With or Without You,
by Shari Low
Publication: Aria (June 1, 2018)
About the book:
Have you ever made a life-changing decision and then wondered if you made the right one…?
A clever, captivating and bittersweet story of what might have been. Perfect for the fans of Jojo Moyes and Marian Keyes.
When Liv and Nate walked up the aisle, Liv knew she was marrying the one, her soul mate and her best friend. Six years later, it feels like routine and friendship is all they have left in common. What happened to the fun, the excitement, the lust, the love?
In the closing moments of 1999, Liv and Nate decide to go their separate ways, but at the last minute, Liv wavers. Should she stay or should she go?
Over the next twenty years, we follow the parallel stories to discover if Liv’s life, heart, and future have been better with Nate… Or without him?
Perfect for the fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Diamond, and Marian Keyes.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Shari Low’s With or Without You! I am such a huge fan of this author and was crazy excited about reading and reviewing this uniquely written novel. Have you ever wondered if you married the right person or if you made the right decision in either staying with or leaving someone? This is the story of Liv and her husband Nate, who six years after getting married have decided to call it quits. The marriage lacks passion, romance, and has become like a roommate situation. But right before they part ways, Nate tells Liv that he’s changed his mind and wants to keep working on their marriage. This book follows Liv and Nate, as well as, their wonderful group of friends and loved ones over the next 20 years, first telling what happened if she left and then, telling their story her if she had stayed with Nate.
Before I started reading this one, I was actually worried about getting bored with a book divided into two sections, telling different versions of the same people’s’ lives. Oh, silly me! This was a very good novel that held my attention from beginning to end. The first part of the novel tells the events if Liv decides to stick with their pre-arranged plans and separate after New Year’s Eve, while the second part tells about the same time period if Liv decided to stay with Nate after New Year’s Eve. The characters are the same in both parts, some events are the same, some are different, but the biggest difference was when things occurred.
As typical when I read Shari Low’s books, I was insanely jealous over their tight-knit group of friends that were hilarious, loving, honest, challenging at times, but always there. She always has such dedicated friendships in her novels that are always as interesting, if not more so, than the romances which makes me curious about the author’s own life and circle of friends!
Another thing I always love about this author is that her main characters are always so relatable and “normal.” She doesn’t share the tales of super-model type women with perfect lives, but “real” women that seem familiar and at times, like ourselves. Liv is a palliative care nurse that loves her job but definitely takes some emotional hits because of it. She’s a size 14, discusses her laziness regarding body hair removal, and isn’t afraid to admit to ridiculous hangovers after a night with her friends.
But what I truly love about this book is the overall message. If things are meant to be, then most likely, they will be. Whether it be about a romantic relationship or a job, we could spend our whole lives second-guessing decisions and wondering if things would have ended up differently, if only if. However, the course of the universe is unlikely to change because of a choice we made years ago or last week. People grow older, their lives change (some for the better, some for the worse), people have affairs, they have children, they fall in love, they divorce, and people die.
When I was younger, I recall so many times regretting decisions and worrying about something that I felt would impact the entire universe. Let’s say I forgot that it was my day to take snacks to my son’s soccer game and ended up buying individual bags of chips at the last-minute rather than spending the night before slicing and bagging up oranges – therefore, everyone will think I’m a lazy mom, my son’s nutrition has been jeopardized, he’ll be overweight and get bullied, then blame. And on, and on, and on… Those days are way behind me, but silly things like that did not matter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware of the consequences of actions and would never think that what we do has no impact on our lives. But it’s a nice feeling to think that things will work out as they should and when they should. We only have so much power 🙂
This book is wonderful and I recommend it to just about anyone who loves reading fiction, but especially anyone that’s ever wondered if they made the right choice in a relationship.
*Many thanks to Aria and to Shari Low for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest review!
About the author
Shari Low is the No1 best-selling author of over 20 novels, including With Or Without You, Another Day In Winter, One Day In December, A Life Without You and The Story Of Our Life.
And because she likes to overshare toe-curling moments and hapless disasters, she is also the shameless mother behind a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. Once upon a time she met a guy, got engaged after a week, and twenty-something years later she lives near Glasgow with her husband, a labradoodle, and two teenagers who think she’s fairly embarrassing except when they need a lift.