A Life Without You by Shari Low
Published: 1st April 2017
Available on Kindle
Blurb30-year-old Dee Harper and her husband, Joe, are blissfully happy. Everyday she makes her loyal parents Val & Don incredibly proud.
Jen has been her best friend and 'adopted sister' since their days of teenage crushes, bad 90's make-up and huge hair.
They are just like any other group of family and friends, living life, getting by with equal measures of love and laughter.
Until one day everything changes.
Dee is gone, killed by a reckless driver, leaving the people she loved to deal with their grief in different ways.
A marriage is rocked as a parent becomes consumed with seeking justice. A husband struggles to accept the loss of his wife and their future. And a friend discovers that there were shocking secrets that went unshared.
But all of them have to learn that the only way forward is to let go of the past.
A Life Without You is the first book I’ve read by Shari Low and despite its sad start it was a book I adored. Jen and Dee have known each other for ever and are more like sisters than best friends, especially after Jen moved in with Dee and her family in her teenage years. So imagine her devastation when Jen suddenly finds herself without Dee by her side. One minute Dee was alive and bouncing around the street, the next she’s gone a joy-rider hits her head on and kills her instantly. After Dee’s funeral is over, Jen’s boyfriend of fifteen years Pete decides it’s time to tell her their relationship is over and he’s moving out and for the first time in years Jen finds herself completely alone.
Jen’s not the only one devastated by Dee’s death, husband Luke is lost without his perfect wife and turns to her for comfort. Dee’s parents are also struggling and begin to drift apart, Dee dad goes into his own little world trying to get through the day the best he can. Val, Dee’s mum is the one who seems the hardest hit by the loss of her daughter. On the outside she puts on a brave face but when alone she struggles to hold it together. It was so sad to read from Val’s perspective but Shari Low has done an excellent job in conveying the overwhelming heartbreak felt by Val. How do you really get over the loss of a child, well for Val it’s to start a one woman crusade to gain justice for her daughter? The stakeout scenes with her and best friend Josie were very funny and brought a lightness to these emotional parts.
I loved reading about Jen’s journey as she tries to follow Dee’s dream and keep their travel business alive. As Jen delves into Dee’s world of travel blogging she begins to realise that her best friend had secrets and wasn’t quite as perfect as everyone else believes.
With the story being told from Jen, Luke and Val’s perspectives we learn a lot about Dee and how much she loved life and much of a whole she has left in the three people closest to her. I loved how the story developed and was glad there were moments which made me laugh as well as cry throughout this brilliantly told tale.
Shari Low is an excellent storyteller and has taken a very tragic storyline and handled it realistically and sensitively. She has created some great characters who I loved reading about and I’m glad they were able to realise they were all capable of a life without Dee.
Thank you to Netgalley and Aria for this review copy, I loved this book and can’t wait to read more by Shari Low.