure joy and pride she describes is so well written I w A lovely read I loved this book. I did at first wonder where it was going but once it did get going it was lovely. Written from viewpoints of both mother and daughter and both views were so relatable to me. The daughters view made me think about my own relationship with my mother. But it was the chapters written from the mothers side that really reached out to me. When she is describing the early days with her Young children and the love and pure joy and pride she describes is so well written I was close to tears many times.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emma Harvey

    I really liked the way this book has letters written to Zoe from her Mum whilst they were apart. And I loved the personalities of each character. However, I feel that the story jumped a little and Jamie was often not mentioned for chapter upon chapter, and then all of a sudden we were being told that Zoe couldn't stop thinking about him. I did also like the way that it tackles Alzheimer's and the struggles of the family with a relative who suffers it. But the story just took a long time to get g I really liked the way this book has letters written to Zoe from her Mum whilst they were apart. And I loved the personalities of each character. However, I feel that the story jumped a little and Jamie was often not mentioned for chapter upon chapter, and then all of a sudden we were being told that Zoe couldn't stop thinking about him. I did also like the way that it tackles Alzheimer's and the struggles of the family with a relative who suffers it. But the story just took a long time to get going and I didn't find myself wanting to pick it up often.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christine Rennie

    A book dealing with mother and daughter relationships and how it can all go so wrong. Then when events happen how to get them back on track again. How families interact with each other and how it can all go well when everyone works together. The other issue which is more and more prominent today is how to cope when a parent has dementia issues. Good read on the subject.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ellie (bookmadbarlow)

    I found Zoe to be quite an unlikeable character and I do struggle when I don't like the person I should be connecting with. The letters at the end of each chapter from Gina to Zoe was what kept me reading and I am glad that I did. This story about growing up, forgiveness and memory decline really makes you want to appreciate every minute you have with your own family. I found Zoe to be quite an unlikeable character and I do struggle when I don't like the person I should be connecting with. The letters at the end of each chapter from Gina to Zoe was what kept me reading and I am glad that I did. This story about growing up, forgiveness and memory decline really makes you want to appreciate every minute you have with your own family.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gladys Johnsen

    A Riviting story of family and dementia. This book is a heartwarming story of family, their love, anger, and hate of one another. It's a story reminding how important honesty is in human relationships; especially when helping a loved one who develops dementia. Everyone should read this book. A Riviting story of family and dementia. This book is a heartwarming story of family, their love, anger, and hate of one another. It's a story reminding how important honesty is in human relationships; especially when helping a loved one who develops dementia. Everyone should read this book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Erickson

    Stirs the emotions Katie Marsh has brought many of the emotional challenges of dealing with a mother suffering from early stage memory loss. Having experienced this first hand one can relate to the rollercoaster of feels, decisions and guilt. As a daughter you feel duty calling to take control or try to fix it all. But can not.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Glenna Daff

    Heartwarming I felt so much for everyone of the characters in this book. Katie Marsh, is so talented in the way she brings her characters alive. I'm in healthcare and the brutality of Alzheimer's is so cruel. I couldn't put it down once I started reading. I'm off to find my next Katie Marsh book!! Heartwarming I felt so much for everyone of the characters in this book. Katie Marsh, is so talented in the way she brings her characters alive. I'm in healthcare and the brutality of Alzheimer's is so cruel. I couldn't put it down once I started reading. I'm off to find my next Katie Marsh book!!

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